by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com
How do you react to disruptions during practice?
Do you have a plan for the tech-device revolution about ready to land on your head?
For thousands of years humans have lived in a linear and local world. Things hardly changed and when they did it was a slow, incremental process. Our lives were seldom impacted by actions and events in other parts of the world.
Not today. Today our world is exponential and global. Meaning that we now live with change that is happening wicked fast and increasing almost daily. And events around the world impact us quickly.
This is your new coaching life.
Today, the 10-year old athlete who comes to your practice has more computational power in her pocket than the entire NASA program had when they landed men on the moon.
That same athlete has at her finger tips more knowledge and wisdom than the US presidents had 10 years ago.
And if she wants, that athlete can (and will) video and post events within seconds of them happening.
You know all this already. But did you know this is just the tip of an enormous iceberg?
As computational power continues to double every 18 months, as access to the internet increases, and as mobile devices innovate, more changes are coming. Here’s the thing we coaches need to grasp — these changes will cause major disruptions in how you and I coach. They already do:
- Your left fielder is texting his girlfriend during a timeout
- Your star athlete is on the phone with her parents 15 seconds after THE meeting you just had
- The wise guy on your team just left a social media bomb on your competition’s website, and their coach is texting you right now
- Your center is tweeting from the bench about your latest substitution
- 7 locker room photos were just Snapchatted and the pounding at your door is your freaked out Athletic Director
- Two of your athletes want to know why they are not doing the US Olympic team workout, which they found online this morning and have on their iWatch
You can deny any of these have happened to you — and you may be right. But just wait 60 seconds. Disruption is right around the corner, and it has you in its sights.
Accept And Adapt
You have two choices. One, you can accept that disruption is coming, and adapt to use it to your advantage. Or, two, you can fight disruption and be swept away.
For years I prohibited cell phone and laptop use in my classes. Too disruptive, I said.
Then one semester my college began an iPad pilot program, and my class was selected as one of the test courses. I went from nothing “on” to students with “full time on,” right in front of them. And … I loved it. So did they. It was one of the most productive and enjoyable courses I have taught.
It was at this point I realized I could not fight this battle, so I needed to accept and learn how to adapt to it. But this isn’t about me, or about college courses. It is, however, about coaching and the wave that is about to hit us. Let me ask …
What will you do tomorrow when your goalie comes to practice wearing Google glasses?
How will you react when your rower pulls out her phone and announces that today’s practice had more minutes in the C3 zone than her online coach advises?
How will you alter football practice when you running back’s helmet “hit monitor” reads in the danger zone?
What’s your policy about wearing Smart watches during practice and contests?
This is not the first time coaches and sports have faced disruption. When they brought the 3-point shot into college basketball, over the objection and disbelief of many people, Coach Jerry Tarkanian immediately worked it into his offense, much to his advantage. Tarkanian accepted and adapted and won a national title soon after.
Where I grew up women were not allowed to run without a male escort, and certainly not allowed in running races. (That seems incredible now.) The disruption of this standard happened in 1967 when Kathy Switzer managed to get an official entry (using a gender neutral name) into the Boston Marathon. During the race it was discovered she was a female and an official tried to physically stop her. This picture was taken of that happening, and within days it was causing outrage around the world,
The Marathon soon realized they could no longer fight this disruption, and they needed to accept and adapt to it, allowing women to officially race shortly after. Now the Boston Marathon is one of the best known sporting events in the world for men and women runners.
- Website: Kathrine Switzer, Marathon Woman
The Wave Is Coming
Why should you expect more disruption today, compared to just yesterday? Three significant reasons why.
First, the exponential growth of computational power has reached a tipping point where things we could only dream of are now becoming reality.
Second, our athletes are wicked hungry for new and exciting ways to use technology.
Three, there are companies who are only too happy to feed this hunger.
Look at your wrist, wearing a watch? Maybe yes, maybe no. But this afternoon someone on your team will be wearing a watch that is connected to the Internet every minute of every day.
Grab your surfboard dude, big waves are coming. And there are even bigger ones behind these.
- Video: Exponential Technologies Causing Disruptive Innovations – Peter Diamandis
Actions You Can (And Should) Take
Following are a few actions I’ve taken to get ready for the wave. There are certainly others, but these might be a good place to start for you:
- Do a survey of your team to learn what technology and/or disruptions are happening that you may not know about within your team. (I learned several team members were getting way less sleep than they needed. Their sleep was disrupted by social media involvement way onto the night.)
- What current policies do you have specific to technology that may run afoul of changes coming? (Like my class example.)
- What disruptions may be coming that you need a policy for? (Hint: look at latest news magazines for stories of where technology has caused disruption in schools or sport.)
- Look for places where technology can help you with your coaching processes. (Hint: service such as Ubersense.)
- Go to Kevin Kelly’s site Cool Tools, and read the daily update
Is it worth your time and energy to even think about this? Heck Yes!
Disruption is coming — count on it. Will you be ready to accept and adapt? As Chris Taylor from Actionable Books says, “The world is changing. Different skills matter. Different attitudes matter.”
Accept and adapt, or be swept away.
* image from katherineswitzer.com
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