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How Technology Has Impacted Coaching

What kinds of technology do you use to manage your athletes and team?  Have advances in technology made coaching easier or harder? 

Coach/Entraîneur: Lyle Cameron Photo: Andre Forget (CAC/ACE)

How Technology Has Impacted Coaching 

Every day it seems like a new piece of technology comes out and it doesn’t matter what you use, it can be hard to stay up to date. From new phones, electronics, and apps, technology continues to make major changes in almost every part of our everyday lives.

In the world of sports, technology has impacted almost every aspect of playing, watching and coaching. Have those advances in technology made coaching jobs easier or harder? Depending on who you ask, you may get a different answer. In many ways though, technology has increased the demands of coaches from team management and communication, but also created new ways to get the very best out of training and performance of athletes.

Training & Performance
Whether you’re working at the grassroots or high performance level, technology has greatly impacted the way coaches and athletes train and perform. With the rise in wearable technologies, athlete monitoring systems measuring and tracking athletic progress in real time, athletes and coaches can see not only how, but how well their athletes are performing at every point in a workout and or competition.

Like a machine, athletes are able to look at a dashboard that shows how their engine is running, and coaches are like their mechanics, fine tuning the engine to perform at its best.

Communication & Management
With the rise of social media, email and applications, the advances in communications has increased dramatically. The need and ability to share instant updates and information is paramount to the management of one’s team, club or league.

Apps like TeamSnap exist to help coaches save time communicating and managing their teams, clubs and leagues. Acting like a central location for all of your information, you can schedule, communicate and administer every aspect, including registration online rather than paper forms!

Technological advances have enabled coaches to be able to better communicate and manage everyone and all aspects of their team at the click of a button. With better communication comes faster results, timely updates, and winning outcomes.

Video & Analysis
Every electronic device it seems nowadays has a camera and every coach, parent or athlete is equipped with a phone, tablet or recording device.

Everything from smartphones to Imovie, tablets and mobile applications, offer the easy ability to record, review, and replay performances instantly. These technological advances have revolutionized the way coaches coach their athletes. With frame by frame analysis and performance metrics available at the press of a button, video continues to offer coaches strategic performance enhancements.

Coaching can be stressful no matter which level, sport or how long you’ve been coaching and new technological advances are there to help your athletes perform better and make your job easier. From advances in training, communication, and analysis, technology will no doubt continue to evolve from where we are today.

How has technology impacted your coaching?
What kinds of technology do you use to manage your athletes and team? Have advances in technology made coaching easier or harder? 

 

Coach Lisa – Multi-sport- Kingston – 14 Years

“…Advances in technology don’t make our jobs harder, they make them better. Without the video technology (Coaches Eye, Hudl), athlete monitoring or apps like Teamsnap, how can we as coaches be the best we can be for our athletes? It is part of our jobs to be the best coach we can be for our athletes and that involves using time saving, performance enhancing (in a positive way) applications and equipment that allows our athletes to shine!…”

Coach Russell – Volleyball – York – 12 Years

“…The hardest part is the finding the right ones for you. There are so many out there it can be very hard to find the one that works best for what we do. I have no problem paying for technology that makes our lives easier and jobs more effective, but it is annoying when clubs and organizations cannot see the value in some of the applications that exist. I use CoachesEye for video, TeamSnap for communication and club management and WordPress for our website. I find you cannot just have one piece of technology, as they all cant do it all, but by having a few top notch pieces parents and your athletes will love it, and you will sleep better at night!…”

Coach Bollers – Hockey – Toronto – 20 Years

“…The majority of players I coach are referred to as Gen Z or iGen, the generation after Millennials. Social Media (Twitter/Instagram/Youtube) has impacted this generation and many are often found wandering the mall, rinks, schools and rinks aimlessly looking down at their mobile devise or tablets. I have nicknamed this generation “Generation looking down” Today players learn better visually than verbally. I have implemented the following teaching aids throughout the season;
Drill Draw (practice plans are sent to players prior to practice for review)
Imovie (immediate feedback after practice or game)
IPAD: Coach’s Eye (in game correction)
Steva (in game editing, live or post game), individual player meeting
Game Video Review (error correction, reinforce systems) Team meeting prior to practice

I also find it effective to use the following for communication;
Team Snap (program and schedule updates, emails)
WhatsApp (group messaging)
Dropbox (positive imagery, positional video clips)

Precise and clear communication will help the individual player meet your expectations and exceed theirs…”

Coach Sam – Baseball – Mississauga – 27 Years

“…Sometimes I feel like we as coaches can become too dependent and complacent and become reliant on technology. Don’t get me wrong I like being able to send a mass team email practice is cancelled or track attendance or schedule practices, each of those are life savers to me and other coaches. But we cannot get bogged down in what fancy new gadget exists. Just like in the baseball movie, trouble with the curve, a scout still needs to be able to watch, listen and feel. Some technology is better than others and saves us coaches loads of time, but remember to watch, listen and feel and then use technology to help you help your athletes and teams…”

Coach Jonathon – Toronto – 15 Years

Technology has been an integral part of my coaching practice. As an amateur athlete, my ‘ah ha!’ moment came following a metabolic test on a cycling erg. I was so fascinated by the science of the VO2 test, that I changed my career path!

As a coach, I have built my practice around leveraging technology to maximize the human engine, based on an athlete’s goals. Combining real time telemetry with historical data from devices that measure and record performance metrics, along with the ever evolving platforms that allow for better and better analysis, we are able to look inside that human machine, infer as to genetic gifts, shape of engine and level of conditioning. But one of the greatest benefits, is to see the potential of all of those elements, and identify when mental and emotional factors are actually the limiters of success. All of this great data, when in the hands of someone who actually understands when it applies and how to apply it, is very powerful.

The flip side is that although most of the metrics collected are vital, they are only helpful in relevant scenarios. Given that just about anyone with a credit card and enough room on it for a good meal, can purchase some of the new wearable tech and access analytic tools online, the combination of data with the lack of education, can lead to harmful training practices and ultimately hinder performance and health.

My advice to anyone who asks about whether to invest in this tech is always the same; If you can afford it, buy it! Put save some of that hard earned money to hire a coach, so you can get the value of both the tech and the data that comes along with it.

Coach Sandra – Swimming- Ottawa – 22 Years

“…All of the video technology and athlete monitoring has been a great boost to performances. One thing I can say is not having to wake up at 430am for morning practice to ensure everyone knows its cancelled is the best thing ever! When now I can send a push notification my Teamsnap app, send a team email to parents etc, that practice is cancelled, or warm up times have changed, is honestly magic! The best thing technology has done has created better means to communicate. And we all know it is the parents who get the kids to practices and competitions. Happy parents means more likelihood of success!…”

Coach Ken – Taekwondo – Mississauga – 30 Years 

“…Still using Dartfish both laptop and apps. Faster response due to upgraded technology. Many people use video, but not as many use it effectively.. Multiple planes of motion viewing is more helpful, but not as easy to get. Have added Whole Body Vibration to add efficiency to tight training schedules. Activation, strength and recovery are all features of this…”