Cutting the cord: Apps, software ideas for athletic programs
With the rapid growth in technology, coaches and athletic administrators have unlimited resources at their fingertips. And oftentimes, that’s not necessarily a blessing.
Whether it’s managing team records or helping your pitcher with his curveball, hundreds of programs claim to have the answers. Not all of them are reliable, and determining what works and what doesn’t can take more time than it’s worth.Coach and Athletic Director closely reviewed more than 100 apps and software programs to identify only those that can be most useful to coaches. Through a combination of reviews, reader feedback, pricing and ease of use, we’ve come up with 18 programs perfect for coaches who prefer to use mobile devices to help run their teams.
If your athletic program embraces technology in improving all facets of your department, these programs will help.
This video analysis tool allows coaches to break down film of their teams, addressing such issues as individual mechanics or team performance. Clips can be played back in slow motion or broken up frame-by-frame to give coaches a closer look at what’s happening and provide their players and staff with appropriate feedback. They can even be shown side-by-side with other videos to compare past performances.
What users like most about this app is the ability to draw on the frames, much like a broadcaster does on TV, showing athletes exactly what they need to work on. These customized clips can then be emailed to other coaches or athletes with the notes or a voiceover. If the starting pitcher is dipping into a low arm angle or a golfer is coming out of their swing, this can show them the problem.
Video can be taken in standard or high definition, and newer devices can record at 60 or 120 frames per second.
Uses: Any sport
Cost: $4.99. VIP subscription costs extra.
Stat keepers have a tough job, but this program allows coaches to maintain all their team records without having to sort through hundreds of pages of documents.
GameChanger maintains scorebooks, statistics, schedules, rosters and other information for baseball, softball and basketball teams. Spray or shot charts can be created for coaches who want to dive deeper into analyzing their team’s productivity.
Parents and fans can follow your team on the road with GameStream, having access to box scores and live play-by-play. Those features come at a cost to anyone following the team $7.99 per month or $39.99 annually but it’s a valuable asset to families of athletes who have relatives far away but still want to keep tabs on performances.
Uses: Baseball, softball, basketball
This application allows coaches to diagram plays, drills and other strategies on a digital whiteboard and share them with assistants and athletes. The diagrams can even be animated to better illustrate movements and execution certainly much more efficient than drawing on a clipboard.
CoachNote comes preloaded with boards from dozens of sports, from squash to football. The diagrams can include voiceovers to explain what’s happening, and the images can be displayed on a TV or projector with a video graphics array connection.
Uses: Any sport
Keep more than 500 statistics for every player on your baseball or softball team, giving you access to a number of different variables important to your success. Manage rosters, lineups and track every pitch and its location. iScore also comes with a spray chart to help coaches identify trends.
Data sharing is made incredibly easy. Statistics can be transferred between devices, and stats and scorebooks can be exported into Excel, CSV or HTML files an emailed to coaches or players must simpler than crunching numbers with less intuitive programs. It also goes a long way in helping coaches stay organized.
Uses: Baseball, softball
A simplified way for coaches to create, store and share practice plans with assistants and athletes. The organization is much cleaner and clearer than jotting down instructions and hoping that your team understands what it’s supposed to do.
iPracticeBuilder also comes with an educational component. The app creators partnered with Championship Productions to include videos of drills and other lessons from some of the nation’s top coaches. If you want to teach your basketball players to run a popular drill used at Duke University, you can watch coach Mike Krzyzewski break it down. This is an efficient way to implement new practice routines in a hurry.
Uses: Any sport
With so much talk about keeping football players safe, using proper techniques and following protocol, the varying messages can be confusing. The USA Football app simplifies instruction for coaches by providing information on concussion awareness, fitting your players with equipment, tackling fundamentals and heat preparedness.
The app also offers videos showing your players the proper way to play the game. Because the app comes at no cost, athletes with tablets or smartphones can watch the videos on their own time.
As an added bonus, every time you use the app to check-in at a participating business, a donation is made to the USA Football player safety initiative.
This is another slow motion video analysis tool that allows frame-by-frame breakdown of your film. It also gives coaches the ability to compare with other videos or draw on the frames themselves to make notes to athletes or other coaches. Videos can be records in up to 120 frames per second.
Ubersense also has a sharing community that allows you to download drills from other coaches or find video of professional athletes that can be compared with your own video. For example, show your star tennis player how his or her serving mechanics compare with Roger Federer. This allows coaches to illustrate to their players exactly what they need to work on the improve their performances.
Uses: Any sport
This team management program helps league and club coaches handle the day-to-day operations of their teams, maintaining schedules, rosters, photos and other related files. The app also lets those coaches receive payments from their members for participation fees or other expenses.
The communication features of TeamSnap allow coaches to contact athletes, parents and fans in an instant via email or text. If there are last minute schedule changes or score alerts, they can be sent out in push notifications, and maps can help fans find their way to away games or team gatherings. TeamSnap only keeps statistics on the web, but there is a planned upgrade that would allow coaches to track them on their mobile devices.
Players can RSVP to practices, games or other events, allowing coaches to plan accordingly. You can also track attendance to learn who is most reliable. Coaches can sync their team calendars to their personal devices to make sure they’re always up to date with their programs. If you have trouble staying organized or maintaining records most important to your club, TeamSnap can help.
Uses: Any sport
Cost: Free plans available. Basic plans start at $59.99 per year.
One of the best running apps on the market, this can help coaches and athletes track their progress during practices. Set goals and benchmarks while encouraging athletes to compete against one another’s times and distances. The app is useful to any coach that makes long-distance running a priority in his or her training regimen.
Nike+ Running also offers in-app training tips, daily workouts and general guidance for improving times and being in the best shape for your runs.
Uses: Cross country, conditioning
US Lacrosse Mobile Coach
Lacrosse is often called America’s fastest growing sport. For schools that have only recently added it to their offerings, this app immediately provides coaches with a number of resources to get their teams organized and ready for competition.
Coaches can browse a library of drills some with instructional videos and build a practice plan that suits their teams. Those plans can then be shared with other coaches.
If your school or coach is unfamiliar with the intricacies of lacrosse, this is a useful starting point to learn the ropes and understand what must be done to maintain a successful program.
Cost: Access requires USL membership, which is $35 annually for high school coaches.
eyeFree Sports Stopwatch
There are dozens of adequate stopwatches on the app market, but this one has a unique feature that coaches find helpful. By using the volume controls on the side of the phone or tablet, coaches can mark laps or splits without looking down to find an on-screen button. That makes times much more accurate and trainers much less frustrated.
This stopwatch is helpful for any coach where one-tenth of a second can make the difference between winning and losing. It’s also perfect for 40-yard dash times and other training exercises.
Uses: Swimming, track, training
Not all high schools have the luxury of an on-staff trainer who is able to attend practices and workouts, but this app can provide coaches with some guidance when they’re confronted with a player injury and they’re not sure what to do.
Whether it’s a bone fracture or a minor scrape, First Aid offers illustrations, videos and descriptions for how coaches and staff should treat a number of different injuries. It’s certainly a better alternative to being caught without a plan or procedure, and because the app is free to anyone with a compatible device, there’s no risk in having it on hand.
Uses: Player safety
Widely regarded as one of the best film analysis tools on the market, Hudl is used by tens of thousands of high school, college and youth programs to break down video and scout other teams.
Coaches and their assistants can watch film, makes notes and share it with their teams. They can also create a library of videos, record voiceovers and set up unlimited player and coach accounts within their teams. Video can be taken with tablets and phones by using the Hudl mobile app, so expensive equipment isn’t necessary to access the program.
Uses: Mostly football, basketball
Cost: High school and college packages start at $800 per year for one team.
Coaches for outdoor sports must pay close attention to the weather, and the WeatherBug app includes all the necessary features for lightning detection, heat index and any other conditions that might put your team at risk.
During practices, coaches don’t have the luxury of officials informing them of nearby storms or extreme temperatures. WeatherBug monitors both, and its Spark feature tells you the exact distance of the closest lightning strike. Knowing what’s coming undoubtedly helps coaches in preparing a plan of action and keeping their teams out of harm’s way.
Uses: Team safety
For coaches involved with youth or club sports, SportsLogic provides all the tools needed to organize and operate your team. The League Manager application provides league information for stake holders, standings, rosters and a league calendar while the Team Manager application gives coaches access to practice and season schedules, statistics, rosters and weather information.
The program also is an effective communication tool, allowing coaches to contact team members for schedule changes, directions, practice updates or general team discussions. Anything a club coach or team manager might need to do their jobs, SportsLogic compiles into one easy-to-use site.
Uses: Any sport
Cost: Varies depending on needs.
If you haven’t heard of Train Heroic, you soon will. This unique program gives athletes instant access to college-level strength and conditioning programs. That’s a huge advantage for high school student-athletes that don’t have the benefit of working with their own trainer.
Train Heroic gives athletes expert instruction, breaking down the movements and workouts most essential to improving overall performance. Athletes and coaches can set goals and track their progress while undertaking training programs that are customized to meet their needs. There also is a video feedback option that allows athletes to get real-time instruction from world-class coaches.
This program has the potential to elevate a high school student-athlete’s strength training capabilities to an entirely new level. No longer would small, under-funded athletic programs be left in the dust by those able to afford their own strength coaches. And coaches are given the ability to monitor their team’s progress at the touch of a button. The platform even creates an athlete performance leaderboard that provides an overview their training, creating a competitive atmosphere in the weight room.
Uses: Strength and conditioning
Cost: Base packages start at $900 annually.
Gone are the days of bulky playbooks and files that can get lost by members of your team. PlayerLync allows team managers to share those files, as well as videos and other reports, without dealing with oversized email attachments or printed documents.
All files are shared over a secure network, giving only your team access to private information. Players’ phones or tablets can automatically sync with the system, so every time a coach uploads a file, the team has immediate access to it. Share scouting reports or film and include commentary or other notes to your team. It’s a new way of providing your athletes with the information they need most.
PlayerLync is already used by more than 60 percent of teams in the NFL, and a number of other professional sports also use it. The program has seamless integration with all major video editing systems, making it easier to prepare film for your players and coaches.
Uses: Any sport
Cost: Prices vary
Throw Like a Pro
Tommy John surgery is becoming more common these days, and without proper instruction and oversight, baseball players (especially pitchers) are putting a lot at risk.
This app was developed by Dr. Kevin Wilk and renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews to help coaches protect their players from throwing injuries. Coaches can track a player’s pitch count, while the app is programed to recommend how many days of rest the pitcher should receive and where coaches should cap pitch counts.
Throw Like a Pro also includes a preseason preparation guide to get your athletes in shape, a pregame warm-up routine and materials to help educate players on how to avoid overuse injuries. Video instruction breaks down individual exercises, showing athletes the right and wrong ways to prepare.