One Click Away: Apps Adding Ease To Coaching Duties
Have you ever wanted to look back on stats from a specific game but can’t find the scorebook?
Well, there are apps for that.Many apps, actually — and they are making life a whole lot easier for high school athletic programs by keeping track of stats, scores, and game progress.
One of those apps, GameChanger, has quite literally changed the game for coaches, players, their families, and fans.
GameChanger launched in 2010 as a mobile and desktop app offering everything from scorekeeping and game recaps to messaging and photo sharing. It also includes GameStream, which shows each game pitch-by-pitch in real-time, much like MLB’s Gameday feature.
Former Bourne (MA) High School baseball coach Craig Davidson introduced GameChanger to the school’s baseball program three seasons ago and never looked back.
“I’m a huge fan of GameChanger,” Davidson said. “It gives you instant access to what the players are doing. It shows you trends that were going on and you had the raw data right in front of you.”
GameChanger also increases player engagement in the games and lets them see their progress in a streamlined way.
“It allowed players to see what was going on in their own games,” Davidson said, adding he also found GameChanger made his job much easier.
“I could see the trends faster than breaking them down myself,” he said. “To have that instant access, it was easier to prepare for other games.”
The players’ families and those in the community were also eager to join in on the app.
“The biggest thing was the community buy-in,” he said. “The best part about it was the families could see what was going on pitch-by-pitch.”
Davidson left his post to take another position after the 2018 season, handing the baseball team and GameChanger to his successor, Sean Donovan.
“It’s almost like ESPN is working with my team,” Donovan said of the app. “For a team of 15, it saves me a couple of hours. It’s incredible. It’s better than a hard copy.”
He also echoed Davidson’s praise for GameChanger’s ability to bring together both the players on the team and the greater community.
“Kids are more into it on the bench,” Donovan said, adding his team records games digitally and in a scorebook. “It’s more of a social thing than a pain to do the book …One player will be using the app to relay information so parents can watch it and another player will be doing the book. It gets the conversation going. As we are playing a game, parents at home can watch it. Families can see every piece of info put into the app.”
“I even get stuck on the bench just playing with it sometimes,” he added. “It’s just so easy.”
Another app taking high school sports by storm is sportsYou.
The mobile and web-based team management app is the most widely-used app by members of the Texas High School Coaches Association. Co-founder Brad Matthews said there has been an increase in the use of the app since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We have grown significantly during the pandemic,” Matthews said, adding that coaches are using sportsYou to share workouts, nutrition advice, and positive messages with the players.
Pandemic or not, Matthews said the app has markedly streamlined communication for teams.
“An AD can communicate with all the coaches, parents, and kids with one push of a button. It is a big saver of time,” he said, before continuing. “We are the easiest, most intuitive program on the market. There are no restrictions on our platform.”
Other coaching apps, like iPracticeBuilder, are also adapting to life with COVID-19 protocols by adding new features and products.
iPracticeBuilder CEO and founder, Justin Labaugh, plans to release iPracticeBuilder Pro, an entirely new app that offers features geared toward helping teams navigate this new normal.
The new app will take an innovative approach to keeping coaches in touch with their players during the pandemic. While the details of this app and its approach have yet to be released at press time, Labaugh said “there is no other app that allows you to do this.”
The biggest advantage for teams using these apps, besides easy communication, seems to be how readily available stats and scores are and will be for years to come.
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As for GameChanger, Donovan said this is an advantage he appreciates now and will in the future. He recalled one of his former baseball coaches accumulating reams and reams of scorebooks he would have to rifle through in order to reminisce. Donovan is glad he will have all his players’ information stored in the app to easily look back on one day.
“The accessibility is amazing compared to what it used to be,” Donovan said. “It’s good for going down memory lane. I can’t wait for the day when I can go back in 15 years and say ‘Benny Smith hit that home run’ and just look it up on the app.”