Phys Ed / Sports Coaching

Technology for the sports club and coach

My sport has always been Netball and Netball season has just begun. This year I’m taking a sideline role but have vowed to return to the club next year as I already miss it like crrrrrrrazy. Netball runs deep in these veins! I knew this before but moreso now as its the first year in, well forever really, that I haven’t been involved in a netball club in some way – either as a player, coach or committee member. So…… it got me thinking about technology for the sports club and coach.

Much like the approach I take to integrating technology in my classroom, an important first step is to define the purpose of using technology.

  • Assess intensity – Are sessions set at the right intensity? Are athletes working at the right intensity for enough time?
  • Analyse performance – Are athletes performing technical skill correctly/safely? Are there any common or reoccurring errors? Is more skill instruction needed? Is the team performing set plays correctly/effectively?
  • Give player/team improved feedback  – Could ‘visual’ feedback (ie. video or photos) assist players/team to improve?
  • Explain ‘game plays’ – Do coaches have difficulty explaining game plays? Do players have difficulty understanding explanations of game plays? Would visual aids (ie. video animation) help players understand and remember game plays? What if players could re-watch these animations at home in their own time – would this help their understanding and retention?
  • Record & use statistics – Do you know what common errors or gains the team is making during game play? Do players know what common errors or gains they personally make during game play? Do patterns exist as to ‘when’ these errors or gains occur? Are players setting SMART goals prior to game play? If so, statistics can be a great way to ‘measure’ these goals.
  • Player reflections & goal setting – Do players set SMART goals prior to each game? Do coaches conduct game debriefs after games or before training sessions? Do you want an effective way (ie. time savy, easy access etc) to record these goals or debriefs – to look back on, follow trends, recognise achievements or improvements and/or challenge players?
  • Build team chemistry – Do you want better ways to celebrate and share individual or team success?


Once purpose has been identified, the ‘right’ technology can be matched and implemented. Heres just a few examples of whats out there and could be used:

  • Assess intensity >> Polar Team – “Follow your team’s heart rates on screen in real time and analyze the effort of each player. With objective post-training data and sharing capabilities the entire coaching staff can follow the team’s performance over time.” [Polar Team]. Data shown in beats per minute and percentage of maximum heart rate, and by target heart rate zone.  To use Polar Team you’ll need an iPad and a Polar H7 heart rate sensor for each player. Can follow up to 60 players and the maximum line-of-sight coverage is around 60 meters. Polar Pro combines GPS and accelerometer technology.
  • Analyse performance >> Hudl – Playback skill or game videos in multiple slow motion speeds and frame-by-frame. Use drawing tools to measure or highlight form. Compare two videos, stacked or side-by-side. Use library of pro athlete videos to compare techniques. Create feedback videos by adding drawings and audio commentary. Share  videos with athletes, coaches or friends. Track and compare athlete progress over time.
  • Give player/team improved feedback >> Hudl (mentioned above) & BaM video replay – BaM allows you to record and display delayed video. Just point the device towards any action (tripod recommended) and once the action has been completed the student has time (because you set this delay) to walk over to the screen and view it. I recommend you give athletes one or two key points to focus on as they view their replay. 
  • Introduce new ‘plays’ >> Coaches Note – Create, save and share game play animations. Convert your notes into a sharable pdf format for e-mail.
  • Record & use statistics >> DartFish or Courtside Scoring (is netball specific) -DartFish can contain from 9 to 30 buttons each of which time stamp a user-defined statistical event (ie. error or gain). Buttons can be set to be open duration if you want to record the length as well as frequency of phases of play. Buttons can display frequencies and have variable colour-coding according to frequency; giving instant visual feedback on your key performance indicator(s). DartFish doesn’t allow you to collect individual statistics (ie. put a stat to a players name), but Courtside Scoring does (specifically for netball teams). Courtside Scoring also produces graphs and pie charts of final stats whereas DartFish creates a CSV file that can be imported for further analysis.
  • Player reflections & goal setting >> Ping Pong  – There would be different ways to do this and it would totally depend on what athletes and coaches have access to at training or games (ie. device wise and wifi access etc), and, if they want to be able to ‘keep’ and look back on info/data collected. One relatively simple way would be to use Ping Pong. I like this app because host and guests can both use the service without registration (I get so tied of ‘signing up’ to things). Can be used on iPhone, iPad or PC. Can ask for responses with different methods (ie. true/false, multiple choice, images). Guests responses can be viewed in real time with graphs, lists etc. So, potentially it could look like a quick debrief Q&A at the start of training to gauge player perception of individual or team performance, achievement or even cohesiveness. 
  • Build team chemistry >>Hudl  – Celebrating accomplishments together can be a good way to build team chemistry.  Use video review sessions to highlight personal and team wins. Spend a few minutes congratulating players who demonstrated personal growth. Ask team to call out moments that are worth revisiting.


One thought on “Technology for the sports club and coach

  1. Pingback: The PE Playbook – April 2016 Edition – drowningintheshallow

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