This past February I was able to sit down and talk football with Kirk Barton, an Ohio State graduate assistant. Barton had an illustrious career at OSU and spent some time in the NFL before returning to his alma mater to earn his MBA while assisting with the Buckeye’s offensive line.
Our conversation covered several topics, but one point he made was talking about “on edge coaching” and the methods that Urban Meyer wanted his staff to use in teaching and coaching the Buckeyes. “On edge coaching” basically is the premise of keeping players on the edge of their seat at all times. The players are to be engaged in whatever activity they are involved in. They should be thinking, responding, and constantly quizzed and question in order to see that they have the understanding they need to be successful on the field.
Barton explained some of his methods including texting his players and asking them to diagram a certain play against a certain front. Likewise, our quarterbacks and I are constantly sharing ideas. Many times it’s just a picture taken on our phone of a diagram scribbled on a piece of paper. The concept though is that we are sharing ideas, or in Barton’s example, checking for understanding.
Engaging players with multimedia is a great way to hit multiple learning styles. In 2004, I uploaded my film of 7 on 7’s in the summer to my laptop and recorded a voice over for my quarterbacks. The idea was that the corrections we discussed in our meeting and review of the film would be there for them to review on their own later. That’s one of the advantages of being able to add notes to video or record a walk through explaining coaching points. Given the time constraints we have, that is nearly impossible in the course of a game week.
Playbook walk throughs and lectures that are recorded are a very valuable tool for installing and teaching our plays and systems. If the install meeting recall is limited to their notes without video, then there is some limitation to what they will be able to review later. Having the install presentation recorded in a walk through format can prove very valuable.
Back to the idea of on edge coaching, the tools that I just spoke of could be very valuable in providing feedback to your players. On edge coaching requires a little bit more immediacy for the player and the coach. Having spent a good portion of my career on the high school level, I know that there is very little time to watch practice. However, recording practice and reviewing it can be very valuable for your players, especially if you as the coach can find a way to provide feedback. Text and notes are good, but when they can link to something visual, now the feedback and the resulting adaptation in their performance is much greater.
I found two free apps for the iPad that allow you to be efficient as a coach and can help keep your players engaged and performing at their best. Watching film from the iPad is may favorite way to review both games and practices. There are limits what a coach can create on an iPad with video editing software. I like to be able to do things from my iPad without having to go back and forth to a laptop. Quizzing, questioning, providing feedback or a coaching point sent to a player that can be viewed either immediately or when convenient, and be viewed multiple times if needed certainly can be a valuable coaching method.
The two tools I found allow me to create a screen recording of my iPad with my voice and telestrated notes. I can do this on a still shot or series of still shots, or I can use a white board format. Both were very easy to use and share, but both work a little differently, so I could see using both tools depending on how you intend to use it. The examples I shared were created and shared in under two minutes.
In both examples, I was able to take a still shot of the video I was viewing from my my iPad in Hudl and use it to illustrate and record coaching points. As I said, both allow for a plain whiteboard to be used as well.
This first is called Screenchomp. Here is the link to the App Store:
Screenchomp allows you to use only one background image, so if I wanted to take multiple screen shots of the video to create a step-by-step walk through, each would have to be recorded and shared as a separate video. While this would still serve its purpose, I’d prefer to be able to have the step-by-step illustration in one video. The benefit of Screenchomp is that the shared video can be viewed on any device (iPad, smartphone, iPad, tablet, computer).
Here is an example of a Screenchomp. In this example, I have a quick quiz for the quarterback. It only took a minute to record this and copy the link into a text:
Screenchomp requires you to register your name and email and the process only takes a minute. The video goes to their cloud but it is not able to be viewed by the public (there is no searchable database for their cloud) unless you send it to Twitter or Facebook.
The other app that I used is called Educreations. Here is a link to the App Store:
Educreations also requires you to register, but it only takes a minute. While this app provides more functionality, it can not be viewed on the iPhone (iPad, computers, and tablets and smart phones that support flash allow it to be viewed). Being able to share something with my players via texting and allowing them to view it on their smart phone or iPhone is more desirable when using this coaching method. I don’t want them to have to sit down and watch it on a computer if that is not the most convenient way to view it. However, as you will see in my example, this app does allow you to use multiple images in your presentation.
In this example, I create a step-by-step illustration of the play developing and the thought process for the quarterback:
Unfortunately, the quarterback missed that opportunity to throw the touchdown.
Being able to quiz, provide feedback, or a short coaching point allow us to keep our players engaged and on the edge of their seats for the teaching and coaching we can provide them. Hopefully these apps can prove useful to you as a coach.
Do you have other apps that help you as a coach? Please share them in the comments section.
My iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays provides a very engaging way to share content, and has something useful for every offensive coach. It can be purchased from your iPad here: