I’ll admit it … I’m a geek-coach. I’ve gone over to the “that side,” and use phone-technology to help me coach.
For instance, I rely on my smartphone, using it multiple times each practice. There are several reasons why:
- It’s as close as my nearest pocket
- I love having a camera at my fingertips
- There are apps that make me a better coach
- Being able to quickly communicate has been a game changer
You don’t need a smartphone to be a great coach. In fact, I know John Wooden never had an iPhone in his pocket. But I’m lucky that I do, and thought I’d share a few of the ways I use it, and a few of the apps I use. (BTW, I use an iPhone, but I think most of the following tips & apps could/would or should apply to other types of phones as well.)
5 BRAINS IN MY POCKET
There’s basically five ways I use my smartphone while I coach:
- As a watch
- To record video
- To capture thoughts
- To quickly retrieve info
- As a weather-brain
Those may seem very simple uses for a very complex piece of electronics. Yet, the functionality, the ease of use, and the quick syncing is what prompted me to replace my stopwatch, my video camera, my clipboard, and my notebook with my smartphone.
And since I coach an outdoor sport, I love having quick access to weather forecasts, especially wind speeds and lightning detection.
Basically, I have 5 brains in my pocket. And a great advantage for me is that I don’t have to carry around all those individual things since they are all wrapped up in one nice and tidy package. But the applications are what really makes my smartphone helpful.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE APPS
Let me start off by showing my home screen:
I’ll admit it, I’m an app hound. But, since my phone is limited (a 4s with 16g memory), I have to be choosy about the apps I keep. Still, I’m walking around with more computing power than the Apollo missions had when putting men on the moon.
I love Drafts and Byword (I’m writing this post in Byword on my phone right now). Although slightly different, both programs allow me to quickly record thoughts from practices/meetings/daydreams. The greatest advantage in these two programs is the quick sharing of that info. With Drafts I can immediate send my note out into the world without leaving the program. Type a quick sentence and send it as an email within seconds. With Byword, I can begin writing a project, and it then seamlessly syncs with my laptop or iPad so I can further refine it. (Yes, yes, I am an Apple freak, but again I think other systems can do similar things, can’t they?).
I use Evernote to store almost all my digital info, and it is a valuable part of my paperless system. For each practice, I scribble all sorts of notes on paper, which I scan at the end of practice and upload it to Evernote. The thing I love about Evernote is the search/scanning capabilities. I can quickly find lineups or other info from any year. And it can also scan text within images, which I find amazing. Also, the info I store can be shared immediately with other users, which is great for assistant coach communication.
The two productivity programs I use, constantly, are OmniFocus and Clear. I use OF to keep track of projects, while Clear helps me prioritize what needs to happen day-to-day. Both programs quickly sync to their counterparts. I have found them to be invaluable, especially during the craziness of the competitive season.
For coaching, I’m becoming a big fan of Ubersense. It allows me to record, store, edit and share video with anyone. What I’m finding to be the greatest advantage is the ability to edit the video with slow motion, drawings, and voice recording. Within minutes I can have the video of today’s practice edited, stored, and shared with the athletes, so they can watch the video when they have free time. If needed, we can review before practice, but I’ve found group video sessions to be more distracting and boring, rather than helpful.
Finally, there Is Fantastical. That’s my calendar app, and it rocks. Several people have written in detail about it, such as here and here. What I can add is that it has been a godsend for me in terms of scheduling appointments and making sure that I’m on track with my events and meetings.
THE ONE THING THAT WOULD MAKE MY PHONE SMARTER
Daydreaming, I wish my smartphone was smarter about my own personal fitness. I wish I could use it easily as a step-counter and heart-rate monitor. I’ve heard rumors that in the next version of the phone that might be possible, but right now other devices, such as the Fitbit seem to be the way to go.
It’s interesting, I don’t use my smartphone much as a phone. To me, as a coach, that’s not an important part of the device. It is nice to quickly communicate (text messaging), yet I could do that with my dumbphone. It’s the apps that have really made a difference in my coaching and I look forward to the next latest-and-greatest.
Do you use your smartphone in your coaching? If so, why and how? I’d be really interested to know.