One of the biggest changes in our culture over the last 10 years has been the rapid advance in technology, especially with respect to the internet and electronic communication (Sport Success 360). No longer do we have stress trying to find information in a hurry, as Google allows us to acquire what we need in just a matter of seconds. And as far as communication goes, long gone are the days of “snail mail,” replaced by lightening quick email and text messaging. These advances have helped us as a society, and they have helped coaches and players in many ways, too.
Social media often takes a bad rap when kids (and some coaches) abuse Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Still, most people use these tools responsibly, and also benefit by using many of the other advances in technology to build better relationships, communicate more effectively, and learn new information from just a few quick keystrokes.
Some of the ways technology has helped the athletic community include the following:
Better communication. Coaches can now quickly communicate with their players through email, text messaging, and other electronic ways. Long gone are the chaotic days of trying to inform all your players that practice has been cancelled, as one quick electronic message can do the trick. Kids also benefit from better communication as they can begin to build relationships with college coaches, something that is especially important when trying to get noticed for that athletic scholarship.
Performance enhancement. Coaches and athletes can really benefit from all the fantastic sport skills information that is widely available on the internet – including You Tube clips. While it may not be feasible for a kid to attend a sports camp across the country, there’s a good chance that coach already has some great (free) information on the internet. As an educator and athletic counselor, I have witnessed firsthand how beneficial technology has become as it applies to teaching athletes about mental toughness – we launched the world’s first mental toughness app (The Sport Performance Assessment) and have helped countless players and coaches learn the importance of focus, motivation, and resiliency (for more information on this app please visit www.drstankovich.com). Additional technology advances have helped coaches with teaching tools such as advanced telestrators and better computer graphics for illustrating that perfect play!
Better awareness of events. Message boards and chat forums are a great place to quickly learn about new leagues forming, tournaments, camps, and clinics. Coaches and players can quickly access various websites to learn about all the important places to be in order to continue to improve their athletic skills.
Better exposure. Kids today do not have to wait to be noticed by college coaches are there are countless ways to “get your name out there” through You Tube and other recruiting websites. Of course, you still have to be a talented player in order to earn a college athletic scholarship, but these new tools make it a lot easier for college coaches to quickly see how much potential a player has to take his or her game to the next level.
As with anything in life, technology can be used for good things, but can also be dangerous if used irresponsibly. For example, when kids (or coaches) post lewd or questionable information to their Facebook or Twitter account, it can lead to catastrophic consequences. On the other hand, when technology is used appropriately it can lead to faster information acquisition, better skill building, and new relationships that might not have ever happened without electronic communication. Do your part as a coach by using technology responsibly, and help teach your players the many ways in which they use these new advances to improve their game and have more fun playing as a result!