By 2015 the average kid was spending over 6 hours per day in front of a screen, according to BBC. Even the youngest children are spending over 2 hours each day on a handheld device. (Source). Device ownership is rising in the US across all socioeconomic and racial indicators and with it the amount of time that children are using those devices. (Source). There are some attempts in some segments of society to regulate this, for instance at Waldorf Schools technology for young kids is highly discouraged. However, most of the rest of us are moving full steam ahead into a totally digitally driven society.
As a coach you should realize that the time you have the kids in practice and on the court at a game might be one of their few device-free times. To get a handle on this, poll the kids on your team about what devices they have and when they use them and for what purpose (homework or leisure). Chances are that more than 50 percent of those kids will spend more than several hours a day completely absorbed. It is probably much harder to fight against this than to just go with it and adapt your approach and style to fully embrace the 21st century and make it work for your team’s performance.
To help you do that Hustle has put together a list of tips and tricks that will make you a plugged in and connected coach and your the kids on your team even better players as part of a team because of it.
Tricks for Using Technology for Basketball Teams
Use the Hustle Fitness App and encourage your players to download it as well. With over 1,000 drills to encourage skill development at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, Hustle can help you improve your basic fundamentals and refine your advanced techniques. Have the team look at the same drill online that you are, study it and then bring it to the court for practice. Giving them access so they can see what you are looking for will enhance their game. If you don’t have an Apple product, it is also available on the Google Play Store.
Use a group communication app for the team. Include parents and assistant coaches in the communication. Encourage its use for questions, announcements and discussions. There are free apps like GroupMe that can be set up which do not need to be tied into any other social media. These allow for the sharing of pictures and different conversation streams to be established. If you have a group of kids who are all on social media and their parents approve, then you can also use FaceBook and have a private group set up. Make sure that whatever direction you go the parents are involved and aware and that you moderate the discussions to keep them appropriate and focused.
The ease with which videos can be made, edited, and posted for view is both a blessing and a curse. You can expect that any blunder or blooper or unusual circumstance that happens at practice or during a game will be captured and streamed live, or immediately posted for public consumption. For this reason you should encourage your team to always be on their best behavior, as you do not want to see something that someone is going to regret go viral. That said, video can be your player’s best friend. Use your smartphone to record drills during practice and upload those videos for the players to see. Analyze them together and ask them to watch themselves to learn what they can do to improve their game. Have the games videoed and do the same. The more the players see themselves in action the more aware of their strengths and shortcomings they will be.
Encourage the kids to find cool new technologies that they can use to help themselves and the team become better. Give them an incentive for bringing ideas to the table that can be incorporated, whether these be video games or unique ways to keep track of scores and statistics. Involve the team in the coaching and management process in this to help them take ownership and responsibility. This will teach them leadership skills that will help them on the court and in life.
Basketball Coaches Embracing Technology Means Better Players
The more that you encourage and embrace technology as a coaching tool, the more today’s technology obsessed kids will gravitate towards participating with you. Tech cannot replace the real time needed to practice in order to master basketball skills. However, your team working together at practice and being connected together with technology related to the team will help to create the synergy that will bring magic to your game.
For more tips and tricks on how to be a great youth basketball coach keep following Hustle Fitness.