Over the past couple years, we’ve seen an influx of technology in the sports world. People and companies across the world have developed amazing products and services that have revolutionized the way we watch and play athletics.
I wanted to touch on an area that has seen significant growth, but may not have gotten as much attention. Specifically, I’m talking about the way in which technology has impacted the coaching world.
Although it may not be obvious, here at CoachUp, we live and breathe technology in the coaching world everyday. Our mission is to help athletes reach the next level in both sports + life and we believe that private coaching is the secret to doing so. If you take a look at our platform, we aim to revolutionize the private coaching industry in a way that has never been done before. Early on, we realized that the private coaching industry was ripe for disruption. Primarily because there was no governing body of private coaching and the industry itself was fragmented (i.e. there was no place for people to consistently find great coaches and compare the quality of coaching they received). So CoachUp set out to use technology to fundamentally change the industry.
We did this in several ways: First, we needed to allow athletes to find their perfect private coach. We solved this problem by launching the world’s first online marketplace devoted entirely to connecting with safe, vetted, private coaches.
Second, we needed to professionalize the industry. We wanted to employ a set of standards to which all private coaches could be held accountable. CoachUp discovered that there were hundreds of thousands of coaches across the nation who loved working with athletes to take them to the next level. However, the problem was that the majority of these coaches were not business people. That is, they were not going to set up their own private coaching business, market their services, and create or maintain their own website.
Again, CoachUp stepped in by applying technology in order to solve the issue. We created an online dashboard that provided all the tools coaches needed to run a successful private business. Using the CoachUp platform, any coach can connect with athletes, view their schedule, manage their clients, view their training notes, and process payments. Furthermore, starting this month, coaches are now able to download the CoachUp mobile app (available on both iOS and Android) and run their entire business from the palm of their hand.
Although we’ve made a lot of progress, CoachUp is not the only piece of revolutionary technology affecting the coaching sector. Performance enhancement is another aspect that has been impacted by new technology. Video footage of practice and games has long been a tool utilized by coaches and trainers and I imagine this will continue. However, there are now many services that specialize in sports video analysis. Ubersense is one such company. Using their mobile app, coaches are able to record, annotate, measure, and distribute videos of athletes. This allows athletes to see exactly what they’re doing wrong in both practice and competition. Hudl is another company looking to disrupt this market. Their technology allows coaches, athletes, and recruiters to coach smarter, create highlight reels, and recruit the best talent.
The college recruiting business is also an area that warrants mentioning. Recruiting has been widely disrupted by the creation of new technology. First, athletes are getting better exposure than ever before. Look no further than services such as BeRecruited, which allows coaches to connect with prospects in a way that was previously not possible. Not to mention the millions of highlight reel videos and pictures that flood YouTube and the rest of the Internet. Coaches are now able to find and interact with potential recruits merely by being active on the same social media channels.
The final area I would like to touch upon is the rise of wearable sports technology. Last weekend, the top award at the OnDeckCup hackathon was a project called the ‘No Brainer’ which was a safety device aimed at notifying coaches and trainers when a player has experienced concussion-level impact to the head. Devices such as this one seem to be on the rise. Another company growing in this sector is Hothead Technologies, which has developed small sensors for football helmets that notify coaches when a player’s temperature becomes too high.
When we look at the rise in popularity of products such as the Nike FuelBand and the JawBoneUP, I feel it is only a matter of time before these products find their way into the tool sets of coaches everywhere. While geared heavily towards the consumer market, a few tweaks and changes would make products such as these valuable training instruments for coaches everywhere.
The fact that technology has affected the coaching world is undeniable. However, we have only just begun to explore the ways in which technology can enhance the lives of coaches and athletes everywhere. As products and services grow and mature, it will be exciting to see the breakthrough technologies and disruptive products that evolve in the years to come!