TeamSnap Wins Best in Show at Under Armour Challenge

At TeamSnap, we don’t only help your team compete, our players are competitive themselves. So when we were invited to participate in the Under Armour Future Show 2014 Innovation Challenge, a show hundreds of companies apply to compete in, we were excited to demonstrate what we could do. We were one of only six companies invited to present to the Under Armour executive team.

Although we didn’t win it all, we were excited to be named Best in Show by Under Armour employees.

The Future Show 2014 Innovation Challenge, held at Under Armour’s headquarters in Baltimore, took place the week of Oct. 6 with a goal of promoting connectivity between wearable sports technologies and Under Armour’s MapMyFitness software platform. Three members of TeamSnap’s senior management team attended to not only demonstrate what we’re currently up to but to also give a glimpse into the future of TeamSnap and what we’re capable of.

The show had two components, a two-stage panel judging and an open expo to Under Armour employees. The theme of TeamSnap’s panel judging was “Unlocking Potential,” which showed that by partnering with MapMyFitness and Under Armour, TeamSnap can create coaching tools that compare and contrast individual performance and other measures against other players on the team, in the club or league, in the sport or at a specific position. These metrics give valuable insight into individual and team performance and progress, measuring not only physical fitness, but also intangibles like teamwork, leadership, effort and chemistry. We also demonstrated how TeamSnap can identify individual players that are at risk for injury based on plyometric conditioning, hydration and player movement during games.

On the expo floor, our TeamSnappers talked to Under Armour employees not only about the presentation but also about what TeamSnap has accomplished so far and what’s on the horizon. TeamSnap took home Best in Show for the Exposition, something we’re very proud of and that provides further affirmation in our belief that TeamSnap is moving forward in the right direction, including with initiatives like our new TeamSnap Live!

A special shout out goes to Dave DuPont, TeamSnap’s CEO and main presenter at Future Show, Wade Minter, TeamSnap CTO and presentation coach, Ken McDonald, TeamSnap chief growth officer and exhibit floor pitchman, and to Drew Meacham and Whitney Althouse, members of the TeamSnap design team who put together exciting demos and concepts of how we could tie to the MapMyFitness platform, as well as the presentation seen below and the following screenshot that shows how the experience can foster healthy competition among teammates.

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Stephanie Myers is the Content Manager for TeamSnap, managing such content as this blog, the TeamSnap newsletter and much more. When she’s not being the boss of content, you can find Stephanie playing in a competitive skee-ball league in Austin, Texas.

 

How Can a Coach Help a Money-Strapped Team?

All over the United States, coaches are looking for ways to fund their operating costs. Facing budgetary cuts, how can they keep supporting their players? How can they ensure the sports they love have a future? How can they serve the community?

One way to get something is to give something. In British Columbia, the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club asks its player to volunteer as coaches for high school rugby teams. In turn, the club players  get a rebate on club dues. Imagine if the club donated all that money to a financially strapped local high school team instead. Such a program would not only help the children learn from an elite rugby player, but the team would also receive needed financial assistance.

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Running a program with such a format has a number of benefits. The young players (high school or primary school) have the opportunity to interact with advanced players — to identify with them and to see how their athletic careers can take them beyond their high school years. The volunteers from the local clubs have the opportunity to promote the sport they love to the next generation at an interpersonal level.

Let’s take this line of thinking a little further and a lot bolder. Sports are big business. Together, the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL generate approximately $23 billion a year in revenue. The sporting equipment industry makes about $44 billion in retail sales each year. Although difficult to estimate because of its complexity, market research specialists put the total sports market in the United States at an estimate $485 billion yearly. The world market is estimated to be $1.5 trillion (how crazy is that?!) In this context, how can there be a lack of funds to nurture the next generation of amateur and professional athletes?

From a purely economic standpoint – and setting aside all the benefits we derive from sports that have nothing to do with money – it is in the interests of those who profit (enormously!) from the industry to invest in it at all levels.

This is the logical approach, though it isn’t necessarily put into practice given companies love big profits (duh!).

Where should coaches look for the money they need to keep their players equipped, safe and nurtured? One of the first stops is professional players. Professional athletes have much to be thankful for, and they understand that they have a responsibility to give back to the sports community that has created the conditions for them to succeed. If coaches can convince a local professional athlete to support the team by participating in practices or special events, he or she could draw the attention of the local public to support fundraising drives.

Think bigger! Coaches might also approach professional franchises to contribute funds for operating costs.

In 2011, the average revenue of MLB teams was $212 million. It would not be unreasonable to ask such a team to invest in the next generation of athletes, some of whom will surely find their way into their ranks. Sports equipment enterprises, media organizations profiting from broadcasting rights, sports video games manufacturers, all represent sources of revenue that can be tapped.

This strategy could easily be married to any of the fundraising drives commonly in use: sales of merchandise, scratch cards and donations. Professional athletes or franchises can help generate attention for any event or fundraising campaign a local team may be running.

As you mull over the possibilities, consider that you will not be imposing on those who profit from sports: you’ll be offering them the opportunity to promote their brand as well as the sport. It’s a win-win!

Marc Alcindor is president of Fundraising.com, which helps tens of thousands of non-profit groups raise millions of dollars each year for their good causes.

 

 

 

3 Pieces of Technology that Make a Coach’s Life Easier

With the release of Brad Pitt’s Hollywood blockbuster “Moneyball” back in 2011, technology and analytics finally hit the mainstream. With more than 44 percent of the U.S. population having a tablet in their household, chances are you have one lying around. It’s time to pick it up to make your coaching life easier.

Even on a tight budget, there are affordable apps out there that can help you achieve some amazing things. Here are the three types of technology that are essential to every coach:

  1. Digital coaching clipboard – Gone are the days of a messy whiteboard.
  2. Video breakdown – Stop spending hours on your old VCR machine.
  3. Data analysis – Numbers don’t lie. You improve what you measure.

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Digital coaching clipboard

It’s amazing how captivating it is when players see their photo and their name animating on a tablet or a projector screen. After all, youth are accustomed to video games, so it feels familiar to them. Gone are the days of Coach drawing messy indecipherable diagrams on a clipboard and yelling out instructions. In the heat of the game, a clear animated play can mean the difference between a win or a loss.

You can also get rid of your binders full of drills and plays. They’ll all be readily available on your tablet and with apps that can sync through the cloud, you can share them with players, parents and assistance coaches. Building an organized library of content for future use.

Video breakdown

All the pro teams use video breakdown, and just because you don’t have a million-dollar budget doesn’t mean you can’t! Now there are lots of apps available that either break down your game film for you or make it extremely easy to do so. Players think they are doing the right thing until the actually see it on film.

Data analysis

Data doesn’t tell you everything, but data doesn’t lie. If you’re a parent coach, you’re probably using lots of data in digital-clipboard-from-above_webyour business or job in some form. Why not use it for coaching? There are apps out there that allow you to get rid of your paper stat sheets. Over time, you can identify trends and areas for improvement that can prove to be invaluable for both you and your players.

If you have a tablet lying around somewhere in your house, pick it up and give these apps a try. They’re affordable, sometimes even free, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the results and your players will love you for it.

Keith Rumjahn is CEO of Coachbase, a mobile apps company that develops an animated multi-sport digital playbook for iOS, Android and the web to help coaches stay organized, save time and win more games. 

 

Customer Profile: How One Mom Uses TeamSnap to Manage Multiple Teams for Two Teens

Did you know you could use TeamSnap to manage multiple teams for multiple kids with just one login? Susan Dukes, TeamSnapper and mom extraordinaire to two young athletes in Tyler, Texas; learned how easy it can be this summer.

Susan’s son began playing club lacrosse at his new charter school, and the coach asked all parents to sign up and use TeamSnap as part of the team management process. Although she’d never used team management software before, Susan says she found TeamSnap to be “the easiest user-friendly tool.” In fact, Susan says she was so impressed she recommended it to her daughter’s 50-athlete gymnastics booster club, the fundraising arm for the gymnastics team.

Susan and daughter Sidney after a gymnastics meet.

Susan and daughter Sidney after a gymnastics meet.

“The organization of the app is revolutionary,” she says. “What could have been a difficult app was created with simplicity in mind.”

Susan’s children have participated in many different sports over the years, but this was the first time she tried sports team management software. In the past, coaches sent messages through different sources, like text, email and paper notes, and she says she often felt lost and disconnected when the occasional note wasn’t passed from child to parent or she missed information about practices, events or games.

“When I was introduced to TeamSnap, I immediately noticed what used to be unorganized communication became organized communication,” she says. “This essentially helped me to be more organized as well and plan ahead.”

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Susan says she finds the email reminders and roster feature particularly useful and loves that she’s able to log in to one place where she can access both of her children’s teams. Because she uses her iPhone for so many things, she finds the ability to sync both of her children’s schedules to her iCal a huge plus. She used to keep a folder for all the communications from the coaches for her daughter’s gymnastics booster club but now can access everything she needs on her phone, whenever she needs it.

“No more papers to keep up with,” she says. “It is so nice to have everything at the touch of a button!”

So how do you manage all of your kids’ teams in one place like Susan? Well, the first step is getting your teams to adopt TeamSnap, of course (check out our free 21-day trial!). Then, make sure you enter the same email address for each team, so when the coach sends invitations to “join” the team, they’ll all go to the same address. Once you join a team, it’ll automatically be added to your “My Teams” dashboard. Even if yours isn’t the primary email address on your child’s roster, as long as the coach sets up Shared Access, you’ll still be able to access each team all from the same place. It’s just that simple.

Stephanie Myers is the Content Manager for TeamSnap, managing such content as this blog, the TeamSnap newsletter and much more. When she’s not being the boss of content, you can find Stephanie playing competitive skee-ball
in Austin, Texas. If you’re a TeamSnap customer who would like to volunteer your story for the TeamSnap blog, please contact Stephanie at support@teamsnap.com

 

‘Jock’ or ‘Artist': Why Do Kids Have to Choose?

Growing up, did you consider yourself to be a “jock,” preferring to exercise your athletic prowess, or an “artist,” pursuing more creative endeavours?

When I was younger, I played sports so, for better or worse, I was considered a “jock” by a society that seemed fine pegging me in one silo instead of encouraging exploration into anything else. Now, with all these years passed, this makes me regretful. Don’t get me wrong; I loved athletic competition (and still do) but in feeling like I wasn’t able to explore other outlets for my energy, I feel I missed out on an opportunity to fully explore who I was, to express myself as an individual, and to develop confidence through self-expression.

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Unfortunately, looking at my nieces and nephews today it doesn’t seem like much has changed. In fact, things may be getting worse with young athletes being pressured into choosing one sport over all others at very young ages, travelling to tournaments every weekend and participating in year-round leagues that leave very little time for anything else.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. The most obvious solution is to simply force kids to put the sports equipment down for a time and take guitar lessons or improv classes to help round out their skills. However, some kids might not want to do anything but play sports. After all, kids are kids and may not understand what will benefit them most in the future.

But it’s important for everyone to explore their creative side and fortunately, that doesn’t mean these kids have to leave the court or pool behind. What it will take though is a change of perspective in us — the parents and coaches — who are encouraging these young athletes to develop.

That change is to see the playing field as a blank canvas of sorts, a place where young people have the opportunity to express themselves creatively and where they can play around with ideas about who they are or who they want to be.

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For all of us (parents, coaches, athletes) this will pay dividends both in the short and long term. By encouraging and challenging young athletes to explore their creativity on the field, they will come to some of their own conclusions about what kind of player (and person) they are and where they fit into the team (and society). This challenge will motivate them without them even knowing it because they will be working on their own development. Smiles and enjoyment will be the byproduct.

This isn’t easy. By and large, it’s a change in how we’ve previously thought about sports. There could be less emphasis on winning and more on development. There may be more show-boating or some judgement over which kids are better (not that these don’t exist in our current youth sport set-up). But perhaps by continuing to encourage self-expression, we can help mitigate these issues and continue to make youth sport what it should be: a place for our children to develop and grow physically, mentally, and socially into healthy, confident, happy people.

Brian Covert is a community builder with Up My Game, makers of an app that connects athletes with coaches and uses video analysis to help improve skills, technique, and training.