Hey Soccer Coach! Technology Should Be Your Friend

Mark PapaContributor IJanuary 31, 2009

This evening I started to surf the web while thinking about my plans for coaching soccer next season. I realized technology has really changed the way we coach since my dad coached my youth soccer team about 15 years ago. 

In fact there have been huge changes with the use of internet, email, and the decline in cost and weight of camcorders.  These tools of the trade for today's soccer coach are standardized technology that budded in previous decades.

This past season the coaches from my club used a variety of technologies. Text messaging helped us communicate with each other. A digital camera snapped team pictures.  Facebook, a social networking website, allowed us to share a photo of the feeling of excitement and efficiently brag about our team's first tournament championship. League administrators were pinged via email.  The personal computer was essential in the design of the "Most Valuable Player" award in Microsoft Powerpoint for this season's dedicated superstar.

I realize some of the techies out there are saying "So what?" at this point. I have not been trying to leverage technology in relation to coaching soccer. In my use of technology I was on auto-pilot since this technology is my daily life.  In an "aha" moment, I realized the other new technological opportunities that are available for soccer coaches. 

I found some eye-opening examples of technology being used effectively at the website of the United States Soccer Federation (ussoccer.com). For the more detail-oriented soccer coach, I found a shared Microsoft Excel workbook from ussoccer.com academy resources with an incredibly inspiring example of organization and record keeping. 

The important soccer coach data for each player includes games played and reasons for missing games, minutes played, player ratings including player of the match honors, lineups, etc. This is better organized and thorough than my own team's Excel Workbook of soccer stats.  

On the ussoccer.com website, there was a form for college coaches to order academy showcase game footage. All footage was already digitally recorded for each showcase game and kept by a third-party vendor.

I am sure this sea change from the past is a welcome feature for college coaches that are asked to do more and recruit better with less budget.  

In addition, the internet can help you discover more about your opponent's soccer program and players at the team's website or by reviewing the hits of your favorite web-search engine. For families with youth playing away from home, Google maps are linked in to many websites and give driving directions to the necessary establishments.

In recent years, technology has become more available, widespread, and accepted in our wired world, I wonder what kind of technology I'll leverage in 15 years when I am coaching my daughter's soccer team.