By Dan Guttenplan
On-field technology allows coaches to view various angles of plays almost immediately in games and practices, as well as communicate clearly with fellow coaches and players. Improving on-field technology can help a coach eliminate mistakes.
There are various ways to improve on-field technology, depending on a school’s operating budget and resources. We’ve picked out eight.
End zone cameras
Companies like Eyes in the Air, HUDL, Sideline Power, HD Endzonecam and Sport Scope offer models that allow video to stream directly to devices. Most systems include an HD camera with a 15- to 25-foot extension tower so that coaches can get an elevated look at formations and techniques. The videographer can film from a tree-stand tripod, or control the camera angle with a remote control.
Companies like GameStrat, Insight Replay and HUDL offer sideline replay systems that allow coaches and players to review game film anywhere on the field. The most basic models include a video camera (a phone or device), and monitors or tablets for viewing. Some of the higher-budget packages include large monitors, end-zone cameras, tripods, mounts, as well as iPad and iPhone accessories.
Some companies, like CoachComm, offer the combo timer/speaker system, while others, like Spectrum Timers and Victory Game Clocks, specialize simply in the timing system on wheels. A coach can program the timers into practice segments and focus on the quality of play rather than his watch and whistle.
Most headset suppliers, such as Multivoice, X-Series and Porta Phone, can outfit coaches with a system that will serve as many as 20 coaches with wireless models. Companies such as Bigfoot® offer portable sound systems that are designed to cover the entire football field. Most of these systems have built-in Bluetooth technology.
While the perception is that drones stretch a high school football budget more than sideline replay systems or end zone cameras, drones can provide an aerial vantage point for a lesser cost than other cameras. DJI and Phantom Pilots offer drones for well under $1,000 each, and many high school coaches are finding that to be within their budgets.
The camera technology has gotten so good that high school coaches are finding it within their budgets to afford products that remove the blur, and in some cases, don’t even require videographers to hold the camera. The DJI Osmo x5 is a handheld device that can be used while the videographer is in motion without blur. The HUDL Focus is a smart camera that follows the action and automatically records and uploads to HUDL.
With concussion research at the forefront of the sport of football, coaches are limited to the number of full-pad practices they can hold each week. Companies like TackleTube, TackleBar and MVP Drive provide padded equipment or robots for players to use when practicing tackling technique. Research shows the decrease in live reps has also caused a decrease in head injuries.
GSC’s Coach-to-Player™ is a stand-alone system or it can be integrated into any coach’s headset system. The coach can then speak directly to players through an earpiece in their helmets. It is used strictly in practice and can help increase reps.