CoachComm VP of Sales: Headset communication systems need to evolve during pandemic

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor

Many of our business partners are adjusting to the pandemic by providing products and services that will help coaches sort their way through the new normal.

CoachComm is one of those partners. The supplier of headset systems is working to improve communication for coaches under the new rules and recommendations of state athletic associations.

CoachComm Vice President of Sales Mike Whitley recently joined FNF Coaches to share a few ways his company is adjusting to the 2020 season.

How is CoachComm adjusting to the pandemic?

“We’re taking a couple of different approaches. In general, the things we’re able to do will affect our coaches in a positive way based on their circumstances. A lot of states are changing the designated area on the sidelines for players and coaches from 10 yard line to 10 yard line. That’s becoming fairly common for social distancing purposes. The box for coaches will be expanded while the number of people on the sideline will be limited. They’ll keep it to the core personnel.

“One headset system, the Cobalt Plus, has significant capabilities with 900 MHz frequency. That’s important because it will go through press box glass, big bodies and other obstacles on a football field. The timing is critical because it gives teams better range and coverage, and it’s able to stretch the field. Coaches have to be assured of communication tools that cover the field and deal with other obstacles. The Cobalt and Cobalt Plus will help coaches communicate on Friday nights and will enhance the environment in practice.”

In what ways can the headset system help in practice?

“Our new system is a system without a base station. It’s really easy to set up at practice. During summer workouts, teams have had coaches on the field and in the weight room. They all communicate with one another at practice. Our system has six (6) coaching channels as well as eight (8) player channels and coaches can divide them as needed for practice. These game-night tools are becoming necessary at practice. It’s allowing coaches to get a lot done while social distancing. It’s giving them more tools for practice. That makes coaches more efficient.”

What other benefits do your products offer?

“We have another piece of our business that helps coaches run practice and keeps them on pace and schedule. ‘Tempo Go’ allows coaches to enter their practice schedule on their computer and transfer to the systems themselves. Tempo announces all the periods as well as sounds a horn at the beginning or end of each. In addition to running practice the tempo system also serves as a high quality mobile PA system with inputs for microphones, I phones and more. The Mobile PA component of these systems are more important than ever with social distancing requirements.”

Do you offer in-helmet communication between coach and player?

“With our Cobalt Plus, a player receiver can be worn on an arm band. A player receiver in the helmet is illegal at the high school level, although it’s legal on the arm band. Each position coach can talk to players through an arm band. In addition to that, the same tool can be used on game night on the sidelines. Coaches can spread the kids out, and the audio is good enough to come out for a handful of kids. Coaches can deliver instructions from the press box. Coaches want the player receivers in the game. In my opinion, it’s not a matter of if. It’s when.”

Which schools are using CoachComm headset systems?

“Because we have 97 percent of the FBS and FCS schools, it requires superior engineering capabilities and technology. Because of that, we’re able to move it to the high school space and give coaches a great deal of confidence. Take the most difficult environments in the country, and we can operate in those. Move it to the high school markets, and it gives us exceptional experience on game night. We have highly skilled people providing technical support. That’s another plus we bring to the marketplace that others don’t bring.”