By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
A Texas coach won the 2018 GSC Coach-to-Player Contest, providing his team with an opportunity to integrate a new communication system that allows coaches to speak directly into players’ helmets during practice.
Spring Hill (Texas) head coach Kelly Mercer wants his quarterbacks to hear his voice in the back of their heads when they approach the line of scrimmage on game day.
The process has been made easier for Mercer, now that Spring Hill has won the 2018 GSC Coach-to-Player Contest. Three of Mercer’s assistant coaches – Travis Buchanan, Chad Ashby and Michael Colvin – entered the contest, which was hosted on FNFCoaches.com. The FNF Coaches selection committee felt the Spring Hill nominations made the strongest case for the Coach-to-Player™ communication system, so the Texas program received the grand prize of a communication system (retail value: $1,600) in May.
“As an offensive coach, I’ve always wanted my quarterback to have my voice in his head as he gets to the line of scrimmage,” Mercer said. “Now he really will hear my voice in practice. I think we’ll use this system a lot early in the week, and hopefully as the week goes on, he can take the system out and still hear my voice as we prepare for the game.”
Buchanan believes the GSC Coach-to-Player system will speed up the tempo of practice and provide more coaching opportunities for young players.
“This interests me so I can do more coaching from the sideline without having to pull an athlete out of the drill and to simulate game day coaching,” Buchanan said. “It will also allow us to use this to prepare athletes on what to look for based on personnel groups and formations.
GSC Coach-to-Player™ (C2P) provides coaches with an ability to speak to players directly in to their helmets during practice. Through the C2P practice system, a coach speaks into a handheld transmitting device and his voice is audible through the speakers loaded in the helmets of the players of his choice. The technology provides additional coaching opportunities while also helping to maintain or expedite the tempo of practice.
The C2P system can also help a coach build depth on his roster by giving him an avenue to coach players who are not taking part in a particular rep.
“Coach Mercer and his staff are going to see first-hand how powerful C2P is as a developmental tool,” said GSC Director of Operations Alex Shada. “The increase in reps and the quality of those reps will certainly benefit the entire team. It will be fun to watch Spring Hill this year.”
C2P also allows for more focused instruction from coaches to players due to its ability to customize the communication. For instance, multiple position coaches can listen to a coordinator call a play, and then provide specific instruction to his particular position group before the snap.
“Rely on C2P as a developmental tool,” said Shada, when asked what advice he’d offer Spring Hill coaches. “Do NOT use it as a play-calling device. Talking your athlete through scenarios, reads and progressions will only improve his abilities. On Friday night, his play will be directly impacted.”
From a player’s standpoint, the C2P system results in more productive meetings, less time reviewing plays in the classroom, and more productive time on the field. For those who “learn by doing,” the C2P system allows them to go through reps while they’re learning new concepts rather than staring at a screen or dry-erase board.
“It’s good to get the kids involved in the film,” Colvin said. “If they have particular things they are listening to, then we can keep them focused on improving instead of other distractions.”
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