Technology helps coaches communicate
ROGERS — The chalkboard was once the primary method for coaches to communicate with their players.
In today’s world, athletes get an alert on their smartphone to remind them of an upcoming practice or a schedule change, and parents can stay on top of events with a few clicks and not be concerned about an important document wadded up in a backpack flung in the corner just inside the front door.
Many schools are turning to Google Drive as the one-stop online shop to put important documents, forms, notices and even videos for athletes, said Katie Radewald.
Radewald is an English instructor and dance team coach at Fayetteville High School. She headed a session on Thursday during the Mercy Coaching Summit at Embassy Suites on Using Google Drive For Your Team and Athletic Program.
“The best thing about Google Drive is that it allows you access to your files anytime, anywhere,” she said. “So before, you could have a student say ‘oh, it didn’t save or I couldn’t find it.’ There’s not an excuse for that now because Google Docks and Google Drive automatically saves everything. And you can access it from your phone or other device.”
Radewald gave a presentation using the Fayetteville dance team as an example. Radewald and dance coach Elizabeth Thomas use Google Drive as a way to keep their athletes informed on all aspects of the program, from notices of upcoming fundraisers to the music they will use in a dance competition. Hundreds of email addresses, school forms, schedules and more are at their fingertips.
Brad Stamps is an assistant basketball coach at Fayetteville who also played for the Bulldogs in the late 1980s. Stamps said the technology of Google Drive is far different than what was available when he was a student-athlete.
“Coach (Joe) Kretschmar wrote everything on a chalkboard and you had to remember what was on there to tell your parents,” Stamps said. “This is so easy and user-friendly. Everything is right there for you. This is paperless, so all the packets and paperwork are there and the parents just sign off on it. You don’t have to exchange paper and all that.”
Bentonville West has used Google Drive since the school opened last year, and assistant basketball coach John Mackey said the biggest benefit was collaboration between coaches and their athletes.
“Information is key to everything, especially basketball because it’s more fluid. In football, they know every Friday night they are going to play, but with basketball, our schedule is not set until October. So if we have a way to share that, it just makes everything easier,” Mackey said.
Radewald emphasized that Google Drive keeps everything streamlined and all in one place. And because it’s user-friendly, teachers and coaches can upload items themselves.
“The more that we can make things easier on us to communicate, the less stress it is on us and the less stress it is on your athletes because they want to know what is going on,” Radewald said.
Hunter Corbell is a coach at Greenland, which has used Google Drive on the teaching side, and plans to use it for athletics this year.
“We’re looking to make things more efficient throughout our entire program, whether it’s football, basketball, baseball and other sports,” Corbell said. “We’re looking to become more efficient in that aspect, so it’s definitely something that we’re hoping to implement this year.”
Katie Radewald, assistant dance team coach at Fayetteville High School, talks about using Google Drive for athletics programs Thursday during the Mercy Coaching Summit at the John. Q. Hammons Center in Rogers.