Ever since I got the Original iPad way back when, I’ve been intrigued by its potential for coaching. I quickly found and downloaded CoachPad, a tablet-based white board that has field templates built in; I remember how intrigued / impressed all of the coaches on campus were. Since then, of course, the number of apps for coaching has exploded and I’ve been keeping track of the soccer apps. I’ve used Laola for the last few years as a basic scorebook: season record, goals, sometimes assists; you can see an example of what the record looks like here (scroll down to the bottom) but was hoping there was something that could do more.
Last year, I assistant-coached my son’s club team. As assistant, I had the time to play around with some apps and gave CoachIt Soccer a try; the home screen / options are below.
You begin by creating a team with the manage teams button. The Game Dashboard takes you to a game (which you have to schedule / input). Customize lets you customize statistics (more on that below) and View Statistics lets you, well, view the stats.
I liked how I could move players around and it was relatively easy to input stats for each player (the relatively part only because it was difficult to coach and input stats; you really need a dedicated stats keeper if you want to keep good and consistent stats): you tap on the player in the game and tap the stat they have earned. I liked it even more when I realized I could customize the stats: I could create my own and remove some of the default stats (below is a screen shot of the default stats; my customized ones are at home but I will try to add them later; you can also, as you can see from the menu at left, organize stats by player).
This year, my JV team is larger than it has ever been: 23 field players. Managing them and their playing time is challenging to say the least, especially since my goal is to play everyone each half and get them relatively equal playing time (the equal playing time more because we have a good amount of depth and unequal playing time equals much less playing time than it did in previous years when I had 17 or 18 field players).
I returned to CoachIt Soccer because I had grown to like it more than Laola but didn’t even realize how much it would help me this season. I basically ignored the information on the field-screen but, in our first scrimmage, realized that that information was playing time. Further, I realized that that playing time was color-coded based on how much (or little) they had played.
You can see that the top, white number, is Time In (TI) vs Time Out (TO), the red number below. Below that is the number of times they have been subbed out (I have subsequently turned that off in Settings, whose button is at the lower right). CoachIt Soccer also alerts you to deficits in playing time: after a player has been out for 20 minutes, that stat turns yellow, and after 30 minutes, that stat turns red. Once the game is over, the playing time stats are part of the stats page (which will expand, of course, as the season goes on, so that I can see game-by-game playing time but also total time for the season):
Now, the playing time is of course based on subbing, and in CoachIt Soccer you sub by dragging the players at the bottom (out of the game) to the players in the game. You can sub in real time, i.e. once you drag one player to another that sub is made, or you can delay-sub, which means that you drag your subs to their spots before they go in the game and then, when they go in, you commit them, and the subs are made. This delay-sub feature is hugely helpful when I’m subbing four, five, six, or even more players at a time. It allows me to plan out my subs and have a reference for them when I call them over. This is what the delayed sub looks like:
You can see that the player to be subbed out turns red and the player coming in is listed below (and that player coming in turns red on the bench, as you can see at lower left).
Finally, the settings button lets you customize how your field looks:
As I said above, I turned off # of subs out for players. I also changed the player names from black to white (you can see the white in the screen shot above), which I think I’ll prefer, but we’ll see. I thought about changing the times for color change, i.e. when the time turns yellow and red, but that seemed about right; I might change the red to 40, since pretty much everyone but the goalie will be out of the game for more than 30 minutes. (And, to be honest, I’d probably rather this be a percentage than a flat time.)
So far, no parental or player complaints about playing time. I’m not saying CoachIt Soccer is responsible for that (nor am I saying that my outstanding coaching is). I am saying, however, that, should complaints arrive, I’ll at least have some stats to back up whatever I have to say about playing time. CoachIt Soccer makes it easy to keep track of those stats, and for that I am very grateful, especially this season.