The 9 Technologies to Give Your Youth Soccer Club The Winning Edge
April 19, 2017
If you were to list some of the biggest challenges you face running your club, having the right technologies is probably not at the top of the list. You most likely have communicating with parents, finding better coaches, or even driving more registration as higher priorities.
However, the reality is that technology helps with most of the challenges you face. In fact, everything you are looking to accomplish with your club and players can be easily obtained with the help of today’s technologies.
Businesses use technologies to increase efficiencies and improve ROI. Parents and players have 24/7 mobile access and can share content anywhere around the world within seconds. Coaches are capturing data from wearables of players on the field to communicate effective short and long term performance growth.
Utilizing technology strategically can improve coaching knowledge, strengthen communication with participants, and enhance operations to scale your organization.
Here are nine technologies your club will need in 2017, along with some specific recommendations from the LeagueApps FC staff.
Zepp Play Soccer is a small gadget that slips inside a calf sleeve that is also provided at the time of purchase. Using a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone, you receive insights based on player and unique soccer data.
To use the app and gadget, pair up the sensor with the app and simply click start to begin tracking. When the session or match is done, sync the data into the app. The end result is detailed stats on kick speed, sprints, distance traveled, the number of kicks, and other information useful for game-to-game tracking.
A post-game summary is automatically produced for the player. If you’re worried that Zepp only tracks one player, then the next sentence is for you. The app also has a Team Game mode, allowing multiple players to connect to the same match. This provides easy comparable data for coaches.
— Zepp Labs (@ZeppLabs) October 4, 2016
Catapult claims it is the most comprehensive solution for the world game. And after looking at their G-5 and OptimEye wearables, it’s very possible that their claim is correct. Not only do the gadgets of Catapult effectively track performance, but they also capture health data to help prevent overtraining and prevent injury.
The G5 is the world’s first goalkeeper monitor. It’s a chest strap that measures dives in both direction and intensity, jumps, accelerations, decelerations, changes of direction, repeat high-intensity efforts, and time to recover. What’s most revolutionary about the G5 isn’t that it captures all that data, it’s that over time it creates unique “fingerprints” for each individual. This allows for differentiation as each goalie’s physiology differs.
There are a couple of next generation OptimEye wearables provided by Catapult. The X4 is an entry system monitor that helps calculate force, turn rate, orientation, and running (backward, forward, and sideways). The summaries and reports calculated include ways to plot player position, velocity, heart rate, and recovery time. The S5 is the newest product and is the only athlete tracking monitor that measures collisions.
Released to the public during NAASC 2016 in Baltimore, PlayerTek is the world’s first GPS sports tracker designed exclusively for soccer players. Each system includes a PlayerTek pod, a base-layer garment with a pocket on the back to hold the pod, and a micro USB cable to charge and sync the gadget.
The real genius of PlayerTek is the simplicity in its use. Sensors within the pod complete nearly 2500 measurements every second allowing for a player’s every movement on the pitch to be tracked. At the end of the match, players are given detailed feedback on the intensity of their performance and how to improve.
The Adidas Smart Ball, or miCoach, is a normal soccer ball with one big exception. Inside is a sensor that records real-life data so your players can know everything about their kick. Everything they want to know about striking, controlling, or manipulating the ball is now put into clear practice.
The sensor connects directly to your Smartphone and gives instant data on spin, strike, trajectory, and power. The app also gives feedback and tips for best practices on the pitch and in-game situations. And the best part is the miCoach looks and feels like a real soccer ball.
For the youngsters in your U12 through U6 teams, SockIt has developed a kicking instrument designed to help technique. The idea is to help a common problem in which young players kick the ball with their toes instead of the middle portion.
When the SockIt ball has been kicked properly with the foot, the ball lights up letting kids and coaches know immediately that the player is using proper technique. It’s strong enough to withstand a lot of extreme conditions and it safely fastens to a player’s cleat.
Used by Major League Soccer clubs LA Galaxy and NYCFC, the Toca Training Curriculum uses various equipment pieces to empower all soccer players to make their game “better and faster.” To start, the Toca ball is approximately four centimeters small and six ounces lighter, so that players can accelerate learning and lower body impact.
Their most popular equipment is the Toca trainer which is essentially a machine that shoots out Toca balls. Balls are delivered to precise locations at specified speeds (up to 50 MPH) and trajectories. Anything from a player’s first touch to moving onto the ball in space can be challenged. The Toca Trainer is easily controlled through an app on your iOS, where your coaches can also easily track achievements and progress.
A side-effect from playing on the pitch is the sometimes absence of reliable WiFi on the sideline of the pitch for your parents and coaches. That’s where Republic Wireless enters the scene.
WiFi is the fastest available network and can be accessed in places cell coverage can’t reach, such as an elevator or a basement. Republic Wireless unlocks the ability to use WiFi for calls and texts- as well as the internet- for users. They use a technique called Adaptive Coverage which senses the quality of your phone’s connectivity over WiFi. It then uses the available cellular data as a backup to fill in any gaps in your conversation.
In fact, two youth soccer programs located in Raleigh, North Carolina recently struck a deal with Republic Wireless to become their official wireless sponsor. Team members of those organizations will be live streaming and creating behind the scenes content with smartphones powered by Republic Wireless to highlight the special connections between teammates.
— Republic Wireless (@republicwirelss) April 11, 2017
One of the biggest days of a youth athlete’s career is that day they get to sign a National Letter of Intent or letter of intent. All that hard work, dedication, and commitment finally pay off. There’s a similar feeling of joy for club directors as well. You spend all season creating reels, reaching out to contacts at universities, and analyzing tape of your athletes and now the fruits of your labor are paying off.
One platform that comes highly recommended is Captain U. Millions of athletes, colleges, clubs, and event directors are connected through Captain U, making it one of the most widely used recruiting platforms in the market. Track where your players stand with college coaches, give them advice through the dashboard, and help them build attractive profiles and realistic lists to optimize the recruiting process.
As a club director, you’ll have access to just about every step of the process for your players with Captain U.
As important as all these technologies are to growing the game and your club, there’s still a need to improve the day-to-day organization and efficiencies of your club. With LeagueApps, you’ll get all your communication, registration, and scheduling needs in one easy-to-use platform that you control. There’s no need for third party applications or 10 different Excel spreadsheets and browser tabs open. Use LeagueApps as your one integrated platform instead of having to use 10 different tools.
Set up your club the way you want to operate. Optimize registration by setting up payment plans to collect all dues and fees regularly so you’ll never have to chase down a parent again. Instantly connect with just your coaches and parents or all of your participants via email or text. And join a network of over 10,000 sports and soccer organizers who we call partners, not customers.