What Youth Sports Leaders Need to Know About the Changing Future of the Industry and Technology
By Melissa Wickes
September 21, 2022
Steve Jobs frequently invoked the Wayne Gretzky quote: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.” This quote reminds us why it’s so important to determine and analyze where youth sports is going and help youth sports leaders know what they should consider.
We’re always keeping our eye on what’s next, just like athletes do. Whether it’s where the puck is going like Wayne Gretzky said, or keeping an eye on the latest technologies that can improve the youth sports experience—for players, parents, coaches, and administrators—we’re always staying ahead of the game.
An obvious shift that we’ve seen in the last few years in youth sports is toward mobile. Coaches are turning in their clipboards to manage schedules, rosters, and check-in on a mobile app—so we’ve improved ours to meet the changing needs of the industry.
The Coming Disruption in Youth Sports
Beyond mobile apps and online management systems, youth sports has changed dramatically over the past 25 years in ways no one could have imagined, and innovation driving change in other industries—like virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain, web3, and NFTs—will inevitably change how youth sports is managed and experienced. And so we keep our eye on that puck.
It’s a lot to take in, we get it. You may be feeling overwhelmed or maybe even uninterested in these kinds of topics. After all, technology is not the reason you got into youth sports. To start, we’ll give you a brief idea of how we think these technologies will impact youth sports.
Human Performance Technology
One example of innovative and new technology that we’re beginning to see in youth sports is human performance technology. eCoach is a great example of how it can positively affect the industry and increase access to youth sports.
eCoach partners with the NBA Coaches Association to provide clips of drills, plays, pick and rolls, etc. to give everyone access to great youth sports coaching resources. The platform offers skills and lessons that they would “normally have to spend a week in camp to learn,” Jamal Mashburn, former NBA player and leader of eCoach, explained in a discussion about technology and youth sports in the wake of Web3.
On October 6th and 7th, NextUp 2022: the Youth Sports Management Conference is back in person and will discuss topics like technology’s effect on youth sports and where the industry is headed. Register using the code Blog50 at checkout for 50% off registration!
Business Opportunities and Creator Monetization
The reality of youth sports today is that as they become more professionalized, the way they are operated shifts—for coaches, leaders, executives, and players alike. This requires more training, education, and technology in youth sports management so the people in charge can lead their athletes to where they want to go.
“If we can give athletes access to technology and what it means earlier than ever before, they can make decisions on their terms at the collegiate level,” Kirby Porter, former Harvard Women’s basketball player and founder of New Game Labs, says. “Because they have so many people coming at them with this platform and that platform, you really need the knowledge from an unbiased party to be able to make a decision as to what’s best for you and your brand.”
To put it simply, Web3 is the next version of the internet, enabled by blockchain technologies. It will create new and more innovative ways for consumers to interact with culture and entertainment everyday.
Ultimately, Kirby thinks Web3 will help athletes build their brands holistically outside of just how they play sports—through content creation, NFTs, and other technologies that will allow them to build their brands earlier on and establish their identities beyond just as athletes.
So, what’s next?
To be a leading youth sports organization, you need to stay on top of the shift in youth sports toward these technologies and see where we’re headed next. On October 6th and 7th, NextUp: The Youth Sports Management Conference is back in person for the first time since 2019 and Paul Rabil, former professional lacrosse player and co-founder of the Premier Lacrosse League, and Griff Long, CEO of EL1 Sports, will be leading a discussion about where sport, technology, and disruption intersect.
To hear the perspectives of those who know what’s coming next in youth sports the best, register for NextUp 2022 before it’s too late.If you use the code Blog50 at checkout, you’ll receive 50% off registration!