Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Supporting Athletes in The Digital Age

There are many innovative ways that coaches and teachers of physical education and fitness can enrich the lives of the athletes with whom they work. To follow are ideas to help them discover and define their digital footprint as well as use technology to update and enhance practices.  

Exploring and Creating Your Digital Footprint
How are the athletes making a digital footprint? What happens when you investigate? Here are some places to check out.
Ways athletes can begin creating digital footprints
  • Create online profiles
  • Social Media - Be deliberate about your words and messages
    • See how other athletes use Facebook and Twitter - Fan Page
  • Pictures - Use tags on sites like Flickr and Picasa 
  • Video - Use tags on sites like YouTube
You can use Flickr to instantly create slideshows with photos and videos (directions here) without doing any work.  Here are some ways you may use this in practice.
  • Use a cell phone to record athletes in action doing a technique they want feedback on. (note: the taping can be by anyone.) Email the video in and it is instantly compiled into a slide show on which the coach or other experts can leave comments.
  • Do you have requirements athletes must meet?  Have them document those by creating their own Flickr slideshow and sending you the link.  

Create Podcasts from a cell phone with iPadio
iPadio lets you create a podcast that can be listened to live or later right from your cell phone. Here are some ideas for using iPadio.  
  • Live color commentary during sporting events
  • Interviews with players after sporting events
  • Team radio show
Quick Response Codes Bring Inanimate Objects to Life
QR codeThis is a quick response (QR) code that will bring you to a workshop I delivered based on this article. It can be read with a  free reader on your phone that will take you to a website I created for readers to visit. There are a number of websites that enable you to create a code. I like http://goo.gl. Once at the site paste in the url and you will receive a shortened url then select "Details" and you will also have a QR code.  If you sign in to Google you will have a record of all codes created as well as statistics on number of visitors.  Popular free QR code readers are: iPhone -  Red Laser, Blackberry - BeeTag, Android - QR Droid

Here are some ideas for using QR codes
  • Provide a tour of your facility, field, or stadium.
  • Have a wall of fame with athletes pictures and the QR code brings you to a video of that athlete telling about themselves. Note: this also establishes a digital footprint. Bonus!
  • Put QR codes in a play book to bring plays to life.
Using Celly to Connect with Athletes Via Your Basic Cell Phone
Celly - FreeMany coaches are using Celly to communicate. Celly lets you instantly group people and topics into cells. Cells function as chatrooms where people communicate instantly via text-based messaging over SMS. Cells can also include messages from the web or other social networks to capture your interests. Anybody can instantly create, join, and discover cells by sending text messages to our phone number 23559 (C-E-L-L-Y). Cell membership and message content can be curated for security and relevancy. Cells can be private or public and organized by name, topic, and geography. For example, a coach might want to enable open chat among players and coaches to coordinate games and practices. For a setup guide with screenshots, go here.

XBox Kinect Lets Every Athlete Train with A Pro
Xbox Kinect is creating some fantastic offerings for athletes that enable them to learn from and compete with professional athletes as well as receiving coaching.  Some coaches / fitness educators set up stations at their facilities for athletes to engage with various offerings.  Visit their site to see their offerings here. Here is a video that explains one of the Kinect games.
Apps for Athletes
Gone are the days of multiple devices to monitor athletes. If you have a smart device you have a multipurpose, multifunctioning tool to monitor progress, improve, performance and get athletes closer to their goal. 

The links below bring you to popular sports and fitness apps for each device.
There videos feature popular fitness apps  
Coaching and Teaching 21st Century Athletes
The 21st century coach and educator has a number of innovative and useful tools available to enrich, monitor, and improve athlete's performance. Which tools are you excited about using with your players?

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