Royal Happenings: Technology plays big role in high school sports

By Mary Haugen
WMHS Athletic Director

The use of technology in sports is nothing new, but the degree to which coaches and athletes rely on it has increased significantly. Watertown-Mayer High School coaches continue to explore new and different options to use technology for training purposes, to keep stats and to share information with the media.

For example, The Minnesota River Conference football coaches all use HUDL, a web-based service to create and exchange game film with each other. The old days of filming and making hard copies of game tape are gone. Now, conference and section football coaches are able to send game film or clips of individual players to just about anyone electronically. This technology saves time and levels the playing field for teams without a huge financial investment.

Another significant benefit Royal coaches have is the use of iPads. Communicating with athletes is simple because all of our students have email access through their iPads. Sharing game plans, plays, announcements, lineups for events, etc., all be done instantly through email. Individual and team statistics are easily kept and shared as well.

Chuck Charnstrom, the girls’ and boys’ swimming and diving coach, has been a strong advocate of iPad use. He uses his iPads to run practices with the “Workouts for Swim Coaches” app. It allows him to organize practice sets and keep track of the workout’s progress in yards and time. It even has an attendance feature available.

One of the most important features of the iPad is the camera. Several of the coaches use the camera features almost daily to show athletes how to improve their technique. Charnstrom uses an app titled “Bust a Move” that continuously records and plays back at a given delay. A TV is connected to the IPAD so athletes are able to view what they did on a big screen.

“The kids can dive off the blocks and swim out to the side, walk back to the deep end and see their starts they did 30 seconds ago,” Charnstrom said.

Another app Charnstorm uses is “Coach’s Eye.” This application allows team managers to record competitions. With the use of multiple iPads, Charnstrom is able to view swimmers from different angles. He then can send the swimmer’s race with comments electronically to him/her.

“I use Coaches Eye daily in practice to help kids see what it is they need to work on regarding stroke mechanics,” Charnstrom said.

Our varsity gymnastics coach, Steve Hangartner, uses “UberSense” instead. This allows the athlete to see his/her form and technique for a particular skill compared to the world’s best using a split screen. For example, a gymnast working on a new skill is able to watch what she just did compared to how an Olympian performs the same skill.

Royal coaches continue to stay in tune to the technological resources available to them. Their goal is to enhance what they are able to do with their teams and easily keep records throughout the season. What technology they use will multiply even faster because of the iPads in the hands of our student-athletes.

— Royal Happenings is a weekly feature in the Carver County News. Content is provided by Watertown-Mayer staff.