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My Top Things I Must Have as a Coach

Feb. 05, 2014, 12:17 p.m. (ET)

John Kessel's Growing The Game blog
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  1. Three Outlet Adapter – This leads my list because of the technology that we all use to be better teachers . Carrying a 1 to 3 adapter makes you a savior to one other fellow traveler, as you ask permission to change one outlet to 3, one for the lucky first arriver, one for you, and one for that other fellow coach or traveler desperately needing a power source. Also when you need to power up your computer AND a projector AND speakers, but only have one long extension cord, well your problem in solved.  Get one for every coach in your program.  
  2. White Boards – Said it often, CLICK HERE WHY – and sure it can be my practice plan pre printed or a chalk board, but there is something about a white dry erase board that screams ENHANCING LEARNING HAPPENS HEREOne for stuff that needs to stay, a second for the days planning and idea sharing.
  3. Ball Pressure Gauge – There is a term in motor learning that is very important – Appropriate Regulatory Stimuli – which I hope is self explanatory – in this instance, it is the ball, which must be checked to ensure often that it is  inflated to the same pressure level of the game balls you will be playing  with.
  4. Ribbon – 1.5 inch wire edged, white fabric ribbon to be exact. Looks to every kid like the top of the net. A rope works too, or one of our 4 nets on a rope net systems. Ribbon is online for about $10-15 for 50 yards, and less at Costco when in stock. String it from wall rope anchors, poles or even two referee stands beyond each endline, and you have 4 warm up/kids training courts for over the net pepper games of 1 v 1, 2 v 2 or 3 v 3. Then just pull it down for larger group training games and grills.
  5. Tablet – IPad or whatever, the apps that can mirror/delay/replay and much more, bring what the used to cost millions down to just $5 per app and the cost of your choice of tablet.  See list of apps below.
  6. Tablet Holder and Tripod – To free you up from holding it, and getting you back to teaching. Just to have it be a 10-20 second delay video station for the players to watch their most recent action is worth it alone. 
  7. Net Height Checker – An eight foot beaded chain with premeasured height mark point lets you  check any practice or competition net to make sure it also is at “appropriate regulatory stimuli” so your players are getting accurate feedback on their net and other play.
  8. Painters Tape – Blue, moderate release, or Purple –super light release.  Both 2 inch wide and narrower.  Temporarily mark the net bands or netting, mark the floor for where to be, mark the wall with women’s and men’s net height “bands” to make the wall a partner to train against for warm ups.
  9. Swim Noodles – Regular six foot long ones from the dollar store to make low cost “antenna” by weaving them through the netting squares, varying colors for varied target markers on the top or bottom of the net band (slice one side of the noodle to slide it on the band),  Weave them in the shape of a “support ribbon” at the top of the net to create a blocker to hit around.
  10. Whistle  - electronic to be cool, or regular to get your coach workout – This is yet another “appropriate regulatory stimuli” that also gets you to be a more efficient teacher.
  11. Hand Ball Pump and LOTS of Inflation Needles  - Needles, go on ebay or Froogle and buy a 100 pack – never have to search for another one again. Hand pump, I like the bulb pump, but the tube ones are most common, same search on Froogle gets you dozens of options.
  12. Speed Radar Gun –  There are two best options – the larger Velocity Speed gun made by Bushnell, price under $100 and the  much smaller but pricier Pocket Radar Gun, price about $200. Both are full featured radar guns.
  13. Balloons – 12 in white, or colored helium quality – in the party departments of any Target/Walmart in packs of a dozen or the 60 packs, both under $10.
  14. Sharpies – Red, Blue and Black – for marking balls,  sign making, and more. While I am at it, a couple of dry erase markers too in case the ones you start to use were not sealed and are now dry for your use.

Apps – Seems as many coaches don’t know all the great VB related apps out there, so here are my favorites….

  1. BAM Video Delay –  show “mirror like” on the face of the tablet whatever the lens is set to show, but by rubbing your finger on the face of the tablet, you can delay longer or shorter up to 2 minutes.  Player does whatever on the court, then before the 15 seconds, or whatever time set amount, goes over to the tablet to see their skill performance. Coach does not need to be present. http://www.orangeqube.com/bustamove/
  2. Dartfish Express – or Ubersense, or Coaches Eye – fast replay video options for in practice feedback, which includes the ability to draw lines/angles, and more to assist.  
  3. Scoreboard  - Simply turns your tablet into a “flip score” device  easy to read from across the court. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scoreboard-free-version/id496758984?mt=8  
  4. VBStatsHD – Does all the stats/video synching you want and more – not cheap – but not expensive at $30. For those who want a powerful app. - http://peranasports.com/?portfolio=vbstatshd-demonstration
  5. ACE Stats/Tap Recorder – Low cost fast stat software.  http://www.ace4vb.com/smart-device-store.html

Computer programs

  1. Kinovea     A video player for all sport enthusiasts. Slow down, study and comment the technique of your athletes or of yourself.  It is 100% free and open source.   http://www.kinovea.org/
  2. KeepVid – A website that allows you to save YouTube and other popular video websites material onto your computer’s hard drive,  as mp4. Wmv, and flv files of various level of quality and thus size. www.keepvid.com

Feel free to comment to tell us your must-have additions, and if you want a head start on getting these ideas and information, follow me on twitter @JohnKesselUSAV  

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