As the season ends for football teams across the country, many coaches shift their focus to their end-of-season team banquet. This is a great opportunity for teams to review major events from their season and celebrate their successes, both as a team and individually. And in most cases, the coaches are tasked with identifying awards to hand out to their players.
As gratifying as it is to put their players in the spotlight, this task can be stressful as coaches strive to make sure each player is acknowledged. Some players stand out from others athletically making it easy to identify the "Best Offensive Player" or "Best Tackler," but there's more to player development than the physical aspects.
Focusing on the intangibles is more important in youth sports than at any other level. This is because of the various paths of development that occur with young athletes as every player is unique. Your fastest, strongest player this season may lose a step next year in comparison to their peers. And the player who pales in comparison physically to his teammates today may go through a growth spurt and become physically dominant in a matter of months. But regardless of a player's physique, all athletes can become smarter and more confident on the field which often leads to a leadership role. So, how do you track these intangibles?
Teams using SMASH Routes are letting the app do all the work for them. As players play the game and learn their playbook, their effort and comprehension is tracked as they progress. Coaches have access to data that gives them insight into these intangibles with the ability to isolate specific areas of the playbook that may require extra work for some players. Want to know which players know the route tree? Or who mastered the playbook from all positions? SMASH Routes will tell you.
You're probably thinking this would be useful data to have throughout the season - and you'd be right to think that. Teams of all ages, from 3rd grade up to high school, used SMASH Routes this season to help their players get up to speed on their playbook while getting insight into areas that needed more work in practice. The data also helped in managing lineup rotations at the youth level, ensuring equity in playing time at various positions while maintaining a solid, balanced lineup. Nothing feels better than keeping parents happy about playing time while winning games!
So if you're preparing for your team banquet and struggling to identify a suitable award for some of your players, consider using SMASH Routes next season and let technology do the work. Not only will you have awards automatically identified for you, you'll also be able to dedicate more time to developing skills and fundamentals on the field as your players advance their knowledge of the playbook while having fun off the field!
[Photo Courtesy of University of Minnesota]