Updated: May 3, 2019
The NFL Draft continues to grow in popularity as evidenced by the sheer number of fans who gathered in Nashville this past weekend to be part of the excitement. Over the years, fans have relied on a handful of Draft experts for analysis of their favorite team's new prospects. However, the explosion of social media has changed this as self-proclaimed experts are popping up everywhere with little proof that their analysis is valid.
If you scroll through your Twitter feed and find yourself digging through the comments and subsequent replies, you're bound to find opposing opinions on any take - regardless of the of the topic, but certainly true with player analysis during the NFL Draft. If we're honest with ourselves, most of us have little, if any, insight into the full capabilities of these aspiring athletes as there are just too many players to follow throughout the football season. Watch the reaction of fans after their team picks past the top 15 players and you'll see a look of confusion, followed by an enthusiastic cheer for someone they don't know from Adam.
So, many of us revert back to the proven experts and take what they say as truth. These analysts are paid to follow the best of the best in college football so why wouldn't they be right? Well, nobody's perfect and nobody can predict the future in full, so take what you want from these analysts but consider giving these rookies some time to prove themselves on the field, not just in curated game film.
As coaches, we need to continuously analyze our players to identify strengths and weaknesses in order to help develop them to their fullest potential. And in football, there are a number of players to follow which can make it difficult and time-consuming. Some teams dedicate a coach solely to watching games and practices to track player performance and record subjective scores. This can be useful in tracking progress and trends but is reliant on the opinion and consistency of a few which leaves it open to argument.
So what if there was a way to create objective, consistent data on your players? And what if the process of doing so required little effort? Imagine how your quality of life would improve, Coach!
Insert SMASH Routes - The Playbook Game. By turning your team's playbook into a mobile learning game, your players get mental reps of their plays while they're challenged to line up in the proper position, identify their assignments and reads, and then execute the play based on your expectations. Every player is assessed in the same manner in a controlled environment, one that they're comfortable with and excited to engage in - a mobile game. In fact, most players don't see it as being assessed as they simply want to rank up and compete with their teammates!
Today's athletes are groomed to question things, which can be both productive and counter-productive. Asking questions can indicate a desire to learn and understand better, but we've all had those players who question just to question. Using a standardized approach that removes bias allows coaches to avoid these unnecessary arguments as the data tells the story. Does Jimmy really know his job on the field? He can argue all day why he ignored his assignment on a play because of some external factor, but if he can't show his coach he knows what he's SUPPOSED to do while playing SMASH Routes, there's not much to argue. Back to the playbook, Jimmy.
Coaches are a dedicated breed that commit themselves to their craft which can mean hours and hours spent watching film. The camera doesn't (hardly ever) lie so this has proven to be a reliable strategy that has become a staple of the successful football coach. But it doesn't need to end there, and it shouldn't require him or her to sacrifice time with their family and friends doing other things they love (although there are some coaches who only love football!).
Our goal at SMASH Routes is to enable coaches with more reliable player data without completely changing the way they coach. By giving players a fun and engaging way to learn their playbook away from the field, coaches will find their team more prepared on the field which reduces the amount of practice time dedicated to walk-throughs. This is particularly valuable at the youth level where we all know the attention span of most kids doesn't allow for much time standing around talking about what each player should be doing on one play!
So if you're like many other coaches I've talked to this Spring who are looking for a way to reach their players on a level they understand, you should take a look at what SMASH Routes can do for you. Yes, it will do wonders for your players as they become smarter and more confident, but don't forget about your well-being. Give yourself more time to enjoy the other wonders of life, and let a mobile game help get your players up to speed on your playbook!
To learn more, go to www.smashroutes.com and download the game for FREE today to get a taste of what it can do for your team. If it's the right fit for you, we'll install your playbook and get your players studying their playbook more than they ever have.