(Photo Credit: Patrick Breen/azcentral sports)
As a coach, there is one question I get asked almost every time I run in to another coach. “What program/app do you use for volleyball?” The truth is, I use a bunch of different apps for volleyball. I figured this would be a pretty good topic to blog about. It may give some other coaches some ideas, or maybe start a dialogue. This is by no means a review or “best volleyball apps for coaches” list. This is just a list of what I personally use when coaching. I also want to point out, that I use an iPhone 5 and an iPad 3rd generation with LTE (64 GB). I am sure most of these app are available on Android in some form, or another. Also, the pricing is based on what I paid at the time and may have changed.
1. iStatVball v.2 (http://www.istatvball.com/) [$9.99]
This is my go to stat software for games. I used to use (and still love) Volleyball Ace (Ace4VB.com), but it was a little bland and hard to teach non-coaches how to stat. This iStat is pretty simple and has nice reporting features and the ability to just e-mail the NCAA box score to my SID. It is also a nice feature being able to put your players pictures in for stat purposes.
2. SoloStats123 (http://www.rotate123.com) [Free]
I know what you are thinking. Why would you have two stat programs? The answer is simple. SoloStat was designed specifically as a stat program to be used by coaches, while actually coaching. We all know how hard taking stats can be, now try it while actually coaching the match. Sometimes your stat person is sick or you want to track something specific from the full game stats. SoloStat is a basic app that mostly stats termination points, and not all the other statistics (although you can set it up for fill match stats). You simply enter your lineup and then hit the action that causes the point to occur.
3. TapRecorder (http://ace4vb.com) [$29.00]
From the makers of Volleyball Ace comes this handy little app. You can create your own stats sheets for practice. You can track almost anything. For example, I have one saved that lets me track the speed of our serve (MPH) and the point value (1, 2, 3). This lets me work on getting faster/harder serve with high reward. There are a bunch of built in templates that you can use (hitting %, serving %, etc). You can save each practice/session and review them. It is fairly simple to set up and if youa re good with Excel, it will be real easy. It is visually boring, but who needs thrills to stat practice?
4. Dartfish Express (http://www.dartfish.tv/DartfishExpress.aspx) [Free]
I actually use a few video programs, so I will start with Dartfish. I use this mainly because I love their full Dartfish product line. The main downside to this app is that you do not have the ability to zoom. You are at a fixed distance and you must move when needed. The plus side is that you can upload to your DartfishTV account and share the video with your players or other coaches.
5. CoachMyVideo (http://www.coachmyvideo.mobi) [Free/$14.99]
This is the app I use most times in the gym. It is very robust for the price point (free). It lets you do side by side video comparison, draw on the screen, slow motion, and a few other key elements. There is a Pro version ($14.99) that adds a ton of extra (and great things) like video sharing, Youtube and Dropbox support, background saving, and a host of other features. I would say this is a must have for a coach.
6. Assistant Coach (http://www.assistantcoach.co) [$3.99]
This is a really nice app. It lets you plan your practices (block schedule the practice) and you can add/create your drills. You can then save the drills and add them to your “book”. You can simply add them to future practices by clicking on them. You can also manage your roster, schedule, and results. It syncs with your account online so you can share data, review it, and backup.
7. Click & Scout (http://www.dataproject.com/Volleyball/ClickAndScout.aspx) [Free/$54.99]
This is a Data Project app, so there is some meat behind the app development. It lets you stat with the same keys as DataVolley, so most college coaches are familiar with it. I use this mainly when I am scouting teams that we will play. It lets me track serve and hitting paths, along with all your basic stats. One of the coolest features is real-time analysis. For example, when a server comes us, it will show you the tendency of the server and where they like to place the ball. It will also show you setting trends at different points in the game. It takes a LOT of work to get used to it and using it to the potential, but worth it.
8. Volleyball Coaches Clipboard (http://www.coachbase.com/) [Free/$29.99/$99.99]
I only use the free version, and that gives you the ability to save three plays. I do not really need to save plays. I just use this when I am trying to visually show how a play works. It is the digital version of the whiteboard.
9. FlipScore (http://www.silvanite.com) [Free/$1.99]
I paid for the $1.99 Pro version. It just had a few cool little features. I got sick of not having a flip score in the gym when I needed it. This is just a simple little program.
10. GoPro Camera App (http://www.GoPro.com) [Free]
This is a MUST. I cannot say this again. Buy yourself a GoPro Hero 3+ camera and get this app. You can put your camera in the gym where you need it, then use Wi-Fi direct to the camera to connect via your phone or iPad and control the camera. I got sick of having to use horrible camera locations due to convenience vs having quality locations. Now, as soon as I walk in to a gym for a game, I set up the camera for the best view, and then I use my iPad to start the camera at the start of the game. No more running to hit record, or if you are like me…Totally forgetting about and not recording anything.
I hope this post will help out some coaches. All of us have our own preferences, so I am not trying to say this is the best list for everyone. All of these apps are made to collect data. It will be up to you as a coach on how to use and analyze the data. I will do a post in the future on all the “tools” I use during the season to help me with practice. I cannot stress enough though; YOU are the best device in the gym. You must continue to learn and improve your coaching skills. No amount of apps, technology, or toys will make your program a top-level program.
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