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Product Review: USA Hockey Mobile Coach App

 

robbert_mcdonald

USA Hockey recently re-launched its Mobile Coach app, which is available for iOS and Android and can be downloaded through USAHockey.com/MobileCoach.

Robbert McDonald, head coach of the Los Angeles Jr. Kings’ Bantam AA1 team and an assistant on the club’s 18U AAA and 16U AAA squads, offered his thoughts on the re-engineered app.

I familiarized myself with the USA Hockey Mobile Coach app when it was originally launched and, while I’m sure it’ll evolve over time, I’m generally impressed with the latest version, including its added features and fresh navigation.

It’s a user-friendly device that can prove beneficial to any coach looking for innovative ideas to change up their practice plan, regardless of age or level. What’s more, as USA Hockey continues to push the American Development Model (ADM), the app helps relay information to coaches wanting to incorporate more ADM-style practices into their team’s routine.

The app features six options on its interface: practices, skills, videos, manuals, whiteboard and tracker.

Inside the practice option, there are various plans – all of which highlight drills laid out through flexxCOACH diagrams – to choose from. In addition, there are features allowing you to e-mail the plans to yourself and your assistant coaches, which is valuable in terms of keeping everyone on the same page.

There’s also the option to browse the practice menu through categories incorporating a number of age groups. Inside each tab are various practice plans at a coach’s disposal.

The skills option offers a number of recommended drills relating to dryland, goaltending and on-ice development. All are showcased with a brief description and a graphic visual, which is especially helpful.

The video component covers four areas: dryland, goalies, on-ice and tips. Under each are various options leading you to a library of videos.

For example, under dryland there are tabs for conditioning and goaltending drills, hockey skills, plyometric speed and agility and strength training, with all of those tabs leading you to libraries of videos that cover that particular topic.

The manual option leads you to all the coaching education materials we receive through USA Hockey, including the rulebook, practice plan manuals, CEP Levels 1-3, the coaching ethics code and other related topics a coach can familiarize themselves with on short notice.

It’s great for any coach who wants to look up a rule, or refresh themselves on one of the subjects covered during a coaching seminar, for example.

The two drills currently in the whiteboard library are both displayed in 2-D motion, and once more are added, I think the feature will prove to have a lot of value.

One element that’s useful when using a tablet is the ability to bring up a rink image to draw on so you can create your own drills, which can then be shared on phones.

The last option on the app’s interface is the tracker. Here, you can gauge your players’ performance by creating tabs for particular categories, and then log stats for things like total ice time, number of passes made, passes received and shots taken, for example.

Once all the numbers are calculated and inputted, the app charts the results for each player on a graph. Obviously, this isn’t something a head coach can do midgame or at practice, but it could serve handy having an assistant coach or team manager track these numbers.

USA Hockey is doing some great things to assist our coaches, both on and off the ice, and the Mobile Coach app is another glowing example.

Like anything else new to the market, it’ll take some time to progress, but in my opinion it already holds a lot of value as it relates to practice plans, drill and conditioning tips, education and the ability to share ideas and information.

What’s more, it’s easy to operate and navigate, so even the less “tech-savvy” coaches in your club shouldn’t be intimidated or frustrated by its growing presence or usefulness.

Photo/Scott Eckstein