NYSCA members to benefit from innovative ShapeStuff™ technology


Players can access ShapeStuff on mobile devices or on their home computer.Many years ago coaching youth sports consisted primarily of filling out a roster, rooting from the sidelines and then taking the team out for ice cream. As anyone who has coached a youth sports team in the last decade will attest, the role of a coach has grown well beyond that. Today’s youth sports leagues serve as an extension of a child’s developmental education, and as with all other areas of education technology is playing an ever increasing role.

Many youth sports coaches around the country are relying on various technological tools to not only prepare them for their role as a sports educator, but also as a means of teaching and communicating with the young athletes in their care. As online educational opportunities become more dynamic and as mobile communication continues to evolve, the way in which adults and children experience youth sports is evolving as we speak. Ready or not, today’s “mobile-web generation” is making an indelible stamp on today’s youth sports culture.

Leading the charge in this technological evolution in youth athletics is the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS). NAYS’ volunteer coaches training program – the National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA) – has long been the world leader in youth sports education and certification with more than 2.5 million coaches trained throughout 3,500 communities worldwide.

In an effort to equip youth sports coaches with the latest and most effective educational tools available, NYSCA continually strives to offer the very latest that the technological world has to offer.

Along with access to NYSCA’s easy-to-use online clinics, coach rating system and online forum, NYSCA coaches now have access to ShapeStuff™ mobile-web technologies as an additional membership benefit.

“We are constantly striving to offer our coaches technological benefits that have the ability to enhance their coaching experience and help them make stronger connections with their players,” said John Engh, chief operating officer of NAYS. “With NYSCA Online, the NYSCA Coach Rating System, the NYSCA Online Forum, and most recently
ShapeStuff mobile-web technologies, we are helping to redefine how organized youth sports are conducted in this new and exciting technological era.”

ShapeStuff is an easy-to-use tool that enables youth sports coaches to create skill-building exercises for their players to use between practices. Coaches quickly create short, customized skill-building programs on their PCs.
Programs can contain any combination of video clips and interactive exercises supplied by NYSCA, as well as anything on their own computer – even personalized audio or video messages. A push of a button then sends the skill-building exercise to players’ personal computer and even cellular phone.         

“Most youth coaches get involved in coaching because they want to shape boys and girls into productive and contributing young men and women,” said Dr. Joy Hughes, founding partner in Mason Mobile Media and vice president for Information Technology at George Mason University. “Often, though, time pressures and the need to deal with the group rather than the individual limit the influence of the coach. ShapeStuff gives coaches the opportunity to influence each team member each day. I see team members becoming much more engaged in the team as the positive influence of the coach permeates their lives.”

All NYSCA coaches are now able to review skills or strategies with their players, update parents with news and information, send fun skill-building games and much more with just a few clicks of a mouse. Team members and parents also have access to a special personalized team Web space – enabling easier interaction when away from the field, court or rink. Coaches can also use the service as a valuable networking tool, which can easily communicate important messages, announcements and reminders to players and parents.

“Most coaches know that attitude, focus, flexibility and reaction time are as important to a player’s success as the sport-specific routines,” Hughes said. “The Mobile Interactive Practices (MIPs) help to develop skills in all these areas, whenever and wherever the player chooses. Thus, coaching becomes 24/7 and integrated with the player’s life.”

This all new member benefit should be a perfect fit for many of NYSCA’s members who are already making great use of the online coaching tools offered.

“The ability to use the online clinics to view content straight on the Web is so valuable,” said Tommy Dooley, superintendent of athletics for Paulding County Parks and Recreation Department (Ga.). “As an administrator we get so caught up in the day to day operations that it’s hard for us to find such content to help our coaches.”

NYSCA assists Dooley greatly in this task, as about 75 percent of his coaches utilize NYSCA Online’s various practice tips and educational resources.

The NYSCA Coach Rating System allows league administrators who are affiliated with NAYS to provide a digital link for parents to evaluate coaches anonymously. The link can either be placed within an email or posted directly on a league or organization’s Web site. The questions hit all the key coaching areas, such as safety, sportsmanship and how well they teach skills, among others. Coaches can log on and see how parents rated them. While the parents’ answers are confidential, coaches can see their average scores in each category.

The NYSCA Coaching Forum provides a platform for NYSCA coaches all around the world to communicate. Whether it’s a question on how to deal with an overzealous youth sports parent or a suggestion for how to help a youngster with a certain skill, the NYSCA Coaching Forum is a technological breeding ground for healthy youth sports debate on a variety of issues.

Active since 2005, NYSCA Online offers certification in 11 different sports. Both the NYSCA Coach Rating System and its Coaching Forum were officially launched at the beginning of the year. All of these applications allow for adults to remain engaged and involved in their coaching role even when away from the field, rink or court.

Consequently, the addition of ShapeStuff’s Mobile Interactive Practice Programs was a natural move.

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