(In the last 365 days athletes using Just Play have spent more than 604,000 minutes preparing. That’s 420 days preparing that you wouldn’t have had without using technology to help you coach.)

Dear Coach,

Growing up as an athlete, you’re told countless times to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. You’re told that if you aren’t willing to put in the extra reps, take extra shots, or go beyond yourself; well…you’re probably “not cut out for this game.”

It makes complete sense.  As a coach, your job security, family and happiness rides on your ability to convince 18 to 22-year-olds to be fully committed, not do anything stupid and reach heights they never believed possible.

In my previous experience as a collegiate football player, and now as a Co-Founder of Just Play Sports Solutions, I have spoken to many coaches at every level, high school to professional, in several different sports and I’ve heard just about every reason why a coach wouldn’t be interested in our product. Most commonly their reasoning is “we are comfortable.”

However – I’ve also heard the single most common problem that coaches face today is engaging the millennial athlete. Every coach I’ve had the chance to talk to, regardless of sport or level, is concerned with this same problem: Player Engagement.

Everyone is trying to find ways to get their athletes to stay focused and retain more information. Some coaches have even gone to the length of simplifying their entire scheme, due to players not being able to retain it.

Here is my challenge to you: Rather than changing what you teach your athletes, try changing how you teach your athletes. Meet them in their realm, on their devices, and make their phones a tool for you instead of a weapon against you.

So let’s bridge the technology gap and give your athletes the opportunity to engage. Michelle Klein, Facebook’s Head of Marketing North America, says Millennials check their phone more than 157 times each day

When they’re bored with Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, let them turn to you. Ever see a kid handle an awkward situation? The first place they go is their phone. Empower yourself to leverage those small opportunities to engage with your athletes.

If you find yourself frustrated now… just think about three short years from now. The landscape will be remarkably different, and athletes will come to you more and more dependent on technology, and coaches who do not meet them on their terms will grow more and more frustrated.

Something will have to change in this situation, and my advice is to make that change in yourself and how you coach and teach your athletes. Just as athletes have had to embrace the idea of becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, so must coaches. You might even surprise yourself with how easy changing can really be.


Austin Barone
Former Athlete