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Prep Football Coaches Embracing iPads | News

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Prep Football Coaches Embracing iPads

From wooden tennis rackets to the lighter graphite ones that athletes use now, over time, sports have improved with technology.

Coaches used to meet each other on the road and exchange game tape.  Now, all of that is done online.

This year, there is another upgrade making coaching a little easier on the sidelines of all Georgia High School Association football games.

It's a little square that you might have sitting beside you in the living room right now.

Besides a stirring pre-game speech, and even peer pressure on the sidelines, coaches now have a new weapon - the iPad.

Across Central Georgia, we've seen coaches using the small computer to show kids what's going on after a play.

We spoke with the Executive Director of the GHSA Ralph Swearingen on the phone and he says they've debated this issue for a couple of years. They were worried about schools that have money versus schools that may not have it in their budget to have three iPads for the football team. But he said when it all came down to it, more and more schools are issuing iPads to students, so they went ahead with the plan.

Roger Holmes' Fighting Irish are riding a six-game winning streak, and he says he was excited when the GHSA came down with the ruling this season to allow electronics on the field.

"For us, there are times when you see on film and scouting reports and you anticipate what you're going to see on Friday night and a wing-t offense, and all of a sudden, people are doing things a lot different on game day," Holmes explained.

Every football Friday, Dublin has electronic eyes in three positions: one on top of the locker room, one in the press box, and one on the field.

"All of those are linked to the iPad on the field, so it goes into a dropbox so I can look at the sideview and the endzone copy and say, 'This is exactly what we thought we were going to get,' or, 'Hey, they're doing something different,'" Holmes said.


Westside Seminoles Head Coach Shedrick Risper is embracing the technology, too, and he says kids get it when you show them live video or relevant pictures from a play that just happened.

"The kids have to keep us up with technology, so this is something they can relate to easily," Risper said with a smile. "A lot of kids these days are visual creatures. You don't have to wait 'til a team is up 21-0 on you before you know what's going on. You can nip it in the bud early."

No matter what coaches have on hand, ultimately, it's all about wins and losses, and the guys we chatted with say iPads are just another tool.

"We didn't want the technology to interfere with our normal Friday night duties," Holmes said. "I don't look at it when things are going fast, and I don't look at it when we're on offense."

But coaches who do look at it say the fans could ultimately benefit.

"I think it can make the game better because the kids are better exposed to what they're seeing," Holmes said. "But the reality is everyone has it, so the question is, 'How hard are you willing to work with the technology?,' and you have to make it advantageous for you."

The GHSA does have some guidelines for the iPads.

Coaches can't take the devices on the field during huddles or between quarters.

It can only be used on the sidelines.









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