The Coach with the Tablet Edge

Ken Kaplan Executive Editor, iQ by Intel

How does a Hall of Fame coach with 8 National Championships improve his game even more?  By taking advantage of the latest in tablet technology to review games, crunch stats, draw up plays, mentor players and do in-depth analysis on the fly all with one simple device.

Ron Crawford has been coaching for over 40 years, having been inducted into the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Volunteer Hall of Fame for his years of service and commitment to the game of basketball and his young players.

Crawford coaches the Arkansas Wings, an Elite Travel Team in the AAU. While wowing fans and winning titles, he is also helping pave the way for players to get basketball scholarships and further their education.

Crawford is a devotee of tech. Hearing him talk about how it’s changed the game can be inspiring.

“The NBA and the NCAA have all transformed,” he said. “High school coaches are beginning more and more to use the tablet as a tool to reduce their amount of time [it takes to manage everything]. When you’re grading [game play] film and you can do it on the tablet, you can do it riding with your wife. You can do it anywhere you’ve got to be. It goes with you. I can’t even imagine how we did it before.“

He points to the tablet specifically as helping to improve his team.

“The last six years, since we started using tablet technology, we have won five national titles, had two McDonald’s All Americans and I don’t know how many Final Fours and other medals,” he says proudly.

The tablet has become essential. The space-saving alone is a lifesaver. And though he has many, he mentioned that he is a fan of the Asus MemoPad.

When asked to contemplate coaching without a tablet, he was emphatic.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “I have boxes and boxes of now what I would call ‘memorabilia’ — VHS tapes, DVDs, notebook after notebook — just a ton of information that I now carry in this [tablet] wherever I go.”

One of the biggest changes for Crawford is being able to see in real time what’s happening in the game.

“When you have the up-to-the-minute statistics that tell you exactly who’s shooting well, who’s not shooting, who’s got the most points and most rebounds. You look on the tablet during the game — not waiting until after the game or half-time — you are shocked at what you thought was going on when you see factually what’s going on.”

Crawford said that because of the tablet he’s able to have much better practice sessions, which has a waterfall effect on everything.

“It’s so much more valuable to the parent, player and coaches. Everyone involved suddenly becomes a community, and they’re connected. And the fact that we can do a better job of coaching — it just makes that whole experience invaluable.”

Crawford uses the tablet with working his players as a team and individually, showing them what they’re doing right and wrong, and how to get things fixed.

“These kids listen to the tablet,” he said. “They won’t [always] listen to me.”

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