One aspect of coaching at the high school level often overlooked is the administrative challenge that comes with managing a team. Sure, the X’s and O’s are what win games, but doing the little things like maintaining a roster, communicating with players and parents, and sharing information about your program with the community are a big deal.
In his 16th season as the head football coach at Van Meter High School in central Iowa, Eric Trudo leaned on the Varsity Bound app to help him bring order to the “management” side of his job. From tasks like ensuring players were safe for practices and games during the COVID era to boosting his communications with players and parents, Trudo says using Varsity Bound made his job much, much easier.
“We can look at something as simple as maintaining rosters for our different levels at Van Meter,” Trudo says. “In the past, we were maintaining multiple spreadsheets for our freshmen, sophomores, junior varsity and varsity teams. To make a change of a player from one level to another, which often happens for us, was a hassle. By loading everything into Varsity Bound, it is now a quick switch for us.”
That is a small example of the benefits Trudo and his team at Van Meter have experienced in leveraging Varsity Bound tools during the 2020 season. Trudo says the help in lifting the administrative weight gave him more time to focus on those X’s and O’s.
“It was a little bit more time on the frontend getting Varsity Bound set up for us, but in the long run it saved us time,” Trudo says. It was especially helpful to have the Notify and COVID Screening Tool during a season like no other.
Keeping COVID Top-of-Mind
Van Meter’s football team used the COVID Screening Tool extensively. In addition to providing near real-time data to Trudo and the coaching staff, it offered another benefit.
“I told the kids all season that no matter what mitigation efforts we put in place, it could happen, someone could still get sick,” Trudo says. “Our hope throughout in using the screening was that it would keep it top-of-mind for players. That they would have a daily reminder that they needed to take this seriously.”
For coaches, it enabled them to add an extra layer of protection for every member of the team.
“We were able to be right on top of it right from the start,” Trudo says. “We could look to see if they had multiple symptoms or maybe just one low-risk symptom and we could act on that information. It helped us to make decisions on who was safe to be there and who should probably take a day or two off.”
And the system worked for Van Meter, as the Bulldogs reached the Class 1A state championship game, where they dropped a hard-fought battle to OABCIG.
Expanding Use in the Future
In looking forward to the 2021 season, Trudo says he and his coaching staff will continue to expand their use of Varsity Bound in helping them manage their “other duties as assigned” … and more.
“We’re still learning more about what we can do and how we can use it,” Trudo says. “I’m not sure everyone appreciates how much administrative work there is in coaching, but this tool really helps.”
Among the features Trudo is most excited about using more, is the ability to share scores and information about the team throughout the season. As more and more community members begin to use the app, he sees an opportunity to shine a brighter light on the great things his athletes are doing.
“It links directly with QuikStats Iowa so it has never been easier for parents, players and the community to see how we are doing as a team and how our individuals are performing,” Trudo says. “It also makes it easy for us to have someone share live scores during games, so no matter where you are, you know how we are doing.”
“We are sharing stuff on social media now, but this improves on that,” he continues. “As a smaller school district, this is a big deal for those in our community. They care about how we are doing and this makes it easy to share.”
Stats and More… at Your Fingertips
The team that developed the innovative QuikStats Iowa platform is behind Varsity Bound, which made pulling varsity level stats from virtually every sport in Iowa into the app seamless. From bowling and volleyball to wrestling, track and more, individual and team stats for Iowa high school athletes are available at the fingertips of Varsity Bound users.
The entry of stats for varsity level sports is mandated for all schools by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and the Iowa High School Athletic Association. After the stats are loaded, they are made available for free to anyone, anywhere.
Originally, the stats were only available on a website. When Varsity Bound was launched in 2018, it made the information accessible via app for the first time. Currently the stats function is only available for Iowa high schools, although the technology can be configured to accommodate any state association.