Friday, July 6, 2012


Another app has been released that can assist coaches in planning their practices around inclement weather.  The app is for both the iOS and Android platforms and is called CoachSmart.  This app has some nice features to allow the user to immediately identify temperature, humidity, and heat index readings on the opening screen.
This screen will also temporarily enable alerts to be sent to your phone when lightning strikes are in the area.  I also highly recommend that you keep a temperature and humidity graph with you on your phone so that you can apply this data effectively when designing your practices. (black and white, colorized, colorized with additional information)

The lightning button brings up a screen that gives you information on when the last lightning strike has been in the vicinity.
There are a few issues with this page since the connectivity of this has had some issues and didn't record several severe storms with lightning around me in the last couple of days.  Likewise the map page that is supposed to show a graphical representation of the lightning didn't work as advertised either.  I assume this will be fixed shortly by the developers of the app.

Another issue that I had with this app is that it only looked for lightning within 24 miles.  I am not sure where this value came from, since most detectors are designed to look for it within 30 miles.  This is the minimum distance that was established by the NCAA.  This discrepancy makes this feature of the app useless at the collegiate level.  Hopefully, this will be addressed by the app developer as well.

There is also a nice countdown timer included in the app that is almost certainly designed to time the waiting period after a lightning strike since the default is set to 30 min.  However, that is not to say that is can only be used for that timing.  The timer can be adjusted to time other events that require a  countdown timer.

The app includes the ability for the user to construct an SMS (text) list to contact your entire team at once. The user can also build more than one team.  I have used it to build a "fall sports" and "spring sports" coaches list to contact all of my head and assistant coaches at once.  Obviously, you would need to have text messaging services on a phone to be able to use this feature.

Finally, the last screen contains information on how to respond in the event of an emergency.  It offers brief information on first aid protocols for various injuries and how to respond.

The app is a very strong start to being a great help to coaches, but it does have a couple of shortcomings.  Hopefully, the lightning detection portion, which appears to be some sort of connectivity issue, will be sorted out quickly and patched to work.  I will revisit this post if and when that occurs.

7/26/2012 Addendum:
The bug fixes were released earlier this week and our first thunderstorm came through this morning. I am happy to say that the lightning features are now working and are extremely helpful. I am somewhat hopeful that the heat index will climb to over 100° today so that I can see if the other reported issue was fixed as well. (There were multiple reports that the hundreds place was not showing when the heat index climbed to more than 100°.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Youth Football League Takes Educational Initiative

In this post, I need to give some love to my sons' youth football league.  This league, which is for kids from 7-12 years of age (2nd-6th grade) from 6 different communities in Northeast Ohio.  The Freeway Youth Football League, recognizing the issues of sports medicine in football, are taking some serious steps to educate themselves before it is a requirement by state law.  They have already scheduled a conference for the coaches in the entire league.  This includes approximately 50 teams with 5 coaches a piece.  Hopefully, this awareness will translate into an attentive group that is willing to learn.  Since the class is scheduled for later this month, I will update this post with how it goes.