Why Soccer Dad
Teaching kids to play soccer is one of the most rewarding experiences going. To see them improve as the season goes on, score goals, pass the ball, and defend is fantastic.
However, the job of the soccer coach comes with other challenges:
- Managing rotations and playing time to give equal opportunities to all kids.
- Communicating with parents about team information or when games or practices need to be rescheduled.
- Organizing volunteers for games e.g. snacks for the team.
The Soccer Dad app was specifically designed to make these challenges easier to deal with, so that you can spend more time (and have more fun) coaching!
One of the first things you will want to do is set up your team. This is done on the Teams tab - use the "+" button to add a new team.
- Give the team a name (Tip: the kids I coach always like to pick a good name)
- Select a color for the team (this helps identify this team throughout the Soccer Dad app)
- Create or select a season for your new team (Soccer Dad organizes the teams list by season making teams easy to find)
- Start adding players to your team. (Tip: you can take a photo for each player using the iPhone camera - this makes remembering names much easier)
- Each player can have multiple contacts. Soccer Dad integrates with the built-in iPhone address book to store this contact information including phone numbers and email addresses (Tip: try to get email addresses for all your parents - this makes communication a lot easier)
Next comes setting up the Schedule of practices and games. Use the schedule tab for this again using the "+" button to add a new event.
- First create the calendar event. Soccer Dad integrates with the built-in Calendar application on the iPhone and uses this to store the event description, location, date and time and any reminders.
- Select which team this event is for.
- Choose the type of event. Currently Soccer Dad supports Practice and Game event types.
- You have the option of adding Volunteers to the game. This can be used for things like noting the parent who is going the bring the team snack on game day - again volunteers are just contacts from your address book.
- Both practices and games can have practice drills associated with them. In the league that I have coached in there is always a 15 minute practice session before each game that can be a useful refresher.
For games there is additional information that you provide:
- The name of the opposing team and their color.
- Select the game format - this is the total number of players on the field at one time including the goal keeper (e.g. 6v6)
- You can also specify the formation that you will be using in the standard way from defense to forwards not including the goal keeper (e.g. if the game format is 8v8 your formation might be 3-2-2 meaning 3 defenders, 2 midfielders and 2 forwards).
- Select the total playing time for the game.
- Select the length of half time.
- Select the number of rotations in the game. When you select a number of rotations, Soccer Dad will manage the selection of players to ensure that each player receives equal playing time across all positions.
Note that Soccer Dad remembers default game settings for each team, so that you only need to enter these values once, but can override for a specific game if you need to.
On game day is where Soccer Dad really shines. Select the Play tab to open the game dashboard.
- Use the game details to review or edit the information about the game.
- The Head Count button allows you to specify the players who are at the game. Soccer Dad will use this information when planning the rotations.
- Rotation is where you can take a look how Soccer Dad has configured the selection of players for the initial rotations. This selection is based on players that have the least playing time in particular positions (Note: Soccer Dad keeps track of which games players attended, so that a player that has missed a number of games does not get preferential treatment). The rotation can be manually adjusted just by touching a player icon and selecting someone else.
- Select the Notify button in order to communicate with player contacts or volunteers. This could be just a reminder or because of a change to the game itself. You can create a mass email or use the contact information to make individual calls.
- The Start button is used at game time to replace the stopwatch and much more.
Components of the Game screen:
- At the very top of the screen is the navigation bar. This shows the game description and has button to allow you to exit the screen (you can exit the screen at any time and the play clock will continue to run even if the application is closed) or flip the screen to see a stats summary.
- Below the navigation bar is the time management area. This shows the current rotation along with the time elapsed and time to go. By default Soccer Dad is configured to remind you 30 seconds before the end of the rotation - this will happen even if you have closed the Soccer Dad app.
- The main content area show a representation of the field with the players in the current rotation shown in their respective positions. Swiping the screen to the left will display the players due up in the next rotation. Touching the icon for a player allows you to log a action that player has taken (e.g. scored a goal), substitute another player or switch positions. Soccer Dad tracks all of these actions.
- At the bottom of the screen is a toolbar - use the button with the opposing team name to log their stats. The play/pause button in the center starts and pauses the game clock - time when the clock is paused is added to stoppage time. The next track button moves to the next rotation and the field display will be updated. The close button is used to finish the game - the final score will be displayed based on the goals that have been logged.
After the game you can review the statistics that Soccer Dad has gathered. There are two reports available for each team - one that shows the team results (with wins, losses and draws) and individual player statistics; the second shows playing times for each player at each position. Reports can be shared via email with all player contacts with a single click.
Icons used in Soccer Dad were derived from those created by Joseph Wain and shared under a Creative Commons Attribution license.