Wyatt Shackleford is the first-year head coach at Mira Mesa High School. Before he started, he said the program really wasn’t measuring things. “Realistically, it was pretty much just by the eye. There wasn’t a whole lot of measurement going on because there were no systems to actually measure things,” Coach Shackleford said.
It was an easy decision for Coach Shackleford to use TRAQ. “I’ve been surrounded by the data-centric revolution. In my playing days, I got to see the benefits of that. So for me, that’s a no-brainer. We need to implement this so that we can measure each athlete’s success and track performance over time.”
Coach Shackleford guessed that he probably saved 100 hours last month by using TRAQ. “It’s a little bit more work on the front end, on the scheduling side. But we’re talking maybe 10-15 hours on the front end vs. more than 100 hours on the back end.”
He isn’t exaggerating. “If I have to manage at minimum 40 athletes, the question becomes: ‘How do I keep track of everyone’s data on a day to day basis?’ It’s great that we measure things, but if I’m trying to track it all in an Excel spreadsheet or using Google Sheets, that’s gonna eat up hours and hours and hours of my day. I’m probably spending 2 hours after practice at minimum just typing that stuff in.”
This is a problem that most coaches can definitely relate to, but using TRAQ has changed that. “Now that I’m using TRAQ, data is already being inputted. I don’t have to manually go in and do it, and we are able to track things over time in a manner that is more efficient.” For coaches, there is so much to do that anything that makes the job easier and saves time is worth its weight in gold.
As all high school coaches understand, time is an extremely valuable and limited resource. Another way time comes into play is actual practice time. Coach Shackleford shared how TRAQ has allowed him to practice more efficiently. “Time is always a constraint here at the high school level, and if athletes don’t know where they are supposed to be and when they are supposed to be there and what they are supposed to be doing, it can certainly make things a lot more constrained where we aren’t able to get through everything we need to work on.” The amount of time wasted each day explaining to athletes what they are supposed to be doing adds up quickly and TRAQ can give that time back to the coaches by eliminating the need for athletes to even ask those questions.
What coach hasn’t struggled to get through all of the needed work in practices? Being more efficient during practices has had a direct effect on the team. “It increases not only the efficiency of practice but how much benefit we are getting out of things. I could post something on a practice plan [but] just because it’s on a practice plan doesn’t mean it gets done. I could tell them exactly what to do but then when they get out to practice, now that’s a lot of information to retain, especially when you’re not designing the process. With TRAQ, athletes know what they are supposed to be doing in real time. I think it is a tremendous tool, helping them know what they are supposed to be doing. It makes it so that the coaches don’t have to constantly sit there and say ‘Oh, you’re supposed to do this.’”
Saving all of that time and being more efficient wouldn’t be possible without heavy TRAQ usage from his athletes. Coach Shackleford and his staff have created a great culture and placed a large emphasis on TRAQ by explaining to the players why it is important and how it will benefit them. “The athletes are getting really excited now that we have data going into the application. Obviously from their perspective when we first started with TRAQ we were just trying to get them to do something. Now that there is data in there, they are starting to see the correlation between tracking this data and how it can improve performance on the field. They can see how much they improved over time and that’s really important for these guys.”
Coach Shackleford is looking forward to seeing all of the ways TRAQ will help in the future. “I think the overall functionality is fantastic. I’m a pitching guy so for me the pitching stuff is easier to understand, the hitting stuff is a foreign language to me. Being able to immediately have an idea of ‘Hey, this drill can have an impact on a specific issue’—that’s tremendous.”
It is not a secret that coaching is a time-consuming role, but how coaches spend their time is crucial. By using TRAQ, Coach Shackleford has been able to spend more time working on actually improving his players as opposed to sitting behind a computer. What coach wouldn’t sign up for that?
Learn more about TRAQ here
By Wyatt Shackleford and Jeremy Tecktiel