TRAQ Series: NAIA Program, Doane University
Jeremy Tecktiel spoke with Josh Oltmans and Elliott Engle, the Head Coach and Assistant Coach, respectively, at Doane University. The NAIA program from Crete, Nebraska, started implementing TRAQ in July and has seen great results already.
Prior to using TRAQ, the coaching staff at Doane, much like at many other schools, was using Google Sheets to organize their training and data. Each player had their own Google Sheet with an unmanageable number of tabs.
“One tab would be their daily throwing plan, one tab would be their lifting, we would transpose their CSVs from Rapsodo on a tab…each kid had like twenty tabs. It took hours a day to go through each athlete’s tabs,” Oltmans said.
They spent hours in front of a computer rather than with their athletes. The actual organizing and programming of the athletes shouldn’t have to be where coaches spend the bulk of their time.
Once they started using TRAQ, it quickly became clear how much time it would save them—and how much easier it would make their lives.
“The best thing was the fact that you could get data from outside sources. Rather than going to each kid’s Rapsodo reports, or their videos being on a different app, it is all centralized in one location,” said Engle.
“It was easier for me to make changes to workouts much quicker than Google Sheets was for me,” Oltmans added. “I was able to plug in exercises on an individual basis and at the same time say, ‘Well, I have, these middle infielders are similar in characteristics, so I can just mass program those guys together.’ I mean, that saved me hours of work right when we bought it.”
As for the players at Doane, it was not difficult at all to get them excited about using TRAQ.
“It was easy right away because it puts a sense of ownership on them,” Oltmans said. “They have everything on their phone at all times. We plan out their week in advance, every Monday we set up their week so it’s not a surprise every day what they get to work on or what they’re doing. If they have any questions on their practice plan we can always say, ‘It’s on TRAQ.’”
In addition to a sense of ownership, the players also get the sense of more individualized training, because they are able to have specific, tailored workouts with their name on it.
The importance TRAQ has helped the Doane staff place on the individual player doesn’t stop at individualized workouts. But not every athlete is best served by seeing their data. For some, it can be very overwhelming.
The coaches told me, “During individual meetings, if they are video guys we will spend a lot more time on the video than their metrics, or if they are feel guys we will spend more time on, ‘OK, these are the days I felt good,’ and go back and see how we set up the training that led to that so we can replicate it,” Oltmans said.
TRAQ’s ability to serve athletes that learn in different ways is key to making the most of each athlete’s development process.
It has also played a major role in Doane’s recruiting efforts this past year.
“I keep an iPad with us when we recruit so we can pull TRAQ up,” Engle said. “We might show someone, say a two-way guy, an example of a two-way guy or someone that has similar attributes, and we can show, ‘This is what we’ve done with a guy that we project you are similar with, and this is how we set up their fall and how we got them better.’ So, we can give them an idea of what their practice plan will look like and how we see them going about their business here.”
Being able to show a recruit and parents tangible evidence with a plan is extremely valuable.
As an NAIA school, they do not have as many rules around the recruitment process as NCAA schools, so they are able to do even more.
“We will have a lot of [commits] say, ‘I don’t have a strength and conditioning program at my school,’ or, ‘I’m not going to a facility to train, could you get me a workout plan?’ So, we can set them up on TRAQ once they [have] committed and get them going so that we have more info once they get here,” Engle said.
TRAQ has helped the staff at Doane University become more organized and efficient, and has already made an impact on both their athletes and recruits in a short amount of time. We are excited to see the new ways they will use TRAQ in the future!
Learn more about TRAQ here
By Jeremy Tecktiel
Photo courtesy of Doane University