Review: Basketball Coach’s Clipboard For iPhone/Touch/iPad

The clipboard is a tool of the trade for basketball coaches that has been used for decades.  I never coach a game without my trusty board sitting under my chair.  The basketball clipboard is simple.  A white dry erase clipboard with a basketball court diagram and a dry erase marker.  The come in many sizes and configurations but all have the same function.  Not high-tech by any means, but extremely useful.  In fact, the only change in this technology is the switch from chalk boards to dry erase.  Watch any game and you will see the boards come out at the end of a quarter or crucial timeout.  Many a game has been won or lost on the clipboard.

A recent discussion on my favorite basketball coach’s forum, TBC (Texas Basketball Coaches), was about the iPad and if it could be a coaching tool on the bench.  I am still a few months away from getting an iPad so I began to search for some tools on the iPhone.  Believe it or not, there were several options available so I contacted a few developers.  J Plus Corporation Ltd., was nice enough to send me a copy of their app Basketball Coach’s Clipboard.

The idea for the app is as simple as the real world version but also just as useful.  Players are represented by blue and red buttons which are moveable anywhere on the screen.  Each of the player buttons have a position marking.  This is nice, but I would like to see the players be customizable to use number positions, jersey numbers or even just blank.  I like to use jersey numbers when I’m drawing up a last second play or trying to stop a play my opponent keeps burning us on.

The court has an attractive wooden court appearance and can be used in either full court or half court configurations.  Make sure when switching to half court you place all of the players on the top half of the court as they will be in the same position upon switching.

To move the players, simply drag them with a finger then use a finger to draw lines.  Drawing may take a small amount of practice since the screen is rather small and your finger will be blocking some of the view.  It is similar to the first time the iPhone keyboard.  Not a problem with development, but just an iPhone quirk.  Drawing will appear as a light gray line.  Similar to a light pencil mark.  I would like to see a darker line or options for line colors.  To erase the line click “clean” and the entire drawing will clear.  Just remember if you make a mistake, you will have to draw the entire play again.

I really like the option to save and load drawings.  Heading into a game, the opposing defenses or press could be saved with your sets for quick drawing when time is limited.  Base line or side line out of bounds plays can also be saved to be chosen for a last second shot off of a timeout.

Basketball Coach’s Clipboard is a great tool for coaches as an assistant to a real clipboard.  The developers have plans for some exciting new features for both the iPhone and iPad in the near future.  The size of the iPhone screen may keep some coaches from using the app in game situations, but can be used as a tool for coaches in other settings.  I have found it to be useful when discussing hoops with other coaches.  The information being shared is better on the iPhone than drawing on a napkin or scratch paper.  If you coach any level of basketball, check out this app for $.99 here in the app store. Integrate some technology with your basketball team!

What I like: Attractive graphics and intuitive UI.  Simplicity of the clipboard on my phone.

What could use improvement: Customization of player labels.  Darker drawing lines.  Ability to erase selected lines rather than entire screen.

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