As a coach, it is exciting seeing possibilities new technologies are bringing to the profession. In the past I have reviewed a few iPhone apps that have performed a task, but were definitely limited in their abilities. After the iPad was announced, there was even a discussion about using the iPad to coach basketball on my favorite basketball forum Texas Basketball Coaches or TBC. Even non-tech savvy coaches instantly saw the possibilities of the new device.
SportBoard for the iPad allows coaches to use the device to draw basketball plays just like you would on a dry erase clipboard. Draw the sideline out of bounds play live during a timeout for the game winning shot, or save a series of plays to recall for players anytime during the game or halftime. No more ugly drawings that wipe off as your hand drags through it, but vivid clean professional looking drawings in an instant.
Moving the X’s and O’s is as simple as a finger drag. Set up the offense and defense quickly and easily. The O’s are customizable with names or numbers. For offense, add your own players information and when showing defense, customize for matchups and to signify big men or shooters. I love the customization options. You can even change the colors to match uniforms for both teams. In districts like ours in Texas where each team plays twice, you could save items from a game for the second game already named and labeled. This is a great tool during a game or scouting report.
Another great aspect of the app is drawing the plays. Drag your finger where you want a line and it appears solid with an arrow. These lines usually signify a player running or cutting. Multiple direction cuts are available to signify V-Cuts or angled cuts. To draw a dotted line which signifies a pass or shot tap the pad twice and swipe the line. To erase any line, double tap and delete. The interface is quite intuitive. In later versions I would like to see options for dribble lines (zig zag) and screens (solid line with cross line at end). The developer’s site does say an update is close which will add a few other features including a ball icon.
The iPad is truly a beautiful, empty canvas for drawing basketball plays. The UI and ease of use makes SportBoard a great choice for use while coaching my team. There are a few minor limitations, but the app is the most finished and customizable of all of the basketball offerings I have tried. Go get the app here in the app store for a well worth it $3.99. I can see this style of app actually evolving into complete playbook solutions.
What I like: The app is beautiful and easy to use. I love the customization options.
What could be improved: The addition of a ball, dribble and screen lines.