Last Saturday as I pulled out my phone to help guide me to a location I was not quite sure of, my thoughts drifted back to my early days recruiting at the University of Central Missouri, and how much technology has impacted that job. I have written at length regarding how technology has changed various aspects of our profession… game planning, practice planning, video evaluation, etc. Many things we take for granted today that make our lives (and jobs) easier were not available in 1987 when our staff hit the recruiting trail.
OK, I have become that guy… “back in my day we had to walk to school every day, uphill both ways in a blizzard”… I have become that coach… “back in my day we didn’t have no stinkn’ Google Maps”.
Here are a few of the changes:
Cell phones? We didn’t have them… In order to contact a coach (or a prospect) while on the road you became an expert at where the payphones were located… and not just any old payphones, but the kind you could drive up to and call from you car. It was frustrating… you could not retry the number every 5 minutes from your Bluetooth enabled smartphone while driving. You had to pull off the road, find a phone, look up the number on a printed contact sheet and hope that they were available.
Google Maps? Nope…. there was no pleasant voice giving us turn-by-turn directions as we drove. We usually had either a Mapco street guide (a huge book with about 100 different maps of about 3-4 city block on each page), or a giant folding map of the city. Both were cumbersome and impossible to use while driving. You had to figure out your best routes the night before and hope that the map was not dated too badly.
Hudl recruiting packages? Nada… Remember VHS tapes? We tried to get 2-3 game tapes for each athlete that we wanted to evaluate. Multiply that by 4-5 schools a day, and 3-4 days per week, and we came home each recruiting trip with easily 40-50 videotapes. With 6 or more of us on the road, the process of copying the tapes was a never-ending job for the people back in the office.
The NCAA Clearinghouse? HA… It wasn’t in place in the 80’s. At that time, each school certified their own athletes regarding eligibility… meaning, that for each prospect we were recruiting we had to obtain (from the counselor) a transcript for each student, and a list of core courses for that school. We then had to calculate each student’s Core GPA to determine their eligibility.
And there is much more… text messaging, email blasts, Facebook, twitter feeds… on and on. But my wife reminded me of an accompanying truth – Being teachers and coaches, as each new technological breakthrough brings us a few extra minutes or hours, we just invest that time in another aspect of our job… it is what we do… we will not ever have “spare” time. I am not complaining… I am chuckling!
You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org