As a baseball coach for a number of years and a lover of all sports, I am always infatuated by the progression sports and athletics seem to make. Revolutionary technological advancements like the NFL implementing the yellow First Down line, or the MLB using technology to track how fast an outfielder is running to a ball lets me love the game in a more in-depth way. One thing that is rarely touched upon however is the scouting and evaluation process. Most of the time, teams, coaches, scouts and evaluators all have their methods on how to evaluate certain players. Anyone suggesting something different could potentially be ostracized for asinine thinking.
We’ve seen it in the Brad Pitt film Moneyball. Brad Pitt’s character, alongside his assistant, created an algorithm in which the Oakland Athletics could buy runs and essentially buy wins for a fraction of the cost. Scouts hated the new method and said it wouldn’t work. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but let’s just put it this way: There wouldn’t be a movie if the method had failed.
So, why am I writing here today? I didn’t create a method that can change the way a game is played. I am writing because as a coach and evaluator, I am sick of writing on a clipboard or note pad hundreds of times just to type it into a spreadsheet on my computer. The repetitive and mundane task makes me hate the start of the baseball season. I am a Little League coach, so the start of the baseball season is dedicated to making teams balanced and consistent before getting into more competitive games.
Instead of ranting on about how my hands were tired and my pen ran out of ink, I decided to do some research. I started to think there had to be an iPad app or computer website I could use on the go to make my life easier. I found some pretty advanced apps for my iPad that looked solid, but I wasn’t ready to pay $100 to test something out. So, my search continued. I continued to see apps that gave me what I wanted, but the price was too steep to gamble on. Then I found an app developed in Saskatoon that would cost me $15 a year. Yes, a year. The price point was right, the videos and testimonials hooked me, and the name ‘Skill Shark’ wasn’t too shabby either.
For $15 I would take this risk time and time again. I began watching videos and playing around with Skill Shark, and it was amazing. I don’t endorse products that I won’t use myself, and after a small test run of 8 players, I am ready to bring it to my League for a whole evaluation makeover.
Skill Shark literally has everything. There are only three steps to the process and it makes everything so easy. Step 1 involved me inputting required fields like our team name, logo etc. This was done on their website (skillshark.net) and it would appear on your Skill Shark app. After the easy set up process, step 2 had me insert all of the kids’ names I would be evaluating, and the drills/categories I wanted to rank them on. For this trial version, I used hitting, pitching, fielding and throwing. There are many more options available for evaluating but I was trying to keep everything short and sweet. You also have the option to input anything else you would like to evaluate. The final step, 3 of 3, was my favourite. After saving and submitting everything, I logged into skillshark.net and was able to see where the kids ranked together as an average, I could specify a certain area like hitting for a weighted grade, and the app could even create teams for me. If I had say 60 kids all involved in this for one division, I would be able to create teams for our Spring Season at the click of a button. Not too shabby. I also had the option to move kids around on different teams if necessary.
I didn’t want to go too deep into Skill Shark, but I can safely say I will be using this again for years to come. The best part of all, is that Skill Shark can be used for any sport imaginable. I found out that Skill Shark is used in the U.S.A, Canada and even overseas. It seems like the possibilities are endless and I highly recommend Skill Shark.
Visit Skillshark to make your evaluations easy
Ottawa West Little League