But after a year as men’s lacrosse coach at Christopher Newport University, Boward realized he had become more of a data entry clerk than a lacrosse coach. Every time Boward returned to Newport News, Va. from a recruiting tournament, he would set aside a full day to transfer player evaluation data from his notepad to an excel spread sheet.
“The numbers of high school kids playing lacrosse is growing every year, which makes the recruiting process more complicated in terms of managing the sheer volume of prospects,” Boward said. “I added it all up and figured out that I was spending about three weeks a year entering data into a computer.”
Boward was intrigued by a new iPad application—Lacrosse Scout–that could streamline the arduous tasks of scouting, evaluating and recruiting. So a few months ago, Boward scrapped his clipboard and writing pad in favor of an iPad and Lacrosse Scout.
The cost was a bit steep–$500 for the iPad and $900 for Lacrosse Scout’s app and data analysis software–but Boward decided to try it.
“It all comes down to how much do you value your time,” Boward said.
Now Boward comes back from recruiting trips and dumps all the information from his iPad onto a server. Those eight-hour days as a data entry clerk are history.
“It’s about 20 minutes now,” he said. “They say simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. I think that this is the wave of the future.”
Boward admits he is pretty handy with the latest technology, but he thinks Lacrosse Scout will translate well even to the non-techy coach.
“The application is very easy to use and intuitive and the learning curve is relatively short,” he said. “Inputting ratings and evaluations on a touch screen is much quicker than writing out evaluations on paper lists. The app is also customizable, which allows it to adapt to whatever system you may use.”
Boward said he wasn’t bothered that Christopher Newport, a Division III school, was the first customer of West Shore Technologies, the Bay Area start-up that developed SportsBoard Lacrosse Scout.
“I know I’m on the cutting edge of the whole technology thing,” he said “Some coaches might say I’m wasting my money. But I think it’s an avenue that’s going to make you successful. People are paying a lot more for things that do a lot less.”
Apparently quite a few other coaches agree. Christopher Newport is one of 11 college lacrosse programs who are SportsBoard customers. Other men’s programs include Penn and Navy; women’s programs include Stanford, Penn, Fresno State, Temple and Syracuse.