Throw Out the Old Playbook
When he played football at the University of Kansas, Austin Barone saw firsthand how most coaches prepare their teams for games. They either filled whiteboards with hand-drawn diagrams, or they passed out thick three-ring binders brimming with plays to study.
Austin Barone and
Just Play Sports Solutions
2233 Rodeo Drive
Lawrence, KS 66047
TYPE OF BUSINESS
Developer of digital coaching tools
But Barone noticed something: When they had the choice, most players were glued to their smartphones.
So, he thought, why not build a platform that helps coaches communicate more effectively with younger, internet-native players—in a way that makes sense for them?
Barone recruited Andy Wachter, a longtime friend, Division I athlete and former senior web developer for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Together, they developed Just Play Sports Solutions, a digital platform that enables coaches and players to more easily connect.
“College coaches grow older, but they communicate strategy to 18- to 23-year-old athletes,” Barone said.
Each year’s rotation of young athletes readily adapts to the “new wave of technology that has penetrated the classroom and our lives,” Barone said. “Just Play helps coaches and players to bridge the gap.”
Just Play allows coaches to quickly prepare digital playbooks, game plans and scouting reports. Statistical databases, analytics, videos and photos all can be integrated seamlessly with Just Play.
“There are 2,000 statistics available that can be integrated with one click and automated in the platform,” Barone said. “You can get stats on an opponent or player from a game and run a report.”
Just Play’s apps for players are built for personalized learning. Coaches can monitor players’ activity to keep them accountable and stay informed on their preparation.
Just Play’s teaching component includes a diagram tool. Coaches can easily animate the play and add video side-by-side for illustration. They can create quizzes to test players’ progress, too.
“The insights tool provides data so coaches know what players are looking at, what players know and how to better prepare them,” Barone said.
Just Play Sports Solutions is currently used by 350 college and professional football, basketball and lacrosse programs. The platform also can be used at the high school level.
And this year, Just Play Sports Solutions plans to launch its platform for soccer and hockey programs.
Just Play distinguishes itself from competitors by “focusing on preparation with the intent of player learning,” Barone explained. “Content creation is intuitive and easy. Quizzing unlocks insights for coaches.”
By making preparation smarter and easier, the Just Play team wants to help its clients achieve even greater results when game time arrives.
“Preparation is so important,” Barone said. “Learning happens through reinforcement and feedback. There needed to be a better way to connect.”