In the month since we’ve launched the free thirty-day trial version of TRAQ, we have had a lot of schools and facilities do some great things with the thirty days.
Jeremy Tecktiel, TRAQ Project Manager, was able to connect with Ottawa University coach Gabe Grinder to learn a little more about how he has implemented TRAQ into the Ottawa program—and the results he has already seen in a short amount of time. Jeremy wrote the following recap so that coaches at similar schools may have insight into different ways that TRAQ may be implemented into their program.
Coach Grinder started using TRAQ in the hopes of combating a problem that coaches face every year: winter break. “The biggest driver in us starting TRAQ was actually Christmas and sending guys home with a Christmas plan,” Grinder told me. “I bet you we ran through 2,000 sheets of paper in the past, printing out Christmas packets to send home with guys and I just didn’t want to do that this year.” Both his players and trees everywhere are thankful that he started using TRAQ.
Coach Grinder is looking forward to being able to stay connected with his players over the holiday break. He told me, “You can get a good idea of who’s doing what, but you never really know. With TRAQ you can see exactly what is being done each and every day. So when pitchers and hitters don’t do their work I can see that and quickly figure out what is going on.”
It isn’t just being able to see what his athletes are doing that benefits the program; it works both ways. “We got a couple Christmas transfers, and before TRAQ we couldn’t get the Christmas transfers anything, our defense plays, none of that stuff. They couldn’t see anything before they came to campus. Now, we plug them into TRAQ and they can have the same files everyone else does at their fingertips. They can at least become familiar with stuff and I think that will help us out a bunch.”
Once he got started with TRAQ, he realized that fixing his winter break issue was just scratching the surface of TRAQ’s functionality. Before using TRAQ, the team housed all of their programming in Excel spreadsheets. Having TRAQ allowed him and his staff to enjoy a much more streamlined communication process than constantly emailing spreadsheets back and forth.
As with everything new, there was a learning curve, especially since Coach Grinder describes himself as an old-school kind of coach. ”I’m kind of an old-school guy, grew up with pencil and paper. Kids do it a different way. Every kid has a phone and every kid is always on their phone so it is kind of adapting with the times as far as I’m concerned. Kids are less likely to pick up a binder that has all their workouts in it than they are to pick up their phone and log in to TRAQ to see their workouts. Once I got started and got more comfortable it was so easy.”
As we have seen with TRAQ usage, nothing is more important than getting your athletes to use the program. That being said, it can be difficult to get the athletes on board if there are staff members that are fighting the change. Coach Grinder has been able to get buy-in from his staff as well as his athletes. “We had a coach who was a little curious about whether it was going to work for him and I showed him what I did with our pitchers and immediately he was hooked. He realized it was a lot less work for him to program for all the guys as opposed to how he did it in the past using Word files and Excel files and going the old print and staple route.TRAQ makes it easier to change what the plan is for the athletes that day. We can pull stuff out and place stuff in at the click of a mouse. Before, it was, ‘What Excel file do I have to find to change this for today?’ ‘We need to print out a new sheet because that one is wrong because we changed things,’” Grinder said.
Across the board, TRAQ has cut their programming time in half, at minimum. Things that used to take an hour now only take twenty minutes. “It is little stuff that gives us more time back in our pocket, which in turn allows us to do more video work with guys and other things to help our team out.”
Isn’t that every coach’s dream? No coach takes the job to spend hours a day entering data into a spreadsheet.
The problems that Coach Grinder described are not exclusive to Ottawa University, and in just thirty days TRAQ has helped solve some of those problems and made a clear impact on his program.
By Gabe Grinder and Jeremy Tecktiel
Photo courtesy of @KCWieds on Twitter