The Missouri State High School Activities Association opened a door for all schools, and Smith-Cotton is seizing the opportunity.
Smith-Cotton’s football team is taking action to better themselves seconds after a play is finished. Steven Vandevender and Kirby Lewellyn record the game with end zone and press box cameras. The video from the cameras is fed to a control iPad through the school’s WiFi system. Vandevender uses the control iPad to cut the video into individual plays. From the control iPad, the video is sent to the viewing iPads, which are hooked to video monitors on the sidelines.
“The coaches can select offensive, defensive, or special teams clips and review every play that we record,” said Lewellyn.
Athletic and Activities Director Rob Davis said, “For a long time, MSHAA didn’t allow us to have TVs on the field for instant feedback, but last year they changed the rules so we didn’t have to get special permission to get them for our team.”
Davis said football Head Coach Ryan Boyer came up with the idea to install the TVs on the field.
“Boyer came to me and said that many successful programs use this instant feedback technique and that it could be vital for our team,” said Davis, “so I told him that we would find a way to make it happen.”
Coaches and players use the viewing iPads to critique the team’s performance, get clarification for specific situations and make adjustments visually before going back on the field.
“We have been able to make real-time adjustments that help us improve our performance,” said Assistant Football Coach Charlie McFail, the Tigers defensive coordinator. “The athletes have been able to see what the other team is trying to do and they can react properly the next time that situation comes up.”
Two weeks ago, Smith-Cotton played its rival, the Warrensburg Tigers. S-C came out on top with a 26-6 win in the Silver Tiger game. But, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t hiccups in the game.
“We messed up in the second quarter of the game, and we ran a play that was positioned for a touchdown,” said McFail. “But the boys reviewed it and went back out there and gained back those yards.”
On the road or at home, the team uses the replay system after every play so they can see what they did right, or what they need to fix before they go back onto the field.
Tight end and defensive end Zach Gwaltney said that his first reaction to the new technology for the football team was a really cool feeling.
“I feel like I’m playing college ball because a lot of college teams do this, but I’m in high school,” said Gwaltney. “It definitely is going to help our team because we can see what we did right or what we did wrong, and improve upon it as we go.”
Smith-Cotton travels to Kansas City to face O’Hara 7 p.m. Friday.
Meredith Kemp is a Smith-Cotton High School student.