The basketball season is quickly approaching and I am sure season preparations are already underway!  What a great time then to try out a new tool to help you during the season, right?  Right?  Yes!  Right! I totally talked you into it.

One thing I’ve caught myself doing over the past few years while sitting on the couch  sidelines watching games, is writing down plays on my iPad.  First, you’re probably asking why? Is this guy a geek or something? Well, for one, yeah, I am.  And two, I like to think it keeps the “basketball mind” fresh while I’m currently away from the game.

I’ve always been an X’s and O’s guy.  From drawing plays up with my dad on scouting road trips during elementary school to designing and running plays on the SNES’s NBA Live 97 video game in middle school, of which my dad can credit his successful playbook in the 1997-1998 season to, I’ve always been into X’s and O’s.  One could consider it art even; full of creativity and design elements mixed with the knowledge of one’s team and the opponent’s.

I digress, the art connection was a bit much. But for the sake of this article, let’s treat X’s and O’s as art.  One of the biggest game-changing technologies for artists over the past five years has been the introduction of tablet technology either in the iPad sense of the term or a desktop drawing tablet. With this tablet technology, you can draw on your iPad or tablet using a stylus pen, or fingers for you cavemen out there- sorry, though, chalk will not work!

In this short tutorial, I will walk you through how to use an iPad app called Paper to create playbooks, scouting reports, clinic notes, team policies, and any other aspect of your program that you want to digitalize and mobilize.  Once you’ve seen how it works, you can hopefully then start filling your portfolio with your art, I mean, X’s and O’s.

Here’s how to do it:

***This demo was created using an iPad 3***

1. Download the App Paper in the Apple App Store. It’s free: Link

2. Open Paper and read through their tutorial, “Making Paper”.

3. When you have a good grasp on how to use the app, start adding and creating different playbooks by changing the “Journal Settings”.

4. Once a playbook is made, you can open the playbook and start drawing your plays, diagrams, and adding notes.  I recommend using a stylus pen when drawing. Disclaimer: my stylus penmanship is a work in progress.

5. You can also create Scouting Reports for each team on your schedule. It is an easy and convenient way to keep track of your notes and take them on the go.

6. Practice Designs can be made as well.

7. Another benefit of this App is that it allows you to keep your notes from coaching clinics in one collection.  How many coaches can easily pull up their notes from a coaches’ clinic three years ago?  This obviously helps with organization, but more importantly helps with speeding up the data retrieval process.

Sample Notes

8.  I’m a big NBA guy, so when I see a play that I like, I write it down in my NBA folder.  You can essentially do with this with any team that you follow or a coach that you admire.

The benefits of digitalizing your basketball information are pretty profound, I think.  With your newly digitalized playbook, all of your plays are now mobile and can be retrieved on-demand. Additionally, the Paper App features functions like emailing your collection(s), color coding, and “send to App” where you can send your content to other Apps for further functionality.  In coaches’ terms, it is incredibly easy to share your plays or playbooks if you see the need to. The sharing functions allow for you to share your content with players and other coaches in an easy, hassle-free manner.

I hope this quick blog helped and that you find value in organizing your plays, practices, scouting reports, and other basketball-related information into a mobilized and digitalized form.  The benefits of doing so will hopefully give you an edge this upcoming season!

Good luck this season and be sure to visit this blog for more basketball technology ideas.