When you think pro sports, you think about star players, breathtaking plays and overtime victories. You see the action on the field, but you rarely get a glimpse into the prep work and training it takes to turn a team into champions. And, thanks to new applications for eLearning, players, coaches and even recruitment professionals are making their teams stronger than ever. You might learn a thing or two from the NBA and the MLB, who have both made eLearning their training MVP.

Why eLearning for Sports? 

When you think action-packed sports and competitive players, you probably don’t imagine training sessions that involve iPads and weather analysis. But that’s exactly how some teams are preparing for the big game. We know that sports are largely a statistics game: Batting percentages, rebounds, star players and signature plays. And, since both the NBA and MLB track nearly every type of player and team data, it makes sense to give coaches, managers and players a tool that can be updated in real time with the latest data, offering an edge in information delivery and game prep.

What’s more, eLearning is highly portable, which is a must for traveling teams. Training while on the road or during the off season means making the most of a team’s time apart and ensures that training materials are available anytime, anywhere.

eLearning Examples in Sports

From mobile learning to team practices, you might be surprised at how pro sports teams are utilizing eLearning as part of their mandatory training – even in the off season. Here are just a few of the ways eLearning is being used:

  • Playbook training. Tablet-based learning makes it easy for a coach or manager to send plays and other information securely and privately to players. With a private and portable learning method, the whole team is on the same page, no matter where they are.
  • Second screen in-class training. At a practice or team meeting, players can have their tablets at the ready, taking notes and downloading plays and other information directly to their personal devices.
  • Personalized training based on position. A player could enter a training module, pick his position and see information that the coach has specified for him personally.
  • Updated statistics. The NBA utilizes a tool called SportVU, which compiles the latest stats – even the ones you don’t see on TV. From passes per possession to secondary assists, SportVU cameras capture and compile statistical information, which can then be analyzed by the teams themselves. And, since stats are constantly changing, it means an automatic and updated link.
  • Conditions. Consider this: An MLB pitcher is warming up for a game. He can log into the Major League Baseball Weather Analyzer on his tablet to see wind speeds, humidity and conditions for any stadium in the nation, helping him better prep and plan his pitching strategy.
  • Recruitment. Mark Cuban – the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and tech investor – recently utilized eLearning as a recruitment tool. Creating an interactive and engaging comic book-style media presentation for new hires and hopefuls, he sets the tone for working with the Mavs as a franchise, both for players and paper pushers.

Swapping out in-person training methods for an eLearning approach has been a total score for pro sports, and it’s easy to see why. Offering portability, up-to-the-minute data and secure delivery means less time in the classroom and more time on the field.