By David McCoy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Want to be a better soccer coach or soccer player? Now there’s an app for that.

Alan Merrick has been a Minnesotan since 1976, when he hopped the pond to play for the Minnesota Kicks. He played five years, played for Team USA, then coached the Strikers, then the Gophers. He’s been a youth coach all these years since.

“I’ve always been a student of the game, and a teacher of the game. And that’s my job now, almost. This is a new way of teaching,” Merrick said.

Merrick is the content director for a Minnesota-based company called MOTI Sports, which is using 3-D imaging to teach the finer points of the game. Merrick says it was developed almost out of necessity.

“We’ve got a lot of parent coaches who’ve got the great intentions. Some of them have been Shanghai’d into the game where it’s like, if somebody doesn’t sign up for your kid to be the coach, we’re gonna have to disband that team,” Merrick said. “And you’re tugging at their hearts all the time. And so you get these volunteers, who are really thrown to a quandary of, ‘OK, soccer, what’s the game, what do we do?’ And they just don’t know how to coach. So, I thought it was pertinent to get the soccer skills into a device. You can get video, but we’ve gone past video.”

The app lets you rotate the screen and watch from angles that let you see all the plyometrics. You can see the relationship between the ball and the feet and where the feet move.

It’s easier to understand, Merrick argues, because it’s easier to demonstrate. No more printed practice sheets or three-ring binders; it’s all in your phone or iPad, visually demonstrated, which coaches can also send to players ahead of time, so they can watch and learn before doing it at practice.

The other thing MOTI is trying to do with the app is not just show how to do drills but which drills to do when.

“So we’ve not only got the techniques, we also now have how do you run a practice session,” Merrick said. “It’s just a revolutionary new way of learning the game.”

David McCoy

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