Communication is critical in every aspect of life - from relationships to work culture. It's no different in collegiate athletics - effective communication is vital for success.
We recently sat down with Tom Walter, head baseball coach at Wake Forest University, and Kristi Bredbenner, head softball coach at Wichita State University to discuss the power of technology in driving better communication with their student-athletes, coaches, staff, and recruits. They shared a behind the scenes look at how they have leveraged Teamworks Hub and Whistle to create a sense of belonging for their student-athletes, provided tools to enable a more engaged and efficient life, and navigate the new era of the transfer portal.
Read on to learn their top tips for engaging today's athletes and creating belonging with the help of technology 👇
Communication Drives Culture
For collegiate sports, success isn't just about the physical aspect of the game; it's about building a strong team culture and identity that resonates with student-athletes both on and off the field. Tom shared his approach to team culture - creating unity between his players and the communities they operate in each and every day.
The "Make Them Feel You" motto is a call to action for Wake Forest baseball players to embody their values, not only in the game but also when interacting with professors, fans, and family. This approach emphasizes that building a strong team identity goes beyond just strategy and hard work on the field.
In addition to living by the “Make Them Feel You” motto, it’s important to Tom that his athletes also feel tuned into team happenings at all times.
"Our student-athletes need to feel connected; they need to feel touched by us... that instant notification they get on Teamworks... they feel connected to the program." - Tom Walter, Wake Forest Baseball
The adoption of Teamworks Hub has revolutionized how student-athletes, coaches, and support staff operate at Wake Forest Baseball. All of these benefits help Tom build a culture of inclusion that empowers his student-athletes to thrive, excel, and unite as a cohesive team.
✅ Information at Their Fingertips: Student-athletes have all the information they need at the touch of a button. From team meetings to practice times to room assignments, everything is on one app, creating efficiency and organization.
✅ Everyone Speaks the Same Language: Teamworks is a central hub, bringing together student-athletes, coaches, trainers, nutritionists, and other staff members in one cohesive platform, ensuring everyone is informed, strengthening relationships, and creating a culture of support and engagement.
✅ Reading the Data: By tracking practice statistics and individual player development plans, Teamworks enables the baseball coaching staff at Wake Forest to provide personalized support and feedback. This drives belonging for the athletes, ensuring they know where they stand in their development as an athlete and gives them goals to work towards for the future.
Leveraging Technology to Uplevel Recruitment
In the new world of the Transfer Portal, collegiate athletics has never been more competitive. For a program like Wichita State softball, a “mid-major” team, Kristi recognizes that building meaningful relationships with student-athletes is key to her success in recruiting top athletes.
By embracing the power of efficiency and seamless text communications via Whistle, Shocker Softball witnessed remarkable improvements in its recruiting efforts. During their inaugural year with Whistle, Kristi and her team experienced a more streamlined process, resulting in a substantially higher response rates from recruits.
The Power of Technology in College Athletics
As the landscape of college athletics continues to evolve, the role of technology in communication and organization remains integral to achieving success and maintaining a strong and unified team culture. By harnessing the power of technology, coaches can empower their student-athletes, connect their entire staff, and create a thriving team culture, ensuring their programs are not only competitive but also well-prepared for the challenges of the modern sports world.
Want to hear more from Tom and Kristi? Watch the full conversation HERE.