The least intriguing part of coaching football is the organization, says Raymonn Adams, a former football player, college coach and founder of a new venture that hopes to make coaches’ lives easier.
Coaches want to be on the field, helping their players get better, he said. But he encountered hurdles as a coach at NAIA Doane College that set him back on those goals.
Things like inconsistency in practices, a lack of measurable results and the difficulty of connecting and sharing ideas with other coaches.
And that’s why he created Lockr, an online app that aims to help individual position coaches organize drills, measure player progress and collaborate with other coaches all in one place.
“We want to help coaching effectiveness,” Adams told Silicon Prairie News. “Instead of coming up with drills in your head and making a list of all the equipment you need, having the video in another spot and notes in a notebook somewhere, Lockr brings it all together in one space.”
It’s about making their lives easier and their work more efficient.”
Earlier this month Adams secured $250,000 in funding from Omaha-based Dundee Venture Capital and Confluence Capital Partners of Minneapolis. He hopes the funding will get his product off the ground by hiring four full-timers and four interns in the coming months.
“We want a mix of great talent who are familiar with and understand coaching, but also have great customer service,” he said. “That’s a key part of us having success.“Coaches don’t like BS… We want everyone on the same page.”
He plans to hit the American Football Coaches Associations meetings and tour a dozen football hotbeds to sell the app during coaches’ winter downtime. Lockr is already being used by coaches in Nebraska and Oregon as well as by the Oakland Raiders thanks to personal relationships with individual coaches, he said.
But Lockr has potential to grow in pro, college, high school and even select coaching circles and sports beyond just football, Adams said.
Based out of their office near 11th and K streets in Lincoln, Adams wants to see the product grow rapidly in the next two years. He already has a model of success down the street with Lincoln-based Hudl, a playbook management software company, that has hired more than 60 employees this year.
But Adams’ app is different, he said.
If a running backs coach is frustrated with their group fumbling a lot, Lockr will help coaches weed out perception from true data. By using Lockr, coaches have the ability to see, out of several running backs, who’s actually fumbling and whether coaches have done “ball handling” drills with those players.
“It gives you the tools to make data-driven decisions and self-scout to ensure you are spending enough time practicing key drills,” according to Lockr’s website. The app is tailored for position coaches where they can take down little details on footwork and ball handling for players to improve on.
“So much of what happens in coaching is perception based,” Adams (right) said, “I can look at a player and work on a skill, like ball handling, with him over four or five weeks and I’m going to notice his improvements, but he can’t go back and see how he’s grown.”
“This will allow him and the coach to go back and see that they’ve spent 22 percent of their practices working on that skill and track the progress.”
The app also allows coaches to create and store drills or plays, collaborate with other coaches, track drills against game stats and upload videos of drills. The app is made for an individual coach, not a team, so coaches can take their material with them even if they get a new coaching gig.
Adams, an Arkansas-native, grew up playing football. After playing at Doane he later played in the Canadian Football League, NFL Europe and spent time in the New York Jets training camp as a running back. He coached with former Husker quarterback Tommie Frazier at Doane later in this career.
But Adams’ career wasn’t one-dimensional—he also has a background in web design and developing, which made him comfortable taking the leap with Lockr. He had the idea from his time playing and coaching, but decided to take the first steps in 2011.
During Lockr’s beta, more than 150 coaches signed up to try the app, and after user feedback, Lockr is now on the verge of version 2.0. Plans start at $79 and allow coaches to set up ten drills, utilize limited scheduling capabilities and access a gigabyte of storage. A $99 a year plan includes an unlimited number of drills and scheduling and more storage.
“I hope in a year or two, if you’re coaching, you’re also using Lockr,” Adams said. “I want to do more than dominate (the coaching field).”