School administrators, coaches, and athletic directors can take advantage of a new internet resource to help them manage and report their local school sports information. Called InstaSports, the free service is designed to help schools promote their teams and athletes, improve communication with their communities, save time for coaches and ADs, and contribute to student achievement.

Launched earlier this year by AWS Inc. (formerly Automated Weather Source), a Maryland company best known for its internet-based weather monitoring service, InstaSports includes coverage of virtually all scholastic sports, from football, basketball, and field hockey to gymnastics, wrestling, volleyball, and lacrosse.

InstaSports uses an online database to compile comprehensive individual and team statistics from schools across the country. After each game, the coach or team manager uses a password-protected template to record individual and team results. The InstaSports service requires no special software to use–just a computer with access to the web.

Each participating school creates a page on the Insta-Sports web site, which can be linked to the school’s own web site. A school’s InstaSports page contains links to individual team pages, which in turn can be linked to pages containing individual players’ statistics.

Pull-down menus and fill-in-the-blank templates prompt users through the input of final game scores and statistics. As data are entered into the InstaSports database, seasonal statistics are computed and updated automatically in real time for everyone to see–from parents and neighbors to local reporters and college recruiters.

“It’s so simple to use and to add teams,” said Ralph Henning, athletic director for Badger High School in Lake Geneva, Wis. “And it crunches the numbers very well.”

Badger High School used the service to record the results of every varsity sport it offered this spring, Henning said. The school’s home page contains a link to its InstaSports site.

“A lot of people in the community know about it,” he said. “Kids can go online and see the scores that night. We’re not a big enough community to have a local TV station covering the games, and our newspaper is a weekly. This gives us a way to communicate better with the community.”

It also saves Henning and his coaches valuable time. The school’s coaches used to spend a great deal of time figuring out their players’ batting averages, free throw percentages, and other statistics, Henning said. The coaches would post this information in the locker room for their players. Now, calculating the players’ statistics can be done automatically online, he said.

Visitors to the site can view team schedules, box scores from each game, team and individual statistics by game or by season, and national rankings of student athletes, by sport.

The InstaSports database contains information on every school in the country, explained AWS President Robert Marshall, so it already includes basic information about the location of each school’s competitors. This information is used to offer additional features such as directions to games and weather conditions at game time.

Other applications

Through a broadcast partnership program with local TV stations to be launched this fall, the InstaSports service also promises to boost the visibility of participating schools’ athletic programs, Marshall said.

AWS will market exclusive rights to InstaSports’ proprietary sports information to TV stations across the country. For a fee, broadcasters will be able to use the company’s special display software to create full-screen displays and on-air ticker tapes of local school sports results from the InstaSports database.

“This will allow TV stations to reach out to their communities with local information customized for their audience,” Marshall said. “It will also increase exposure for schools that use the InstaSports service.”

Another InstaSports program to be launched this fall, called “Sports Reporters,” will let student journalists log into the InstaSports web site and post their write-ups of the games online. In the future, AWS plans to add content covering topics like health and sports medicine to the site as well.

The InstaSports service is free to schools. The company makes its money through broadcast partnerships and advertising on the InstaSports web site, Marshall said.

InstaSports

http://www.instasports.com

Badger High School

http://www.genevaonline.com/~bhs