John Jones, the baseball coach at Ligonier Valley High School (PA), constantly seeks consistency from his team. With the help of GameChanger, he’s ensuring his team takes valuable steps towards achieving that goal.
“It gives me a lot in-game that I wouldn’t normally have access to,” Jones said. “The personnel isn’t there to figure things out, but with GameChanger it is.”
The GameChanger app provides free, real-time stat-tracking, scorekeeping and team management tools for the coaching staff, as well as live game updates, statistics and recap stories for families and fans.
For Jones, who has used the service for two seasons, it gives him the facts he needs.
“As a baseball coach, you have a lot of hunches,” Jones said. “You know in your heart what you’re thinking, and this gives you the facts to back it up. It’s just another piece of data that wouldn’t have been available 10 years ago.”
Jones’ Rams finished third in the Heritage Conference last year. Ligonier Valley advanced to the District 6 Class AA playoffs, reaching the quarterfinals before falling to the eventual district champion and state runner up.
Jones doesn’t set season goals based on statistics, but he uses real-time numbers during in-game scenarios.
“I like to see what a certain hitter has done, especially when we play them a second time,” Jones said. “I try to see what did he swing at? What did he swing and miss at? And relay that information to our catcher.
“If we get into a certain situation, this is where we want to go if a batter displays a tendency.”
He uses an iPad to track pitches and keep a pitch count, a simple but invaluable concept.
“I really watch my pitchers in the cold weather to see how many pitches they throw,” Jones said, adding he allows his pitchers to throw more fastballs than off-speed pitches.
“They could be pitching a great game, but if we decide your limit is 50, then that’s your limit. If you want to go seven, you better figure out how to do it in 50 pitches.”
Offensively, Jones focuses on his team’s on-base and slugging percentages.
“It helps me process those numbers a lot quicker,” Jones said. “I could do it going through the scorebook, but with GameChanger, it’s right there.
“I want to see over periods of time where those numbers come in, and I use that to translate to the team that we can’t score if we don’t get on base. It sounds generic, but I’ll use that.”
He also studies steal percentages and how his team fares against different opposing catchers.
“If we go into the second game, and the guy we did well against is catching, I have a red flag in my head,” he said. “Before, that could’ve been something that slipped through the cracks.”
Jones won’t have to worry about valuable information slipping through the cracks anymore, with the in-game stats he collects serving as an opportunity to aid his team throughout the season.
“I think it has helped me a lot of the time, just coaching the game and allowing me to watch,” Jones said. “I can easily go to GameChanger and see what a player did the last two times at the plate and develop a pattern in situations very quickly. It just helps me in real time.”