Drones are the latest technological innovation changing the way football coaches approach the game.
Harker Heights is among the initial programs to integrate this technology into its routine this season.
“We had been toying with the idea for a few years,” Knights head coach Jerry Edwards said.
The University Interscholastic League has regulations that allow drones to be used only to film practices but prohibit them from being flown during games.
As more and more college and professional teams have started to use the devices, and after hearing the benefits of the technology from high school and college coaches across the state, Edwards decided to join the movement.
Lampasas is in its second season of utilizing a drone.
“It’s the best video you can get,” Badgers head coach Troy Rogers said. “It gives you the angle from the top, and you get to see all 22 people on the field.”
With the ability to easily film from anywhere at any time, drones save time for the Knights’ film crew that would be responsible for setting up cameras at each of the Knights’ three practice fields.
“The beauty of it is we can start with filming on one field, and then fly it to another section during practice,” Edwards said. “The mobility and the picture make it amazing.”
A drone’s lens allows coaches to see a wide view of an area to follow routes or zoom in with a clear view of the action.
“In the end zone, it can give you a higher, different perspective,” Edwards added, “or you can have it be right behind the quarterback and see what he’s seeing.
“It’s versatile, but it shows you technology catching up to the game.”
Both Harker Heights and Lampasas let student managers fly and control the drones in order to leave all coaches free to focus on practice.
“One of our managers was a former player who wanted to be part of the team but not play,” Edwards said. “He wanted to get involved somehow, and lucky for us, he had quite a bit of knowledge with drones.”
“It’s cost effective,” Rogers added. “We have two drones, and we got some extra batteries, and we let the kids fly it.
“We actually got a couple extra kids to come out and film for us, because they know they get to fly a drone, so it’s a win-win really.”
Many coaches see the use of this drones as a way to help their teams stay competitive, but not all high school programs are sold on the devices.
Still, the continuous growth in popularity of drones leads many coaches — from high school to professional teams — to believe the number of schools utilizing drones will quickly double in the upcoming years.