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49ers Utilize iPad Playbooks


For the last eight seasons, Frank Gore has been used to watching DVDs of football film and studying his hand-written notes that went along with a thick offensive playbook.

The 49ers rushing king has changed his approach to preparation along with his entire team.

That's because San Francisco's coaching staff surprised the team by introducing digital versions of the playbook at the start of training camp. Playbooks have been replaced with iPads.

"I like it," Gore said after a recent camp session. "You can go home watch yourself at practice and all that."


When the players return to the locker room following a day of practice, film is instantly updated on the iPads remotely.

"It makes it easier to watch film," rookie linebacker Nick Moody said. "You don't have to be in the facility to watch it and I feel like it makes me want to watch film more."

Perhaps the best part of the iPad system is how players can take notes digitally and share their information with fellow teammates through a messaging system.

"When you're watching the film and you have a question, say I wanted to ask Pat (Willis) a question, I go to the play, I go to the message and I type it to him and he gets it," Moody said. "You can ask someone a specific question about a play, it's helpful."

The iPads are just the latest example of the 49ers coaches creating a culture of learning. Many teams in the NFL have implemented the digital playbooks, the 49ers allowed players to demo the software last season.

Now, the cumbersome binder playbooks are a thing of the past. The 49ers have joined the league-wide trend of saving paper. So far, the new-look playbooks have kept players active in watching film, sharing notes and discussing the game at all times.

"I think it's awesome," left tackle Joe Staley said. "It's going to be a big help to have everything we need, with us at all times. I think it's going to be a big benefit."

Some players still take hand-written notes out of habit, but the majority of notes in team meetings are written through the iPad. Coaches, too, have taken a liking to the new system.

"You're always able to watch film, all of practice, all the reps you've done," Staley added.

The iPad has no internet, no apps, not even, "Words with Friends."

"It's just like a playbook, that's all it is," Staley said.


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