Coming to grips with computer hardware

Computer Computer Hardware Coming to grips with computer hardware

For a better understanding of the systems and components that can benefit your program

Those of us in coaching do not realize how far computers have come over the years. One bit of memory in one of those gigantic electronic brains of the 1960s cost about $25,000. Today, that same bit costs about 10 cents.

This doesn't necessarily mean that our understanding of computers and their hardware couldn't use a refresher course. A little basic knowledge can keep your budgets in line and enhance your coaching in the digital age.

Hardware, as it relates to coaching, can include basic computer components as well as video editing machines, projectors, and even digital chalkboards. An overview of computer components and systems can provide a better idea of what is available. Some important factors to consider when purchasing computer hardware:


It can tell you what computer resources are available and how they can assist you. The availability of software ranging from practice planning ( to play animation ( to statistics ( will help determine your computer needs.

An understanding of how other aspects of computer technology such as the Internet and electronic mail (e-mail) can also help benefit your program. Gaining this knowledge and staying current with industry developments in coaching technology will also help you with your players and program.


In your post-season evaluation, you may suddenly realize that you have to do a better job of tracking statistics and making reports available to staff and players. You may also feel that some of your players could benefit from a printed playbook.

Computer technology can lend a hand in determining what information is pertinent, what software can meet your needs, and whether these programs are available only for the Windows operating system and come only on floppy disks.

This will have a bearing on whether you are going to purchase a Macintosh computer or a PC (personal computer) and whether your system needs a floppy-disk drive.

You will find that most coaching-related software programs are designed for the Windows operating system found on PCs. Macintosh computers will not run these programs. Several programs have been created for both operating systems, but they are few and far between. This is a very important factor when purchasing a computer system.


Staying abreast of the developments in the computer world and assessing your computer needs will help you determine how much to spend for an adequate system.

As computer technology advances, prices will continue to drop on the hardware components that run coaching-related software. You can purchase a system in the $700-$1,000 range.


The basic computer has the following components: hard drive, monitor, processor, mouse, memory, keyboard, CD-ROM drive, printer, floppy-disk drive and modem. Optional but helpful extras include a scanner and a backup drive or zip drive.

These components come in various sizes, models, and versions, with various speeds, features and capabilities. These factors will determine how much to pay for an adequate system.

What is an adequate system? Before that question is addressed, it will help to look at a computer system's various components.

Hard Drive: Usually hides inside the system unit. The hard disk acts as a giant floppy disk, storing hundreds of times more information than a floppy, yet serves the same basic purpose as floppy disks, with three key differences:

1. The hard disk is located inside and is not removable. 2. It can store a great deal more information than a floppy disk. 3. It can store and retrieve your work more than 10 times faster than a floppy.

Coaching Point: A 2-3 gigabyte hard drive will provide plenty of space for storing statistics, creating playbooks, developing recruiting databases, etc. Prices continue to drop for faster hard drives with larger storage space for your purchasing dollar.

Processor: The microprocessor, also referred to as the CPU (Central Processing Unit), is a single chip about the size of a matchbook. The CPU, which does the bulk of our computer's thinking, is the motor behind your software. It is the most important determinant of how fast your computer runs your software.

Microprocessors come in different sizes which are indicated by a combination of numbers such as 386 and 486. The higher the number, the more commands it can perform.

A Pentium 233 MHz can handle more commands faster than a 200 MHz. The speed of the processor is indicated in megahertz (MHz).

Certain processors with a special MMX technology, developed by Intel, have the ability to run multimedia software faster.

Coaching Point: A Pentium 400 MHz will give you greater satisfaction than a Pentium 200. Obviously, the higher the processor speed, the faster your coaching software will run, but you may not see a noticeable difference. Processors in the 200 MHz range are more than adequate in running the current coaching software.

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Article By: Mike May

Views: 897
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