Drone Gives DU’s Lacrosse Team A Perfect Angle For Critiquing Practice

DENVER (CBS4) – The University of Denver’s Bill Tierney has been coaching college lacrosse for over 30 years. He’s won six national titles and probably watched hundreds, if not thousands of hours of film.

“We used 16mm, then Super 8, and we thought that was great,” Tierney recalled about his early coaching days. “Then VCR stuff and we had to use the counter on the TV to go back to a spot.”

It’s safe to say technology has changed a bit since then, as the DU lacrosse program now has a drone taping its practices.

“It is bizarre,” Tierney admitted. “What is scary is when you look at the directions and it can go 2,000 feet, we took it up to 400 and you couldn’t see it. I can’t imagine going to 2,000 feet.”

The drone’s chief flight commander and operator is assistant coach Matt Brown.

“I felt like I was a 5-year-old on Christmas morning,” Brown said about getting the $1,200 drone. “It took me a while to assemble and then lots of software to download.”

But once he had it put together it was actually prettyeasy to use.

“You can let this thing go and it will hover in the same spot and it has a GPS locator and the clarity is top notch,” Brown said.

DU's lacrosse team uses drones during practice (credit: CBS)

The drone gets about 25 minutes of flight time and during practice will hover about 100 feet above practice.

“We have used it as an end zone view,” said Brown. “And also taken it above so if you were in outer space that is what it would look like.”

An angle that is perfect for looking at formations, plays and spacing.

“Kids are visual learners,” said Tierney. “They grow up with video games and this kind of stuff is nothing fancy for our players, but it is for me.”

Which is why Coach Tierney says he has been grounded.

“(Coach) Brownie let me use it in the gym on a snow day and I crashed it into a wall. So I won’t be using it any more that’s for sure.”

Mark Haas is CBS4’s weekend sports anchor and sports reporter. Read his bio or follow him on Twitter @markhaastv or on Facebook MarkHaasSports.

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