How to easily shift from hard copy to paperless physical literacy lesson plans

It is common for coaches, teachers, and leaders in general to run sports and physical literacy programming from a printed version. This is how things have been done for many years. However, things are changing quickly in the digital age and people are starting to run more and more programs directly from their phones or tablets. This blog post will outline the benefits of running lesson plans from a mobile device as well as tips to make your transition from paper to digital smooth and simple.

Using digital physical literacy lesson plans instead of paper copy

Paper vs. Digital Lesson Plans

Paper lesson plans have been used in sports for many years. It is a tried and true method that lots of coaches and teachers still feel comfortable with today. A club soccer coach who was coaching 15 years ago would have never thought of the possibility to have his lessons available at the swipe of his finger to scroll through. A high school physical education teacher may have been used to printing off every single lesson plan for the week on Monday morning before school started. A college basketball coach may have had his assistants each get a copy of the practice plan for the day for every day of the year. This was just how things were done 15 years ago and before.

However, since the iPhone and iPad were released in 2007, there has been a massive shift towards digital solutions in the sports and physical literacy realm. Apps and web-based programs have taken over the world in one of the fastest trends we’ve ever seen in human history. Now, data travels at speeds never before seen and new information is available at the click of a button. Coaches, teachers, and leaders running sports and physical literacy programming are now getting into the digital flow of information with technologies such as PLAYBuilder. These technologies help make life easier in many ways!

Pros and cons of hard-copy lesson plans

Although hard-copy lesson plans are becoming outdated, there still are many pros. Lets take a look at the potential positives and negatives of this style of leading:


  • Comfort level for leaders who have used it their whole career
  • Can be folded and put in pocket while coaching
  • Can be written on with pen


  • Uses a lot of paper / can be wasteful
  • Copies are not editable for future adjustments
  • If something changes, managing edits can take a long time
  • Not easily managed for sending to large groups
  • Bulkier than mobile devices
  • No ability to show videos on paper
Coach using paper copy lesson plan

Pros and cons of digital lesson plans

By contrast, digital lesson plans also have their own set of positives and negatives.


  • Light and mobile
  • Easily adjust lesson plans for large groups in short notice
  • Store lesson plans and activities in one spot for quick access and adjust over time
  • Show videos directly on screen
  • Easily step through each part of your lesson


  • Can get wet and damaged if raining / muddy
  • If you have multiple leaders running the lesson at once, then all leaders must have a mobile device with them
  • Some leaders are not comfortable with technology yet over paper

How to switch from paper to digital lesson plans

As you can see above, there are many pros for switching over to digital lesson plans. If the pros outweigh the cons for you and your organization, then there are a few strategies to ensure that everyone running lesson plans from their tablet or mobile phone are comfortable with the switch and can get even more out of their everyday coaching or teaching than they used to with paper copies

Step 1: Invest in an online lesson planning tool

To get the most out of your digital experience, it is really important to use a tool that makes it easy to store your lesson plans and update them as needed for your whole coaching or teaching staff at one time. Why reinvent the wheel when it’s already been created for you? PLAYBuilder is the best tool available online that will allow you to use pre-built lesson plans in conjunction with activities and lessons that you want to build on your own. With over 900 activities and 250 lessons, there is a lot to get excited about for your switch to digital!

Step 2: Get your staff trained

It’s important to have a training day with your staff to ensure everyone is comfortable with how to use your software and all the features and pre-built content they have access to. PLAYBuilder offers virtual training sessions when you come on board as a new client. This can be in conjunction with an in-person training that you offer your staff to get everyone on the same page quickly. The get your group training set up, just reach out to

Step 3: Try it out

When it comes to digital technologies, the best thing to do it just try it! Click buttons, try a couple programs, favorite activities and lessons that appeal to you, try creating an activity of your own. The physical literacy world is at your fingertips! PLAYBuilder is extremely intuitive and once you try it for 10 minutes, you will see how easy it is to pick up and run with your digital lesson planning.

Step 4: Make it a habit

There will be times that you feel a paper lesson plan would be easier for your situation. But if that ever is the case, just think to yourself about the long-term benefits of using digital lesson plans and how much easier it is to track, change, and organize your lessons for years to come. Going digital can mean taking your organizations lesson planning to the next level. Commit to it and see the positive changes in the short-term as well as long-term for the children and youth in your programs!

Volleyball team celebrating after coach used a tablet to show the lesson plan

If you tried out PLAYBuilder and ran an activity or two, let us know how it went in the comments below!

If you are new to PLAYBuilder and do not yet have an account with us, request a demo today and we will show you everything you need to know to get up and running quickly with your physical literacy programming.

Published by Digital Services Coordinator, Sport for Life

In 2018 Sport for Life and Momentum IT Group partnered to create an online cloud-based management platform called PLAYBuilder. PLAYBuilder is a sport and physical activity cloud based software designed to develop physical literacy with online content based on long-term athlete development, leaders use this effective tool to digitize, create and share quality programs across organizations.

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