When leading a sports team, the management of the sports team is the least fun aspect. Managers must balance their players needs, with their coach’s needs, and with league requirements. If you are managing a youth sports team, then the needs of parents also play an important role in the duties of a manager. With such a large cast of characters, organizing this chaos is not easy. Whether you are managing a team that has multiple players such as baseball, softball, soccer, or swim team, here are just a few tips to help you get organized and to help ensure your youth sports team accomplishes its goals.
- Get the team roster down. Make sure you get every participant’s key information like their preferred contact method (email, cellphone, etc.). Set up an email list using services like qlubb.com so that everyone can send an email to the group email address rather than having to list everybody’s email address. Publish the roster on the web so that people can get to know each other, set up carpools, etc.
- Communication. Set up the call tree so that you can get in touch with people when it counts. People’s preferred method of communication should be taken into account. Last minute rain outs of games and other cancellations require a quick and reliable response so that nobody gets stuck. Maintain this roster online so that everyone has the most up-to-date contact information.
- Understand your goals. Have that first team meeting where everyone can get acquainted but most importantly get agreement on the goals. Determine if your team is out to win the championship or to learn and have fun. Prior to any meeting you should do some informal polling and discussion so that you can go to the team meeting prepared.
- Ask for volunteers. Don’t get stuck doing everything. People are really willing to help if asked. At every meeting look for a chance to recruit volunteers, especially based on any skills they might have. Online sign up sheets are very useful so that everybody knows what’s been taken and what’s left to do and they can sign up on their own time.
- Create the master schedule. Get a master schedule online published as soon as possible. It should include all practices, games and tournaments. Putting it online cuts down on needless email chatter and eliminates miscommunication. Services like qlubb.com has the ability to publish schedules either privately within the group or publicly.
- Figure out the budget. Most budgets for recreational sports teams are simple and straightforward. However, expenses and collections of money must balance at the end of the season. Make sure you account for all costs like league fees, equipment costs, tournament fees, transportation and housing costs. Remember that having a fundraiser costs money. Look at ways to defray costs through activity fees, bake sales/car washes, sponsorships from local sports stores, subsidies from sports equipment manufacturers, etc.
- Build on the community A sports team is comprised of a group of people that form a community around the common interest of sport. However, over time as people get to know each other, bonds strengthen. Fostering the community through things like photo sharing, team picnics, after game dinners are a great way to have fun while also improving trust and teamwork.
- Do something special. Getting your team excited about the sport can help enrich the experience. If the professionals are having a tournament in town, arrange for a field trip. If you are budget conscious, you can see some great competition at the college level. Most sports have a hall of fame that you could arrange to visit. If you ask around, you might be able to find a pro in the area who might donate some time to run a guest practice session.
- Broadcast your accomplishments! Put up a public web page and talk about your wins! Nothing makes a team more proud than to let people know what you accomplished. It also lets players send that link to grandma. Sites like Qlubb have the ability to automatically generate a public site based on the content of the site which minimizes the overhead.
- Ask for feedback. Keep an open dialog with everyone and be flexible. It’s important to listen. Sports team can live for months to years and requirements change all the time. A good leader will be able to anticipate what’s needed by constantly listening.