The better you are at something, the more you’re asked to do. While that may seem like a pain, when it comes to helping out with your kid’s sports team, it can also be a blessing. It means you’re there with your child, experiencing the good times and bad, taking an active part in his or her life. It also means you’re making the job easier for the coach, who is often a volunteer and often has way too much to do.
While some team managers think their job is over as long as the uniforms have been ordered and someone remembers to bring refreshments to each game, being a great team manager really means taking responsibility for all the off-the-field logistics of running the team — leaving the coach free to, well, coach!
Although thinking of everything that needs to be done can be daunting, once you have a system in place, it’s truly a rewarding experience and you’re making memories that will last a lifetime. So what does it take to be a great team manager? Here are a few tips culled from our more than 500,000 coaches on how to get off on the right foot and moving in the right direction all season long.
Don’t do it all yourself.
Of course, there is a ton to worry about, and between work, home life and the kids’ other sports, where do you find the time? The mistake many team managers make is that they fail to delegate. With some of the simpler tasks, like bringing snacks, planning or hosting the end-of-season party, recording stats, etc., let other parents chip in! Make a list of all the jobs you want others to handle and add them to the list of other required team volunteer positions like referee and field prep, so you know just how much help you need.
Get organized before the season starts.
Now that you have your list of jobs, it’s time to “strongly encourage” people to volunteer. Many team managers simply email the list of jobs out and hope parents sign up. Although everyone means well, we all know that email will sit, unread, in the inbox as parents hope someone else volunteers for team duties. This inevitably puts the team manager in the position of resident nudge. Consider having a preseason team BBQ or picnic and have your list ready. This serves two purposes: you let parents and players get acquainted or reacquainted in a fun setting off the field, and you can make sure every volunteer job is filled before the end of the event. Leave the email for reminders, not sign-ups.
The team manager is kind of like a superhero, and you never know when you’ll need to duck into a phone booth to don your cap. Being as prepared as possible will ultimately make your job easier. One of the most important things you can do is create a team roster with everyone’s contact information, especially cell phone numbers. While it’s a good idea to distribute this to every parent on the team, no one needs it more than you do. Although you can easily have paper copies available, there are also team management apps that allow you to access the roster online or on your mobile phone. That way, if you’re at a field and two players are late, you can call the parents to find out where they are and when they’ll be at the field, while the coach is getting the rest of the team ready to play.
Other smaller crises can be averted by thinking of the little things: have an extra pair of socks in your bag for the player who ran out the door without them; remember a few plastic baggies for players’ earrings or watches; keep a pack of hair ties in your bag. And, of course, always carry a Sharpie and duct tape!
Let technology make your job easier
Thankfully, most people are now comfortable with email and text as the primary method of communication for team info, which can dramatically speed up your job. However, there are other ways to make your job as team manager easier as well. Team management tools, like TeamSnap, automate a lot of these processes for you. In addition to letting you create, update and store a team roster, tools like TeamSnap let you see players’ availability for games and practices, assign snack duties and keep track of who has paid their registration or uniform fees.
Finally, being a great team manager is about keeping the team running smoothly so the kids can have fun! And that’s what it’s really all about.
Want more tips? Check out the TeamSnap Resources page on TeamSnap for everything a coach, manager or sports parent needs, or subscribe to blog.teamsnap.com. We’re here to make your managing and coaching experience as smooth and easy as possible!