Receive tips for coaches, captains and parents about organizing a team, and learn how mobile apps and online management tools can help.
By Jenny Peter
Play more and plan less: that’s a good life motto for any soccer captain, coach, manager or team parent who wants to spend less time organizing their team and more time doing what they love: playing, cheering and coaching.
For any type of soccer organizer, let’s look at ways to get organizational help from using online team management services and mobile apps right on the field. TeamSnap is one of those mobile app & web-based management services that allows users to:
We asked a few of our five million users about ways they save time and help their team stay organized. Here is some of their advice:
1. Carpool with teammates. Many of us are aware that carpooling with a neighboring team member saves gas and money, but also consider what creative things you can do with the time you bought back from collaborating on driving duty. Players can also get valuable time with their teammates off the field while in the car together.
“What I’ve seen over the years as a team parent is that people are more naturally inclined to do carpools now,” said Simone Lavalle, TeamSnap user and club manager at Alpine Strikers Soccer League. “Busyness has increased tremendously on parents’ lives that they are much more proactive about figuring out carpools, among other things like using technology to save time. It’s certainly for the better.”
2. Keep everything in one place. Some coaches have sticky notes on their clipboard of who has paid their season dues and who hasn’t, a messy spreadsheet that constantly has to be fixed, a misplaced notebook with important contact information on it… it all can be too much. Keeping all of the team’s information, contact info, medical forms, game locations, calendar, refreshment assignments, player availability, statistics, payment tracking, photos and files, and other items synced on a computer and smart phone makes life simple.
“People should be able to organize on their own time whenever and wherever they can,” said Lavalle. “From a soccer mom’s perspective – we are so busy with our kids’ school and our own work that having instant access all the time and in one place is key. With TeamSnap, you can even upload players’ birth certificates on the files tab and it’s just there. You can move your whole sports management life on there!”
3. Share the Responsibility. Consider splitting up team duties into small, manageable tasks, and ask willing parents to participate. Small involvements from parents mean coaches and players can focus more of their efforts toward the field. For example, one parent can be assigned to update the final team score on TeamSnap. Another could be the food guru and bring the grub for the team to devour after the game. Others can organize the end-of-the year team gift or be in charge of sharing team photos.
“I’m the “Mom with the Big Camera” taking pictures at the games,” said Julie Wolf, team parent for the U12 Galaxy Soccer Team in Boulder, CO. “I then upload them to TeamSnap for other parents to enjoy for free. I love the idea that the kids can see how great they look, and the parents can see the joy and determination. TeamSnap makes this process so easy!”
Asking parents to take part can help with team morale and can make families feel more like a community.
4. Understand the needs of your players. Some parents want an all-in-one place to get information about their child’s team, while some adult teams may care more simply about availability and calendar features. Getting to know your team’s unique needs and catering to them is central to being a good manager.
“My job as a coach is to make sure that information is available to the team’s parents at any given time so they can manage the other 258 things they have going on with their children and jobs and everything else,” said Jim Vaughn, Rocky Mountain Raptors youth sports coach. “A management application allows me to do this. TeamSnap is the home for everything people want to know about our team. It is an invaluable tool for me.”
For recreational teams, communicating who can attend games might be a more important feature to them. Team managers can put the entire season’s schedule on TeamSnap so that players can indicate ahead of time what their availability is. Going into a game, managers know who’s going to be there and who’s not.
“One of the characteristics of adult recreational sports is that everyone has a life to lead outside the game,” said Scott Thurston, captain and manager of Reapers Hockey, a recreational adult team in Colorado. “That is why it comes down to knowing who can come to the game – that’s why TeamSnap’s Availability function is one of the best features for my team.”
Whether a group of sports-loving people is made up of an adult recreational team in Colorado or a competitive soccer league in California, coaches, parents and managers alike are spending more of their time playing and less of their time planning.
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