Communication in sports is so important at all levels of play. Consider Super Bowl XLVIII played in February 2014. Denver’s Peyton Manning, after the most incredible NFL regular season by a quarterback ever, is barking out commands to his offense on the first play of the game from scrimmage when the snap goes sailing over his head. Seattle scores a safety on the play, setting the tone for the rest of the game: a 43-8 blowout for the Seahawks. Ever the professional, Manning absolved center Manny Ramirez of blame on the play, but the result of the confusion was clear: Miscommunication hampered, if not outright prevented, the Broncos’ chances of winning the Super Bowl.
At the youth sports level, poor team communication isn’t as much of an issue on the field or court—getting kids to talk to each other at all during games, about the game play, is a challenge by itself. The real issue is coaches, parents, and league administrators effectively communicating with each other. Too often, news of a rescheduling isn’t delivered, or parents assume a game is rained out when it’s still on, or events such as picture days are overlooked or forgotten simply because the involved parties stink at facilitating team communication. And the methods used by some sports leagues are just not helpful either—do you really think phone trees are efficient in this day and technological age? However, the situation isn’t hopeless. Here are four ways of boosting team communication without sacrificing too much time:
1. Automated solutions
Online league management software might be the best facilitator of team communication, with almost no additional work necessary. Instead of digging around spreadsheets or your smartphone’s contact lists for phone numbers or email addresses, the entire database of your league is easily accessible not only on an organizational level, but also on a team level. When a roster is set, contacts of a team’s coaches and families are automatically assembled. This software eliminates almost all of the scrambling—and extra time—needed to find contact information.
2. Text messaging
For decades, the struggle with team communication was that if someone wasn’t home to get a call about a rainout or rescheduled game, the news often wasn’t delivered. But then, cell phones became popular, and eventually, text messaging proliferated—everyone was now accessible almost all the time. Although this proved a boon for team communication, many leagues are still not using the power of texting for instant updates. Today’s online league management software encourages texting by simplifying the process—coaches and admins can send messages from the solution itself (instead of adding number after number on a smartphone), on their computers, tablets, or phones.
3. Email alerts
For breaking or non-breaking team and league news, emails are incredibly effective, especially considering most people now access these messages on their phones, too. Again, league management solutions help make this process easy because emails can be sent from the software and not necessarily from someone’s Yahoo or Hotmail account. A couple clicks (at most) guarantee that everyone is on the message, and new families are automatically added when they are placed on teams.
4. Team webpages
Besides communication tools, league management software offers team webpages, which can include photo galleries and message boards. The galleries are great for posting pictures, and the boards are another means for team communication. Snack schedules and car pools can be assembled this way, and discussions can be facilitated without the need for dozens of email replies. Furthermore, a team webpage emphasizes the concept of “team,” thus improving communication even more because parents and coaches are more connected with each other.
Is spreading the word about rainouts difficult for your league?