If you coach a youth sports team, join us in some basic email math. Likely, you will send an introductory email, then an email announcing your first practice, then another announcing your first game. Throughout a hypothetical 12-game season, you send a reminder before each game. Then there’s the emails announcing practice and game cancellations, the end-of-season party, and a thank you for all your parents’ support. Add it up, and that’s about 20 emails a season—and that’s not even considering if you are the chatty kind of coach who sends weekly updates.
Twenty-plus emails. Are you diligent, or do you forget or not have time to write and send? Do your parents open each one? Do you wish the task of keeping your team informed was easier?
A Web league manager tool can offer the help you need. Simply by logging in, you can easily send emails to your team’s parents (without that pesky copying and pasting of addresses). You save time, and communication actually improves. Here are five ways a Web league manager tool keeps your team informed:
1. Multiple platforms
Emails are usually the preferred method of communication for youth sports teams, but texts can be just as effective. Web league manager tools allow coaches to send messages through both media, as well as give them easy access to phone numbers in case they prefer to call instead. Moreover, the best league platforms are compatible with smartphones and tablets so that if a coach doesn’t have immediate access to a computer, he or she can send an email or text from a mobile device.
2. Instant notifications
Despite the most careful planning, games and practices must be rescheduled, postponed or canceled—often with short notice. Sometimes, coaches are tasked with informing their teams about the change in plans (particularly if it’s the coach who needs to make the change) and must quickly get an email or text out, then hope everyone gets the message in time and doesn’t show up at the park or gym to discover no one is there. Web league managers facilitate quick communication that can pop up as notifications on parents’ phones. If you find out at 5 p.m. that your 5:30 game is rained out, parents can be alerted by 5:02.
3. Attendance tools
Many coaches and teams struggle with no-shows—kids who can’t make a game or practice for one reason or another. Families are busy, so missing a game is understandable, but what’s frustrating for coaches is when they don’t know the absence is going to occur and they are stuck with seven players for a baseball game, for example. The best Web-based league management software includes tools that send reminders to parents about games and practices, as well as an easy-click option on whether their child is going to attend or not. Coaches get a better idea of player numbers and can accordingly plan to reschedule or try to find fill-in players.
4. Live updates
The statkeeping component of Web league manager tools allows the game to be scored in real time. For people who can’t attend the game—whether they are players, parents, relatives, or even future opponents—these live updates provide a means to follow along with a game in progress.
5. Team pages
Online league management software can be set to include individual team pages, upon which coaches and parents can post pictures, videos, and, yes, news. Anything that might have been emailed or texted out can also be added to the team page so that parents can just go online to find information rather than dig through their inboxes. Furthermore, Web tools permit parents to email, text, or call each other, thus fostering better communication and strengthening the sense of community that you ideally want to happen with each team in your league.
Do parents and coaches in your league struggle to stay informed?