Major League Baseball must schedule 162-game seasons for 30 teams each year. The NHL has 30 teams that play 80 games; the NBA also has 30 teams for 82 games. But that’s nothing compared to a youth rec soccer league that might have 10 or more divisions (boys, girls, and coed), more than 10 teams in each division, and play an 8- to 12-game season. The directors of these organizations often chuckle when they hear how pro leagues, with dedicated scheduling departments, need months to create perfect slates. These admins wish they had the resources to build schedules that the pros do …
In the past several years, however, some league directors have enjoyed an additional tool that made them feel as if they were on par with their professional counterparts. League scheduling software gives admins a definite advantage over manual scheduling and trying to fit the puzzle pieces of an entire season into a spreadsheet. If you are currently using such software, are considering upgrading your solution, or are thinking about adopting powerful league management software that includes advanced scheduling features, here are some tips for making the most out of the resource:
Complexity Made Simple
Many leagues have scheduling software available to them yet use it as a means of data entry—in other words, they still figure out the schedule by hand, then type it into the system so it’s at least online. These organizations’ admins are bypassing a golden opportunity to take a complex, time-consuming task and make it much simpler and less stressful. The best scheduling software doesn’t require much from the end-user—just some parameters of days, locations, availability, and teams and divisions (which already may be in the system after online registration). The platform does the rest: You have a league-wide schedule in minutes instead of hours, and without the worry that you might have goofed something up (e.g., double-booking a field) during the process. Moreover, you can arrange practice schedules this way, as well avoid angry coaches insisting to the other that the field is theirs on a certain day—and both of them being technically (and unfortunately) correct.
Referees and Umpires
Parents and coaches go to great lengths to organize their lives in such a way to fit in their kids’ games. Therefore, when, after all this effort, referees or umpires don’t show up, it’s more than infuriating—it’s a reputational hit against the league. You might not be able to avoid a sick ref at the last minute, but when the error is purely the fault of scheduling, parents have a right to be upset. Scheduling software can help assign officials to games and sites, thus avoiding the chance you overlooked something during the process. The software can also assist in identifying who isn’t on the calendar but might be available, which is useful when you do get an ump who cancels and, therefore, needs a replacement.
Reschedule with Ease
In a perfect world, it never rains on game days, gyms are never double-booked, and your schedule goes off without a hitch. Alas, the weather sometimes doesn’t cooperate, nobody from the schools whose gyms you are using tells you about the orchestra recital set at the same time as your game day, and the schedule must be adjusted. The best scheduling software makes these adjustments as painless as possible. The comprehensive calendar can show you when and where there is makeup availability, and rescheduling one event results in updates throughout the website. So bring on that monsoon or school play—you’ll be ready for it.
Notifications and Reminders
League scheduling software shouldn’t be just about scheduling (although that’s obviously a big part)—it should also be about information and communication. Coaches and parents rely on accurate schedules to plan their days and weeks, and when there is a change, say after a rainout, they need to know as soon as possible. The best software can notify appropriate parties when a schedule revision is made—and via multiple options including email and text messages. Furthermore, scheduling software can also send out reminders of upcoming games and practices to parents who may have been too busy to add events into their personal calendars. You want maximum participation in your league; the best scheduling solutions help you reach that goal.
What struggles do you encounter with scheduling?