For directors of youth sports leagues, especially organizations with hundreds of players and multiple divisions, scheduling can be a headache, to say the least. Trying to organize dozens of games on dozens of dates, at various fields and courts, and then assigning officials to each contest is a complex logic puzzle that would scare off Stephen Hawking. Add rainouts and other games that must be rescheduled, and you understand why scheduling is the least favorite task for most league admins.
Compounding this struggle is the fact that parents and coaches often take issue with the slate your sports scheduling program has created. Yes, scheduling is generally thankless, but it’s ultimately necessary, and once it’s complete, you can look forward to Opening Day and a great season. Here are some ways to solve the biggest problems with your sports scheduling system:
A double-booked field or a team scheduled to play in two places at once happens to the best of human schedulers. However, other conflicts may arise that aren’t as obvious but are nonetheless frustrating for the teams involved. For example, a coach who runs two teams in different divisions will not be pleased if he or she is scheduled for both games at the same time. Or, a team with a doubleheader (possibly because of rescheduling) will be scrambling if there isn’t enough time between games on opposite ends of town. Online league management software can factor considerations such as these in a sports scheduling program that accounts for every possible conflict and creates a calendar everyone can be happy with.
Rainouts happen in baseball, and postponements happen across all sports. Families understand that, but they still must adjust their busy lives to include the rescheduled game. Therefore, when leagues are slow to schedule a makeup, parents become frustrated. Wait too long to reschedule a game and you increase the chances players will be unable to show—many families can’t drop everything to attend a makeup of a game that was rained out weeks earlier but only put back on the schedule the day before. Rescheduling can be a challenge, for sure, particularly if bad weather postpones a Saturday’s worth of baseball games. However, an automated sports scheduling system can quickly pinpoint where you have openings and help you avoid the conflicts those openings could create.
Some league admins are skilled at creating schedules by hand—using a spreadsheet as part of a sports scheduling system, they solve the logic puzzle and fill in the blanks, thus creating a serviceable calendar. Unfortunately, one of the results that often occurs with this approach is unbalanced, uneven schedules. A team may play the best squad in the league four times and not be scheduled against worst. Or a team plays three doubleheaders while others get just one. Or all a team’s home games are clumped together at the beginning of the season. Situations such as these aren’t that big a deal on the surface, but they are scenarios that drive parents and coaches a little crazy—they may think it’s unfair that their kids keep getting crushed and lose playoff seeding while random others breeze by with easy schedules. Strive to keep schedules as balanced as possible, because what might seem like a convenience to you can be a big deal to the teams that must play the games.
This post has alluded to the benefits of an automated sports scheduling system, the kind included with online league management software. Indeed, such a solution streamlines the process, thus reducing the time necessary to complete a schedule from hours to minutes. Simply enter the parameters of your schedule and the software does the rest. Moreover, an automated sports scheduling program eliminates most of the hassle after the calendar is completed. Schedule pages for every team are automatically populated, and coaches and parents can be easily notified that a schedule is ready. If a change must be made because of a postponement, every applicable online schedule is already updated (and notifications sent) with minimal effort. Once you start using an automated sports scheduling system, you will wonder how you ever managed without one.
What struggles do you encounter assembling a league schedule?