Thumbs Up.JPGTips for Team Managers

You’re organized. You’re a good communicator. You’ve run your school auction and served on a plethora of committees. As you know, the better at doing something you are, the more people ask you to do! Next on your agenda: Sally’s new soccer coach has asked you to be the team’s manager this season. Where to start!?

 While some team managers think their job is over after the uniforms have been ordered and distributed, being a great team manager really means taking responsibility for all the off-the-field logistics of running the team — leaving the coach free to, well, coach!

 It might seem like a lot to handle, but once you get the hang of things, being a team manager can be a really rewarding experience. So what does it take to be a great team manager? Here are a few tips to get you off on the right foot before (key word!) the season starts:

 Be the coach’s right hand.

Most coaches really don’t want to worry about league paperwork deadlines, uniform orders, snack schedules and the like, in addition to practice routines and game-day lineups (and how could they!?). They want to focus on developing the players and creating a fun season for the kids. A great team manager takes ownership of all these important items that can distract the coach from his or her job.

Don’t do it all yourself.

Of course, there is a ton to worry about, and between work, home life and the kids’ other sports, where do you find the time? The mistake many team managers make is that they fail to delegate. There are some team jobs that are easy to have other parents take ownership of, like bringing snacks, planning or hosting the end-of-season party, recording stats, etc. Make a list of all the jobs you want others to handle and add them to the list of other required team volunteer positions like referee and field prep, so you know how much help you need.

Get organized before the season starts.

Now that you have your list of jobs, it’s time to “strongly encourage” people to volunteer. Many team managers simply email the list of jobs out and hope parents sign up. Although everyone means well, we all know that email will sit, unread, in the inbox as parents hope someone else volunteers for team duties. This inevitably puts the team manager in the position of resident nudge. Consider having a preseason team BBQ or picnic and have your list ready. This serves two purposes: you let parents and players get acquainted or reacquainted in a fun setting off the field, and you can make sure every volunteer job is filled before the end of the event. Leave the email for reminders, not sign-ups.

Be Prepared

The team manager is kind of like a superhero, and you never know when you’ll need to duck into a phone booth to don your cap. Being as prepared as possible will ultimately make your job easier. One of the most important things you can do is create a team roster with everyone’s contact information, especially cell phone numbers. While it’s a good idea to distribute this to every parent on the team, no one needs it more than you do. Although you can easily have paper copies available, there are also team management apps that allow you to access the roster online or on your mobile phone. That way, if you’re at a field and two players are late, you can call the parents to find out where they are and when they’ll be at the field, while the coach is getting the rest of the team ready to play.

Other smaller crises can be averted by thinking of the little things: have an extra pair of socks in your bag for the player who ran out the door without them; remember a few plastic baggies for players’ earrings or watches; keep a pack of hair ties in your bag. And, of course, always carry a Sharpie.

Let technology make your job easier

Thankfully, most people are now comfortable with email and text as the primary method of communication for team info, which can dramatically speed up your job. However, there are other ways to make your job as team manager easier as well. Team management tools, like TeamSnap, automate a lot of these processes for you. In addition to letting you create, update and store a team roster, tools like TeamSnap let you see players’ availability for games and practices, assign snack duties and keep track of who has paid their registration or uniform fees.

Have fun!

Finally, being a great team manager is about keeping the team running smoothly so the kids can have fun! And that’s what it’s really all about.

Want more tips? Check out the Resources page on TeamSnap for everything a coach, manager or sports parent needs, or subscribe to blog.teamsnap.com. We’re here to make your managing and coaching experience as smooth and easy as possible!

A big thanks to Teamsnap for this great article.  Check out their time saving app HERE