It’s mid February and the soccer club teams in North Carolina are gearing up for the spring season. Emails from coaches and team managers are starting again. It’s time to organize. Parents are going through soccer bags, looking at cleats, shin guards, practice t-shirts, and all the other items that will be worn. What still fits? What has been outgrown? Cold temperatures are still present. Does my daughter need another good item for layering? Wicking tops such as those available at Target or Khols provide a low cost solution – however, I am willing to spend a little more for better fit, comfort and performance after the multiple washes the top will undergo – so, I’m having my daughter try out the Chill Weight Long Sleeve Tee from Dragonwing girl gear. Okay, gear is accounted for a list made of new items to purchase. Onto the next item – update the family calendar that is found on our refrigerator to remind us all where to be when. Questions start with - when are practices, games and tournaments? Emails are probably received at least several times a week, roughly 2-3 times. The first one is typically a schedule for the week that consists of reminding the team what day of the week regular practice will be held and at what time and at what location. The next communication may be an update to any changes due to weather – say it rains and, at least in North Carolina, unless you are practicing on turf, rain often results in practice cancelations – the dense-clay-like soil can only absorb so much. And, then if there is a weekend game, a reminder email outlining day, time and location of game with specific instructions about getting to the field at least 30-45 minutes ahead of time. Highly organized team managers tend to be the most effective with timely communications and incredible with follow up. I have always found that I have become very dependent on them – unless they tell me exactly when, where and what time – I’m scrambling. Pressure on a team manager? – perhaps or rather, yes. What tools exist to help team managers keep their team’s a well-oiled machine? Yes. Many team managers may have their own approach; a system they have used based on previous management experience, relying on what’s worked and what has not. There are also online tools that help managers with centralization of information that includes a calendar of events, a way to send our automated emails to team members/parents – and a good example of such a tool is – an online tool to manage teams and/or groups. Features include creating team homepage, having a centralized location for contacts and a shared calendar. Start with a free subscription to figure out if it’s right for you. I look forward to hearing how you start organizing for the new season – and if you have used any online tools that are particularly remarkable and why. Good luck to all your teams this season.

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