You don’t have to be a parent to understand the strains that come along with belonging to a group or a team. Even in a digital age, communication seems to be the weak link in an organization. Sports events get cancelled due to inclement weather. An event needs volunteers. Practice times get changed. Someone is sick so an alternate needs to fill in. The great thing about email, Facebook and text messaging is that they are instant. If, of course, all the people involved think about checking to see if the game is cancelled, the event needs volunteers, the time is being changed or if someone needs to fill in at the last minute.
The kids participate in a variety of activities and most team coordinators and coaches correspond via email. Track, symphony, robotics, orchestra: with every activity we participate in, except the few with a dedicated website, all the communications take place via email. The biggest problem we have is once the email is downloaded onto our computers, we don’t necessarily have the details while we are on the go. It requires us to add notes to our calendar and sync with our phones to have access when we’re away.
I realized there had to be a better way. Miss M participates in First Lego League which is run by the father of one of her classmates. One day while waiting for practice to start, I was talking to the coach about the communication process. He was the soccer coach prior to relocating to our area and explained that he used a website and app called TeamSnap. I had heard of it but had never used it so I asked why he wasn’t using it for FLL. His answer surprised me. “I wish I had. I just didn’t think about it.” Needless to say, a conversation ensued regarding the app.
He said he originally set it up for soccer in hopes it would help with communication. He was so happy with the features and how it worked that he paid for an upgraded service with more options. Considering how many activities the kids are involved in combined with the inevitability of even more as they get older, I wanted to see for myself just what all the program offered. When I logged in, I was surprised to see how robust this program is!
TeamSnap is a one-stop shop for coaches, participants and parents. Not only is the coach or administrator able to load the members but there are features to track the schedule, availability of members, track required tasks or items, confirm locations and more. The website is designed to make team and group management effortless for those in charge as well as participants and parents.
To tell you everything this site and the related app can do would take a really long time and more than just one post so I’m going to give you some of the highlights. Let’s start with the roster. Everyone can be on it. Coaches, members, support staff and PARENTS. Not everyone is listed in the system the same either. Non-participants such as coaches, staff and parents are noted as such in their profile. To comply with COPPA, information regarding minors is controlled. Each profile can contain notes, phone, address and other details about that person along with a photo. If you’ve ever been part of a large team it can be difficult to remember all the team members and almost impossible to identify all the parents. For safety as well as for sanity, being able to see a photo of them is a blessing.
How about communication? Everyone knows the pitfalls for organizations utilizing email. Did the parents receive the email (or in time)? If not, the parent/team member isn’t going to have the necessary details. Did the coach or organizer explain all the details well? If not, the coach is going to be flooded with replies with questions. Maybe the participant is with the grandparents or step-parents sometimes which means they’ll need to be the person getting notifications. There are so many obstacles and email doesn’t always serve the purpose well. With TeamSnap, any person who plays a role or needs to know the details can be given the ability help with planning. Team coordinators who have been given access via the TeamSnap administrator can send emails or text alerts to the entire team or just select individuals. Practice cancelled due to a last minute emergency or weather issue? The message can get out quickly and efficiently with TeamSnap.
Oh… schedules. Woe is me as we sit in the empty parking lot. Monday’s practice was changed to Tuesday? When did THAT happen? TeamSnap makes the schedule accessible and changes appear right away. Combine this with the notification system and there’s no excuse for someone not knowing where to be and when.
Each event can contain details such as start time and duration, requested arrival time, a URL, notes and location which shows up as a map on the app. In addition to all that, it shows who has confirmed they will attend sorted by players and non-players. Who is bringing refreshments? That’s on there too. As a bonus, there is an option to set up reminders. There’s also the ability to export it to iCal or Outlook so it’s on the same master schedule as everything else you do… without having to worry about manually adding it in!
Noting who is bringing refreshments and participant availability are two additional parts to program that I briefly mentioned when talking about schedules. While participants and non-participants can personally log their intentions for some activities via the website or the app, the coaching or team administrators can do that from their end as well. These little details can make a big difference in how efficient it is for everyone.
TeamSnap provides coaches and team coordinators with the tools mentioned above as well as the ability to track payments, provide photos/videos and even offer a team store. If you coordinate a team, group or event where multiple individuals are involved, this program is worth looking into. If you are a parent with kids in activities, I encourage you to pass along this information to the people in charge. You’ll be glad you did. Sign up for the basic level is free so it doesn’t hurt to check it out! Teams can upgrade their plan to take advantage of some of the more advanced features such as store customization and multiple team sponsorships.
Test out their FREE 21 Day trial and see what you think. For more information about TeamSnap, visit them on Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime, sign up to win a TeamSnap prize package valued at approx $220 which includes their Ultra Plan and TeamSnap Backpack!
What do you find most frustrating about being part of a club or team?