When MLB Spring Training kicks off, you know it's time to make sure all of your youth baseball schedules are in order for 2017. Scheduling can be a coach or administrator's least favorite part of volunteering, but getting the schedule organized early can save you a few headaches during the season.
Here are a few ideas to help with scheduling for this year...
Release the Schedule early
Parents are trying to plan their spring and summer months in advance. The release of the Schedule is like Christmas morning for a baseball parent. The best way to accomplish this is to get the the (tentative) game schedule and practice commitments well before the season starts.
Releasing the schedule quickly gives parents the opportunity to adjust their own schedules, and plan accordingly for events like vacations, camps, etc. Getting the schedule set up in February or March also makes it less likely you'll be missing several of your players for an important event.
When parents know the schedules well in advance, they are happy.
Set the expectation that schedules aren't printed
When I was a slightly below average second baseman back in my youth baseball playing days, I remember coaches printing schedules at the beginning of the year and handing them out to players/parents. Then that schedule probably became useless about two weeks later when the first rain cancellation happened.
Inclement weather is the natural enemy of schedules, especially for baseball. A lot of leagues post a PDF version of the schedule to their websites, but this can be troublesome when you need to edit game information and rearrange dates. You don't want to have 20 different versions of your schedule flying around.
Technology can be your biggest ally in the fight against weather and other unforseen events. Online Scheduling allows you to post your schedules in a central location, and easily make updates as the schedule changes throughout the year. By using your website as the hub for scheduling, you can maintain one version of the schedule and don't have to worry about schedules people distributed or printed in the past.
When your first rain cancellation happens this year, make sure things run a little more smoothly.
Use a shared calendar for your coaches and board
The game schedule important to figure out before the season starts, but there are a number of other schedules that need to be created for your baseball program to run smoothly.
Coaches, staff, and volunteers also to know their schedule well in advance. Whether it be for the concession stand or umpiring duties make sure schedule expectations are set early.
Using something like Google Drive allows you to post the schedules in one location and make any adjustments if needed. You can also set the Google Drive to "private," and invite certain people to view and edit it. This means you can still post a link on your website for easy access, but only the people with permission can get in.
The long and short of it?
Don't get yourself in a pickle by posting your schedules a few days before the season starts. Get out a head of the curve by posting all important dates and times online a few months in advance. There's no procrastinating in baseball schedule management!
Any additional scheduling deas that are working well for you? Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below!