Registration and tryouts are ending, rosters are being finalized, tournaments have been selected. What next? Scheduling can be a coach or administrator's least favorite part of softball season, but getting the schedule organized early can be a big boost in getting the 2017 season off on the right foot.
Here are a few ideas to help with scheduling for this year...
Release the schedules now
If you haven't released at least a portion of the 2017 schedule, you should make it a priority to post something within the next week. The schedule doesn't need to be completely finalized, but at least giving an outline of dates (first practice, first game, last tournament) can help parents start to plan their spring and summer.
Parents are waiting on pins and needles for their kids' schedules to be released for their spring and summer activities. Getting the schedule set up in February or March helps get your activites to the top of their list of priorities, and makes it less likely you'll be missing several of your players for an important event.
Parents are happy when they know the schedule months in advance.
The PRINTER is your biggest enemy
There are many great traditions in softball, but printing schedules at the beginning of the season and handing them out at practice is NOT one of them. Those sacred schedules become useless about two weeks later when the first rain cancellation happens.
Storms are inevitible, and printed schedules can become disastrous once changes start to take place. All of the sudden you could have several different versions floating between parents and coaches.
Online Scheduling allows you to post your schedules in a central location, and easily make updates as the schedule changes throughout the year. Using your website as the hub for scheduling allows you to maintain one version of the schedule and not worry about schedules people distributed or printed in the past.
Don't let this happen to your schedules when the first spring storm rolls in.
Make Scheduling a Team Effort
As a volunteer, make your life as easy as possible whenever you can. Make sure you have a few extra hands on deck to help manage the schedule as needed. You can even delegate division or team scheduling to reliable coaches or board members.
When it comes to volunteering, never take on more work than necessary. There are typically other parents, coaches, or board members that will be willing to help - as long as you're using tools that can save them time. If the schedule is stored online, it can be easy to have several individuals contribute to keeping schedules up-to-date.
Like all things in softball, scheduling is a team effort.
Rounding third and heading for home...
Just remember, spending an hour or two getting schedules started now (at least the key important dates) will save coaches and parents some stress as the season gets close. Make sure that everyone understands that the master version of the schedule is stored online to keep everyone on the same page. And don't take on too much work as a volunteer - get a couple coaches or parents to help keep your schedule up to date, and save yourself a lot of time.
Any additional scheduling deas that are working well for you? Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below!