The unsung hero of many a youth sports team is the individual who takes on the role of team manager. It is often a thankless task but is nonetheless necessary to the smooth operation of the team.
Elite Level Youth Sports Teams Need More Than a Coach
Although team managers are required for recreational teams, they are essential for running travel or elite level teams. Some highly organized coaches manage the team as well as coach it. However, more often than not, they look to a team parent to fulfill the manager’s role.
If parents volunteer or are “volunteered,” they will likely succeed if they are detail-oriented individuals. Suppose the team manager is inclusive and can get other parents to help the whole team benefit. Team managers who run the team as their little fiefdom will run into problems in no time at all. The goal is to organize team management so that everyone can enjoy the season.
Duties of a Team Manager
The responsibilities of the team manager may vary somewhat from sport to sport, youth Club to youth Club, and from team to team. Almost universally, however, some basic roles and expectations include administrative tasks, organizing team meetings, and communicating with parents.
Communicating with Players and Parents
Managers are often the daily liaison between the coach and the parents. Some coaches are not fond of having to “deal” with parents so that the task may fall to the team manager.
Part of the communication function often includes:
- Weekly schedule updates
- Assigning smaller parent “committees.”
- Develop “phone trees” (to contact parents regarding cancellations, etc.)
- Fund-raising initiatives.
Developing a team contact list can also help the coach, players, and parents to make sure that everyone can find a ride to the practice or game. It makes it easier if a list with name, number, and email contact is available. The manager should clear it with everyone willing to have their information made public.
Administrative Functions of a Team Manager
Managers should have a good rapport with the day-to-day staff of their local youth club, as they are often the team official in direct contact with Club administrators.
In addition, other functions of team managers are:
- Help the coach organize tryouts and get volunteers to help out.
- Oversee the registration and carding of players and coaches.
- Register for tournaments.
- Keep track of health forms – have players complete a standard health form at the beginning of each season. Keep in a folder on the team bench in case of emergency.
- Record vacation schedules for the coach.
- Organize any player “call-ups” from a lower-level team if required.
- Complete game sheets properly to ensure that there is no possibility of a game forfeiture.
Team managers may also have a role to play in dealing with game officials. They may have to smooth over ruffled feelings on behalf of a coach who may have complained too much to parents who may have been critical from the stands or the sidelines.
Managers are also often the first point of contact between a local District Association regarding discipline and suspensions.
Delegating Team Responsibilities
Good managers don’t try to be heroes and do it all themselves. They will need help, so motivating others to take on specific tasks will save a lot of time and frustration. These are a few examples of other roles on the team.
- A team treasurer is invaluable, especially if a parent with a financial background is willing to donate a bit of time.
- A “uniform parent” who records player sizes and numbers sends out the order. Then hands out uniforms to the teams makes a big difference.
- A field and equipment manager makes sure that all necessary equipment is functioning and available.
- A “First-aid parent” takes care of the first-aid kit and makes sure it is stocked and on hand for every game and practice.
Managers are Important to the Functioning of the Youth Sports Team
As a volunteer, a manager (often a parent with an understandable personal interest in their children and their team) gives a great deal of time and organizational effort to the team’s success. The better organized a team manager is, the smoother a youth team functions, and less burden is felt by the team’s coaches.
The position requires organizational skills, patience, a positive attitude, the ability to communicate clearly when things get stressful, the capacity to delegate responsibility and creating a positive team atmosphere for parents. A competent team manager can help.