Why Effective Communication in Team Sports is Key, and How Technology Can Help
By Melissa Wickes
September 3, 2021
A youth sports organization simply would not function without effective communication, but it’s not an easy thing to perfect. It takes planning, strategy, and often the latest technology in youth sports to make sure everyone involved—parents, players, organizers, and coaches—are constantly connected and in the loop.
We chatted with some current and former sports organizers and coaches—including Annie Gavett, former Director of Operations at McLean Youth Soccer and soccer coach at Player Progression Academy; and Shannon Minogue, elementary school swim coach—to see what their organizations do to keep everyone communicating effectively and why it’s so important to do so.
The importance of effective communication in team sports
“Just like any business, if all parties are not communicating and connected, nothing can get done,” says Gavett, who was a sports organizer for ten years and a coach for four years.
When your youth sports organization has effective communication, you are able to address problems before they become too big to manage; connect with people; emphasize important messages; and encourage players. Not to mention, you are able to address individual strengths—whether those of a player on the field or a parent who loves to cook for pasta parties—and use them to your team’s advantage.
“Youth sports organizations test the functionality of communications at the highest level with the need to communicate between the organization, paid coaches, volunteer coaches (often parents), parents, and players,” says Gavett. “It is also at times a very large web of communications that needs to be done from the highest to the most granular level.”
Another benefit to effective communication in team sports is the ability to relay the same message regarding scheduling to everyone involved.
“It’s important to send out the schedule ahead of time so everyone is aware and has time to plan and/or make arrangements,” says Minogue. “If someone is not on the same page as everyone else involved, it could result in the loss of pool time, a child missing practice or a meet, or coaches not showing up.”
Pro tip: LeagueApps scheduling can help your organization simplify field, team, and staff scheduling and keep everyone in the loop on any changes by automatically syncing them to your website and sending out push notifications/ email alerts to your participants when a game or event is changed.
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Effective communication technologies and tools for team sports
When it comes to effective communication, every team sports organization is going to do things a little bit differently. Ultimately, however, the overall strategies should be focused on creating an open line of communication between parent, player, coach, and organizer. Technology has made the way we communicate much easier in many ways.
“For us, group chats are the most effective form of communication because there are not that many of us,” says Minogue. “The head of [my] swim program is always very organized and efficient, which makes a big difference. To avoid conflict and difficulty, we find it best to communicate everything early on.”
The organizations Gavett has worked with in the past have used mass emails, mass texts, apps with chat and email functionality, and one-to-one emails.
“Having a solution like LeagueApps that allows organizations to do this all in one place has been invaluable,” says Gavett.
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PS: LeagueApps Mobile Apps offer lots of tools to keep your team constantly connected, and everything syncs directly with your admin dashboard.
For more effective communication strategies that coaches and organizers can use, read our post on communicating with parents and players.
How effective communication affects a parent’s role
When it comes to a parent’s role in a child’s athletic career, they should be supportive and encouraging, suggests Gavett. The best way for a parent to do those things is to be present in person whenever possible.
Communicating things like game times, practices, team parties, game stats, and schedules can help parents be present, get children to games on time, and show up when they need them.
“The top four roles a parent holds in their child’s athletic career, in my opinion, are: traveling, preparation, support, and encouragement,” says Minogue. “Whether the parent takes the child to and from a practice or a swim meet or they arrange a ride, it is important to make sure that they get there on time and with the correct supplies. Making sure your child comes to every practice and swim meet (unless they have a valid excuse) shows responsibility and loyalty towards your team; and often enough children learn these traits from their parents.”
Communication is an integral part of any sports organization. If you want to learn more about how LeagueApps’ technology can help your organization effectively communicate, schedule a call with us.