So they snagged ya, huh? Congrats to them, and to you! Team mom is an awesome job – it’s also alot of work! I’m heading into my fourth year – and still I’m no expert, but maybe I can save you some work… So, let’s just cut down to it – cause you don’t have time to read the whole story…
We’ll start with the basics – and assume you are team mom to a local baseball team –
find out what the league expects of you
Each organization will be different – this can range from collecting forms and money to planning team events and choosing end of season trophies.
If it’s more than you can handle on your own, make sure to ask for help – it is not uncommon to have co-team parents and share duties. It helps, though, to have one main person for the team to communicate with – otherwise, things get confusing – people are busy, and no matter how many times you tell them who to go to for what, they won’t remember – because they are busy with jobs, kids, and various other responsibilities – there’s a reason they didn’t volunteer for your roll. They are relying on you to keep them informed.
find out what the coach needs from you
This is pretty simple if the coach is your spouse. If not, talk with them for a few minutes and find out what they want you to do and what they would prefer to handle on their own. Some will want help with scheduling and reminders, some will need some back up support to handle paperwork, fundraising, & organizational type duties. while they spend their time with the team. The main goal of even having a team parent is to free up the coach to COACH. And there is so much more that goes into that than what you see on the field. Again, be open with your coach about what you can and cannot handle.
establish a line of communication
You might use text messages and/or email – text messages are great for quick reminders – save the lengthy stuff for emails – sometimes I have had to send out a text message so that people will check their email (true story). Just know that text messages can be disruptive to the work day and try to limit those to brief practice/game reminders. The replies can also be very disruptive to your day. Give yourself permission to not reply immediately. It’s ok!
The coach should communicate with the team when to expect what information (rain outs, reschedule events, etc.) so that you and he/she are not bombarded with constant questions about that – and the faster you get that information out once you have it, the fewer disruptions you will have to your day. Once you establish (by example) that you will get the information out in a timely manner, they will simply wait for you! If I ‘should’ have some information, but there has been a delay, I’ll sometimes send out a quick email or add a note to our schedule so they know I don’t have it yet and the reason for the delay if I am aware of it.
Let your team know if there may delay to your replying to their messages due to your work schedule, etc. and who to contact if they need an immediate answer.
consider team web pages –
These can be VERY helpful and make communication easier. You just have to decide how much you want to invest upfront to save time and energy later – and that will depend on you, your coach, and your team.
The simplest that I have seen is GameChanger – you can input your schedule and players, family, and fans. You can also set your roster for game day to share with the other team and keep score! No more pencil pouches! WOOT! Quick email updates can be sent out to the team from there as well.
If your in it for the long haul or are an over organizer like me, You’ll love TeamSnap – pretty much everything is there – the site will allow you to send text messages, emails, and even has a message board. All of your team’s information is there, as is your schedule and it even tracks payments so that you know at a glance who still owes money for what. You can even share pictures – so if you’re trying to choose a trophy, pop up a few pictures to get some feedback. The paid version is awesome – but the free version is sufficient for a regular season. The only thing it can’t do is what GameChanger does – and that is keep score….so yea. I use both. Yes, I hate myself.
A private facebook group is also loads of fun for family and fans – this is a great place to share pictures, events, and just general team banter – make sure to make it a private or closed group to protect the group from spammers and to protect the privacy of the children on your team.
On any of these sites – make sure that the parents are aware of what you are using and give them the option of opting out or choosing to not have their child’s photo or information shared or stored.
So, what responsibilities can you expect? It’s a long list – and certainly not exhaustive – some will apply to you, some will not – so please don’t run screaming!
- general team communication
- money and information (insurance waivers, etc) collection
- team trophies
- snack schedules
- fan shirts
- fundraising coordination (collection, pick up, sorting, delivering)
- acquiring team sponsorships
- uniform distribution
- score keeping and scoreboard assignments
- first aid/player medical information
- dug out help
- team pictures
- sponsor gifts
- coaches gifts
Don’t be – it’s not all that bad – it’s actually loads of fun! And most leagues and coaches are pretty good about keeping you informed – they know how valuable you are!
Take things one task at a time and prioritize!
short list of to-do’s
- Keep a binder or folder with all your information in one place.
- Make a dedicated backpack for practice and game days and keep everything there.
- Store each player’s contact information in your phone immediately! This will help you to know who’s calling you and especially if someone is running late – you won’t have to dig that information out of your phone or out of a stack of papers.
Do not take anything personally! People are passionate about their children, and about their team…we all have opinioins…different things matter to different people. You will hear things, be exposed to things, be told things, have things happen to you never thought possible…remember at the end of the day, it’s about those kids on the field!
Ignore negativity when you can, deal with it as maturely as possible when you must. If you have an issue with someone, go to that person and talk with them…often, it is a misunderstanding and you may find out a little more about that person and they you so that you can be more supportive of one another. If you can’t solve the problem, then it’s time to speak with the coach and/or a league representative.
next time, we’ll look at game day prep
This will help any baseball mom, but especially the team mom, be ready for game day without a last minute frazzle to make sure you have everything…good luck…four years in, I still forget something…