Along comes a holiday or a bye week... half the parents show up to an empty field. No coaches. No referees. What just happened?
Yom Kippur turned out to be the first and hopefully only real test of our communication system this Fall.
If everything in a real season worked exactly as we publish we want it to in our planner, then there would be little reason to follow our instructions regarding how to plug into Club communications. Everyone would simply write down what's in the planner, and then show up.
Unfortunately, no plan survives contact with reality. The plan we publish in May or June is a placeholder. Any plan published that early to cover a season that starts in August is pretty likely to change when things like field permits, coaching conflicts, referee contracts, and other special requests are considered.
That's why we push so hard for everyone to plug into our live communications stream. We don't ever want parents and kids showing up to empty fields. We don't want to make illegal use of county fields. And we don't want to have to pay for county and contract services that aren't provided or not properly supported.
There are many ways to find out what's really going on.
1. The Damascus Soccer Club invested some good money in smartphone apps from SportsEngine that are completely integrated with the rest of our platform. These are by far the best way to get all Club information in one place. They also allow parents to RSVP for games and practices (critical to coach's planning), to upload photos and videos for other in the group, and to receive messages directly from a coach, director, or other club officials.
2. Our Club calendar is fully integrated with individual team Websites. Every member has the main Club Website with the master calendar AND access to their "home" team Website that posts an individual calendar that has unique information for that team or age group.
The Master Club calendar generally delivers information about general Club events (like the Spring parade, parent meetings, and coach's meetings) as well as event information for 3/4 and 5/6 parent groupings. We add information for the younger ages to our Home page and to our Master calendar because we know this group of parents might not be used to using their team pages yet.
3. The Damascus Soccer Club Facebook page is available to all members to "like" and follow. This is the easiest communication tool for us to update at the Club level - especially when we're mobile (on fields etc), so this is usually the best place to go for things like rain-outs and special, timely announcements.
Coaches all have special access through the SportsEngine mobile phone apps to communicate via email with their teams. The Club expectation is that coaches will all upload their practice schedules, special events (like end of season parties or parent meetings), etc on their team calendars and that they will communicate regularly with the parents on their rosters.
Now would be a good time to take a good look at (and reset) our communications and make sure everyone is plugged in, knows where to find answers, and is communicating well.
Parents are encouraged to connect with the various communication outlets I've outlined above.
We're reaching out to all coaches to ensure that all coaches are touching base with parents on their rosters at least once per week. Academy parents should be hearing from the Academy Director, and/or the Assistant Academy Director from these age groups.
Transition Academy parents should be hearing from the Academy Director, the Assistant Academy Director and/or the parent volunteer coaching teams who are working with individual squads.