Later this afternoon I’ll be taking my kids to their first soccer practice of the season. Well, maybe my kids, maybe one kid?
I’m not 100% sure who has practice and at what time. I’ll have to call the coaches (yes, someone else is coaching my kids this year) and find out who plays when. I could have avoided this, and I’d recommend to all my readers that you be the team parent, room parent or whomever does the emails.
It’s really quick and easy if you set it up right. Here are four easy steps:
1. Get a sports or school email address with google. I use gmail because as replies come in they are attached to the first message and sorting is simple. You also don’t delete with gmail, you archive so nothing is ever truly “gone”. Attachments are quick and easy (think team photos or spreadsheets) and they have a good group feature.
2. Create a private group for the entire team or class. I recommend Google Groups, Yahoo Groups or Big Tent. Remember that just because something is private, that doesn’t mean it’s secure. The moment you invite just one person to read what you’ve written it’s available to be copied and pasted anywhere. If something is too personal for the world to see, don’t write it down anywhere. If you think you will need any sort of technical support (like via phone) then Big Tent is probably the one you need, they’re small, and though they don’t have every feature that Google and Yahoo can offer, they have folks who can hold your hand when you need it.
3. Within your group create a roster and a calendar. Big Tent will probably be the most intuitive to create these documents, with google being next and yahoo last. All three are great though, and the ability to create master calendars as well as rosters should make your life easier. All three are compatible with outlook and other calendars, there should be much less paper involved with the paperwork.
4. Pre-record your phone call. A weekly phone call to check your email or your group contact list could cost you a dollar and take up no more than a few seconds of your day. Recently a friend used Calling Post to contact the soccer families, he turned hours of dialing into a three minute chore. On my end it was helpful.
I know some of this seems simple and basic, but trust me. Undoing a poorly thought out phone list and calendar will take hours. Doing it right the first time takes just a few minutes of your day.