(*Teamworks is a Proud Partner of FOS)
In college athletics, coaches and administrators have a responsibility to nurture and improve the lives of their student-athletes. Great programs, however, take this approach and attitude beyond their teams to other young athletes in the offseason through developmental camps.
One example of this is the Mississippi State University Bulldogs’ volleyball program.
MSU head coach Julie Darty, associate head coach Travers Green, and the rest of the MSU staff typically host four types of camps over the course of a summer. These include a high school team camp, a developmental day camp for ages 6 to 12, a day camp for ages 12 and up, and a college prep camp designed to give high school-aged athletes an inside look into the practice setting of a collegiate program.
— Mississippi State Volleyball (@HailStateVB) July 15, 2016
When it comes to managing camps of this nature, coaches and staff members have a lot on their plate. Between getting campers registered, maintaining medical data, and providing instructions, camp staffers can’t afford to waste time or energy. A few key factors are essential to make sure the campers and the program get the most out of the camp.
Collect and store camper and staff info digitally
Athletes who attend camps at Mississippi State supply the program with relevant medical information, their guardians’ contact information, as well as other personal data needed for record keeping. Camp staff goes through a similar process. Every second spent dealing with this is time that could be spent helping campers improve their skills. For this reason, it makes sense to go digital with this process. One such program that can be utilized for this is Teamworks.
As a company, Teamworks engages and empowers athletes, coaches, and staff with the information they need to help teams move in sync. In particular, a number of colleges utilize the platform to streamline their developmental camps.
When he was the camp director at the University of South Florida, Green immediately noticed the convenience of leveraging Teamworks to collect and organize staff information instead of having to sort through a large number of emails. Through the software, Green was able to then instantly compile the data into an excel sheet or a PDF.
“For camps, the biggest thing that got me interested in it was really the form capability. I found that it was more challenging to get electronic forms back via email. It was really a cool feature that we could send a form electronically and then they could fill it out on their phone or online quickly. It made our operation a lot more efficient.”
Storing information digitally also ensures the security of personal records. With a physical copy of a form, program staff has to go through the arduous process that comes from filing paper copies. Having everything already electronic and in one place, it becomes much easier to keep track of all that data. Program staff can easily print a collated PDF of staff employment forms after a camp period if they need to supply one for tax purposes.
“Instead of having to go through each folder and pull the W-9 that I needed, it’s all in one place, which made my life a lot easier at USF,” Green remarks.
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— Teamworks (@Teamworks) May 5, 2017
Keeping contact and medical info easily accessible by all staff
With camper information stored digitally, organization members with the proper credentials can access what they need to know, when they need to know it, on a mobile device as opposed to searching for a hard copy. For example, athletic trainers or dorm supervisors can access a camper’s emergency contact information or medical history on a digital platform instantly. This allows them to react quickly potentially dangerous situations like accidents or allergic reactions.
In an instance like this where staff members did not have instant access to the right information, they would have to spend valuable time going through a file cabinet or making phone calls trying to track it down. Going this route only leaves less time to remedy the problem, which can potentially make a bad situation even worse.
Keep an open line of communication with campers and parents
One of the tougher things about running a camp is preparing for unforeseen circumstances. When something like a venue change occurs, campers or the parents transporting them need to be notified immediately and in a way where staff can be confident that they will see the message. Using Teamworks, program staff can load the phone numbers of campers or parents into the platform and easily send mass texts to notify campers of important information.
“Being able to text campers and their parents directly helped streamline our ability to communicate with campers,” states Green. “Texting is an easier and preferred way for people to communicate these days. I think this led to us engaging our campers and being able to better answer questions ahead of time. Communicating through the app also let me know as a camp director who I was communicating with because the number would come up with a profile associated with it. I could hop on my computer and respond to text messages there instead of having to type them all out on my phone. Once we had contact information in there it was an easy way for us to market our camps next summer.”
Give campers constructive and specific feedback
Throughout the camp, assistant coaches monitor the progress of campers and take notes on the skills and abilities of each individual. When a camp has come to a close, coaches and administrators now have a database of athletes with notes about each one’s performance from the previous days. This is easy to draw on later for recruiting purposes. Coaches and camp staff then can send the form to campers with those performance notes so campers know what skills to continue developing for next time.
“When you’re running camps and you have 200 campers or more, you’re not going to be able to remember every single individual,” Green states. “So it does help me to have a little bit more substance to be able to go back to and say to a parent this is what your daughter is doing well and these are some things that you need to improve on.”
Ultimately, college programs depend on developmental camps in order to further cement themselves within the game’s community as well as with their local region. In doing so, they build interest in their program from both fans and potential future college athletes alike.
While this can be a difficult logistical process, Teamworks helps programs operate their camps efficiently and effectively.
— Mississippi State Volleyball (@HailStateVB) January 24, 2019
To learn more about how Teamworks helps empower the sports world’s best, visit Teamworks.com today.