Updated: Jul 16, 2021
What has been on your “to do” list for far too long that you don’t make time for? Maybe you have heard other teams doing things that are interesting to you but you haven’t made time in your schedule to look into what they are and how feasible they are for your team. Admin is an endless cycle but if you sit back and think about it, that's the core of your business.
Here at Streamline Teams, we seek to help you flourish, even in all the not so fun parts of your business. Swim teams are not a one size fits all. Every team represents something unique and has different goals. We want to help you reach them!
Our challenge to you is to tackle some of these suggestions, see which ones apply to who and where you are as a team:
Challenge yourself to have a reply deadline to anyone communicating with you. Parents, Recruits, or potential customers. Maybe you work two jobs and swimming isn’t your full time gig. Make it a point to hold yourself accountable to 48 hour response time and set up an away message in your email so the receiving end gets an automated response. That’s so simple but it makes you appear incredibly organized without making people feel ignored because it took you a week to get back with them.
Use a social media organizing system. What do we mean by that? Don’t get sucked into the black hole of managing that every single day or putting it off on your staff to handle. Carve out an hour or two each week and use a service like Canva for free that lets you design professional posts for your team. Follow it up with a free social media scheduler like Later that allows you to upload all of your posts and pre-schedule them for the week. Boom. So much more accomplished in a short time and you only have to manage that once a week. Frees up more time for other important tasks and doesn't make a dent in your budget!
Planners are pretty amazing things when used correctly. Spend a few minutes making one for yourself. Maybe for you, if you don’t write it down you forget, get an old school planner and plan out your month. It might give you a good view of what you haven’t made time for. Maybe you need frequent reminders because you get bogged down in other tasks. If that is you, embrace Google or Apple Calendars so they can send reminders to your phone and computer so you don’t forget. Any of these are simple to set up; you just have to spend a few minutes each week making entries to the calendar system you select. Make that commitment, you will be so glad you did.
When was the last time you sat down with your staff and discussed administrative goals? Maybe you struggle with not delegating enough. You might have the mindset that it takes too much time to train someone and it’s faster for you to just do it yourself. You are surrounded by parents and staff that would be more than happy to help you. Let them! Allowing people to help makes them feel so much more invested in your team and shows that you trust them. Maybe it’s allowing them to plan the team social this season or handle the meet travel arrangements for the team. Whatever it is that you don’t have time to do, let someone else help you. It will be more successful in the end because that person has the right amount of time to contribute to that particular task instead of you trying to cram it in.
Push yourself to explore avenues your team could become more successful with. Apply for “Safe Sport”, Apply for “USA Swimming’s Culb Development Program” or reach towards the next level, take your staff to “Swim Biz”, push your team to reach “CSCAA Awards”. There are many things off deck you can pursue that can help your team reach a new level of success. Not everything you can accomplish for your team revolves around having fast swimmers.
Maybe for your team, not everyone is in an office together, even if you used to be, the days of COVID have changed the dynamics and you can't be presently together. Challenge your staff to put together a year progress outline for their group so everyone knows what direction the team is going in. One coach might have a group that feeds into the next. If they know what the higher group coach is looking for, they can help develop those skills at the lower level. USA Swimming has a great program for this that can get you started, it can be found here “American Development Model” . If you coach college, maybe you break the team up into training groups, some of those groups might be fluid, make sure you are building on each other and working together. It would be easier on the athletes if the workouts built upon each other instead of not having a similar progression that week.
Team Dealers and Meet Vendors. These are people you should be communicating with regularly. Maybe make a point to connect several weeks before an event so you can plan for success. This will also give you the upper hand to handle advertising in advance and get the word out to families and meet attendees about who will be at your meet. Maybe you're located far from your dealer and they can’t get into your area often. This is a great time for parents to figure out what their swimmers need and do a big team purchase while they are down there. You communicating that information back to them will also help the team dealer prepare on what to bring based on what the needs of your team are. Maybe the Taco Stand down the road finally has the chance to work your meet and is willing to give you 15% of the proceeds. If you have a month to advertise them being at your meet, everyone will be excited to try it out and nobody will wonder what to pack for snacks between sessions, especially if eating there gives money back to the team. That is a super simple way to fundraise for your team. Take advantage of these situations and really partner with people that want to give back to your team. Simple preparation in areas like these is a huge advantage!
Everyone by now has made huge strides to get swimmers to commit to goals. What goals have you committed to for your team’s success? Our challenge to you is to make goals for your team about where you want to be in a year, three years, five years, and ten years. Make a vision board for your team. Figure out what is important to you, embrace it, and run with it. We as coaches don’t run from hard work but we can make it easier on ourselves to stay on track if we implement a system for our teams that can help us get there. Take control of your vision and make it a reality. Those Gold Medal Clubs and All American Teams didn’t get there without a vision or without a lot of hard work over several years prior.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. Whether that be from your board, team parents, college athletic department, or another coach you’re friends with. The swim community is a pretty amazing thing to be a part of. Even competitors are friends a lot of the time and they push each other to become even better, it’s what makes the sport interesting. Become a part of the ever evolving community, contribute ideas, ask the hard questions, reach out to that coach you admire. The worst that could happen is someone says they can’t help you with what you seek or say no. Either way, open doors for yourself. Asking questions is how you not only grow as a coach but it helps you gain new perspectives. Stay hungry, lean on each other, and embrace the community. You can never get to a place in the sport where you can’t learn something new from someone else. Networking is a part of marketing. That coach you are friends with might have a great method for social media, working with recruits, or handling parent difficulties that you haven't tried. You might learn a thing or two from each other that helps your team take that next step towards the vision you seek for success. Make that phone call, send that email, or schedule that lunch with a friend, you won’t regret it!