Although going completely paperless would be a difficult task for a high school athletic administrator, it is important to explore ways to become more efficient and productive without information or technology overload.
One paperless option for athletic administrators is Pear Deck, which was demonstrated at a workshop presentation at the National Athletic Directors Conference last December in Orlando. Pear Deck allowed everyone sitting in the room to log onto the presentation via their smartphone or device.
Questions were planted throughout the presentation, such as “How large is your coaching staff?” The answers immediately appeared on the big screen. This is an application athletic directors might consider for the traditional “parent-athlete night” or training with the coaching staff in a larger setting.
During this presentation, three areas were suggested where technology may help productivity.
When big events occur at your school, there is an endless amount of information that needs to be distributed to game workers, officials, security and participating teams. Using a simple Google document, a game script can be developed that covers areas such as pre-game schedule, game personnel and contact information, parking, tickets, concessions, press box assignments, athletic training services, visiting team locker room, and official information. Additionally, a live link to a school’s Emergency Action Plan can be added to the game script. The document is dynamic, easy to update and easy to copy for your next opponent or event.
Surveys, Forms and Documents
During the recent workshop presentation, 85 percent of the athletic administrators in the room said they use end-of-season surveys. There are several great survey programs that athletic administrators can use, such as Survey Monkey or Coach Evaluator. A great tool for free is a Google form.
In some cases, information from other teams or constituents is needed immediately. At our school, if we are lucky enough to make a state tournament, we need to meet tight deadlines for ordering banquet tickets, game tickets and t-shirts. We use a survey that goes out immediately after the game to our players and families on the team. We simply don’t have the time to wait until the next day at practice to get a head count. It’s about being efficient and timely, and having the data to be more accurate and productive.
The Fun Stuff
Other ideas that surfaced at the workshop presentation included smartphone applications that can help to improve attendance at games, new social media ideas, websites, webcasting and game programs. In addition, video conferences have proven to be a great alternative to physically traveling to a location.
One of my favorite things about our conference’s monthly meeting is called “Best Practices.” The host picks a topic each month, and all schools come prepared to share what they do at their school from a technology standpoint. As athletic directors, we are all better when we share, encourage and push each other forward. The purpose is to be as productive, efficient and effective as possible from a collective standpoint. As my high school football coach always told us many years ago, “one goes, we all go.” We are all better when we are continuously striving to improve.
Nick Rathmann is in his fourth year as athletic director at The Blake School, an independent college prep school in Minneapolis, Minnesota.