Monday, 30 September 2019

Published Monday, September 30, 2019 with 17 comments

The Carpooling Math



Mary Ann is an overly involved soccer mom. Her elder son Ryan, is fourteen years old and is a baseball player. Her younger son Matt is eight and plays football. Mary Ann spends a major chunk of her time driving her kids to games, practices, other classes and even for their socializing. Mary Ann’s schedule revolves around her sons’. She had to give up her job, now manages as a freelance blogger, carrying her laptop, and writing where ever she finds a place to sit, under a tree during field practice, on a bench in the park waiting up for the friend’s birthday party and so on. She spends all of her time running around with kids and while at home, home chores keep her occupied. Mary Ann virtually has no time for herself. None, until now.

Ryan’s baseball team recently joined InstaTeam. While the coach Brown introduced the concept of how communication and coordination would work on the InstaTeam app, he really insisted parents form a carpooling team and get started. Coach Brown also offered help in organizing a meeting of the parents interested in carpooling, so that parents could get familiarized with other parents, and it would also take the initial inhibitions away. Eventually, they formed a team on InstaTeam carpool and created a carpooling schedule. Mary Ann had to drive Ryan and his teammates just once a week.

This was an instant relief. Mary Ann could sit in her comfortable home and write while sipping coffee. It felt so good that Mary Ann proposed the idea of InstaTeam and carpooling to her younger son Matt’s coach also. It took some time and persuasion, but once that worked out, Mary Ann saw herself spending some quality time with her work and herself.

Just to get an idea of how much time she was saving on average in a week:

Ryan’s baseball practice: 300 minutes per week, 4 kids pool, 150 minutes for Mary Ann once in two weeks
Ryan’s weekend game: 90 minutes per week, 4 kids pool, 90 minutes for Mary Ann once every four weeks
Ryan’s robotics class: 60 minutes per week, 3 kids pool, 60 minutes for Mary Ann once in three weeks
Matt’s football practice: 300 minutes per week, 3 kids pool, 150 minutes for Mary Ann twice in two weeks
Matt’s weekend game: 90 minutes per week, 3 kids pool, 90 minutes for Mary Ann once in every three weeks
Matt’s karate class: 45 minutes per week, 3 kids pool, 45 minutes for Mary Ann every three weeks

Effectively Mary Ann was spending 15 hours 15 minutes driving kids as compared to 59 hours on a per month basis spent earlier. The time she saved on an average was over 44 hours every month which is almost equal to getting a whole week extra in a month. This is a lot of time saved.

Now that you know the math and economy of time, carpooling is the way to go. Download InstaTeam now and get started with carpooling.




Read More
      edit
Published Monday, September 30, 2019 with 26 comments

Bonding Beyond the Team



Youth sports experience is one of the fondest memories your child will carry for life. While kids bond as a team, the whole bonding and sharing experience gets to a whole new level when families get involved, like a sports community. Once this community bonds, parents can watch out for each-other’s kids, they can share responsibilities, carpool, and even come together to get the team the help they need, like fundraising.

InstaTeam can help the team come together as a community. Here’s how coaches can bring use InstaTeam to encourage parents’ and family involvement with the team.

Team messages

Parents are busy managing their jobs, homes and kids. There hardly will be a parent who will initiate or volunteer for helping out with the team unless asked. So mostly, coaches will have to take the first step. Coaches can start with sending text messages to parents. Parents can be put in the loop of team affairs. Coaches should ask for help with team tasks on the group. For instance, coaches can create “sign-up items” like refreshments, field prep or so on, and send group message to parents asking them to sign up.

Media

This task shouldn’t be as asking. With smartphones and DSLRs, almost all parents are photographers for the event. Coaches must encourage parents to share the pics on the group, in social media. The very incentive of capturing beautiful shots with little kids on the field, will bring many people on board the whole community thing. These pics will also be the team’s face to the outside world, which would help get sponsors on board and definitely help with prospective players and their parents.

Socializing

If the whole team has to come together as a community, it is very important that they come together socially also, and not just on the field. Here are a few ideas to get parents involved:

1.      A parents and players hiking trip.
2.      Biking trip.
3.      Weekend camping.
4.      Fundraiser.
5.      A team barbeque evening.
6.      Friendly game for parents.
7.      Victory party.
8.      Picnic.

Apart from socializing and volunteering, coaches should call for parents meeting every once in a while. Parents should be encouraged to participate, give suggestions, give feedback and get involved in any way they can. A well bonded team has better chances of being a successful team. So it makes practical sense to build a community around the team, a community that can be the team’s strength.



Read More
      edit

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Published Tuesday, September 24, 2019 with 0 comment

Let’s Play A Little for A Change




See how two InstaTeam teams came together to interchange their learning to broaden their horizons.

Emma learns piano at the music school. She is 11 years old and has been learning piano since she was six. Although proud of her piano skills, Emma’s mother, Laura, was concerned about her lack of outdoor exposure. All Emma likes to do is either read or be with her music. Laura wanted Emma to go out and play. Laura discussed her problem with Emma’s teacher, Catherine. Catherine remembered reading an article about Micheline Ostermeyer, an Olympic champion in shotput who also was a professional pianist. The star athlete and pianist had expressed in that while her sports experience helped relax her, and playing piano gave her a sense of motion and rhythm. She was quoted in the article saying, “the qualities that make a true artist are nearly the same qualities that make a true athlete”. Catherine was intrigued by the concept and wanted to give it a try. Laura too was excited at such a possibility. They looked up athletic teams in the vicinity, got in touch with them and tried to explain what they were trying to do. A youth football team coach agreed.

One fine Saturday morning, the young boys and girls from piano school were called to the field to play football and the football players were taken to the music school to play the piano. Both, the coach and piano teacher, made the sessions for their new learners simple and fun. And to everyone’s delight the experiment worked. Kids had a gala time. And working on skills apart from their core strengths not only brought a pleasant change, but also helped with skillsets the kids would otherwise barely hone.

Laura saw how the piano kids loved to loosen themselves on the field. She saw Emma running, falling, getting hurt and getting up to run again; a part of her childhood that she had totally missed out on. And the fact that it wasn’t a competition made the game even more fun. Coach Denver also introduced some fun exercises and games that kids thoroughly enjoyed.

The athletes, on the other hand, initially looked at the whole piano-lessons thing as a compulsion. But as soon as the teacher made them comfortable and played their favorite songs, the kids warmed up to the class. They learned different fun tunes, also sang. Laughing and singing together was a great exercise, it helped them loosen up. The boys started looking at their piano classes as a welcome change. A few sessions on, some of them actually started picking up piano lessons well.

Changes reflected not only on their skills abut on their attitudes as well. Both athletes and pianists were better at their core skills and enthused about the other. The experiment has worked great for all involved.

Coach Denver says, “while earlier all the boys would do is play, playing (piano) for a change has done the boys good beyond what the game could do to them”. And Catherine, the piano teacher feels the exercise and a breath of fresh air has helped her students improve not just their physical strength but their emotional strength as well.


Read More
      edit

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Published Tuesday, September 17, 2019 with 40 comments

Time Saving Tips for Sports Parents





Do you mostly feel that no matter what you do, you are always time starved? Well, you are not alone, perhaps all working parents are. And if you are a sports parent, the time poser gets to a whole new level. Practices, games, volunteering, sports diet and all that extra time you need to put in can be pretty daunting. If this has been bothering you, here are some tips that can help you manage your time efficiently, and finally get some free time to spend some happy moments with your family, and some peaceful moments with yourself. Sounds like a thing you want to do? Read on.

Carpool

This should be on the top of your list. Driving kids around is one of the most time sucking tasks of all. Carpooling brings in the sanity. And other parents would be game too, it’s a win-win. InstaTeam’s carpool feature is easy, convenient and will save you loads of time. You just need to choose the names of the kids for carpooling, InstaTeam will extract address off the roster and automatically create the best pickup/drop route based on locations. Not only this, the carpool feature, in-sync with Google Maps, will help you navigate from one location to another. People in the carpooling group can choose which days who picks up, feed it in the schedule and you will get reminders and notifications for carpooling too.

Food

More than making food, planning what to make takes time. And to top it, food for athletes cannot be random, it needs to be planned keeping dietary requirements of the child in mind. It needs to be balanced with proteins, carbohydrates and essential nutrients. Consult the child’s coach, the dietician (if you are referring to one), and prepare a month’s meal chart. Plan for a week in advance. Make sure all ingredients for the entire week’s meals are stocked up. Also ensure whatever preparation can be done in advance is done during the weekend. For instance, you can dice veggies and put them in air-tight containers or zipper bags and store in the refrigerator. Investing a little time on the weekend can save you a load of time during the week. Prepare whatever you can, and keep in the fridge.

Technology

Time crunch? Technology can be both, boon or the bane depending on how you use it. Your bank app can help you set automatic payment of bills such that you do not waste time on the same thing every month. InstaTeam can help you with team coordination and communication, and take burden off unnecessary messaging or email chains. From online grocery shopping to budget management, your smart phone can be your best tool for convenience of all kinds.

While technology is a savior, games and social -media addition can be a real spoiler. If you’re are too much of either of these, you need to come out of it, immediately. Use self-help groups, therapy or whatever it takes to come out of it.

Helping Hands

Chores around the house need to be equally distributed. Everyone should get some work so that no one person burns out fast. Again, you can use InstaTeam to set tasks for everyone in the family.

Say No When You Can

You do not have to compulsorily volunteer at the game or in the school. No bake sales or community service if you do not have the time. Under commit, under play, and you’ll be a happy soul. Sometimes, simply concentrating on the basics you can buy yourself the peace of mind that you so deserve.


Read More
      edit

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Published Tuesday, September 10, 2019 with 44 comments

InstaTeam: Sports, Events and Beyond



You’ve probably experienced first-hand how InstaTeam does wonders in sports team management by automating mundane tasks, streamlining co-ordination and facilitating real-time connection within the team. Here’s how InstaTeam is being used outside of sports as a platform for communication and coordination.

Hobby Groups

From biking clubs to budding poet’s society to book clubs to music groups, people who pursue a hobby alongside their job, prefer spending least possible time on communication and coordination of the group, they’d rather use that time in actually doing the activity. For instance, when this biking club from Florida decided to hit the road over a weekend biking tour, the planning and communication was handled on InstaTeam. “Everyone was on the same page, everyone knew who’s doing what and there was no room for confusion and miscommunication. Our biking tour was perfect, thanks to InstaTeam”, says Timothy Jenson, an active participant of the biking club.

Similarly, there’s a meditation group in Vermont. The group has members across 2-4 states on the East Coast. They use InstaTeam for all their group activities.

Parties/Get-togethers

Whether it’s an office party or a neighborhood barbeque, InstaTeam can be a great platform to bring people together, keep information handy and available, yet save otherwise spent time on communication and coordination. Even better, if it is a party wherein people contribute, InstaTeam’s payment feature can make life easier for everyone. The accounts are transparent and automatic payment reminders and notifications save you from running behind people.

Housing Associations

There is so much of communication and coordination involved in housing and apartment associations that it just makes logical sense to get all members on InstaTeam. This Seniors’ Condo Association in Oklahoma relies on InstaTeam for their communication and coordination. Whether it’s a fund raiser or bake sale or 4th of July Celebration, the entire neighborhood comes together. “We love InstaTeam because all relevant information can be put on the schedule, and unnecessary messages for each and everything are not required. With messaging apps, the whole day my phone would go beeping, and mostly important messages were lost in the long trail of useless banter,” says Billy Brown, a 76-year-old resident.

Church

Be it the Sunday Mass or a Holiday celebration or some other event, a lot of communication and coordination goes into it. InstaTeam not only facilitates communication, also provides a convenient platform to be in touch, but not be overwhelmed with information and communication. It helps in, as we like to call it, ‘non-intrusive’ communication. And since people can easily find teams in the vicinity, it has become even easier for the church to reach out.



Read More
      edit

Monday, 9 September 2019

Published Monday, September 09, 2019 with 1 comment

How to Capture Sports Action on Your Smartphone





Most sports parents are near obsessed with their little ones sweating it out on the field. Taking photographs that capture those million-dollar expressions and beautiful moments and uploading those precious pics on social media is a huge craze. And with smartphones to our disposal, every parent is a photographer. Although, you cannot compare DSLR to a phone camera, but you do not need a pro camera to capture action-packed shots, a smart phone camera will do just fine. All you need is a natural panache for photography and a few insider tips.

Looking for the insider tips? Read on.

The first thing you need to do is make a goal. What is it you want on your camera the most? Action-packed game shots, or post game celebrations, players in their idle moments, or all of it? Once you know what you want to capture, find yourself the right place from where you can capture it. try and find a spot where the backdrop is the least cluttered. A clear backdrop will accentuate the emotion in your photograph. After finding the spot, timing is going to be important. Again, if it’s the game shot, then you need to be alert and, in the game, ready to capture the sensational action as it happens. If you get distracted, you will miss the shot for sure. Do not socialize, check messages or social media, or start taking selfies, focus on the moment. Also remember, sometimes the emotion can be more interesting than the action. For instance, instead of focusing in the home run, you could capture the pitcher’s priceless expression. Similarly, you can get some really fun shots when players celebrate a victory.

The next important thing to remember is that stand close to action, as close as you can. Smartphone cameras cannot compete with the DSLRs whose lens can zoom into distance and still make an amazing pic. Smartphone camera pics are not good with the zoom feature, the quality goes for a toss.

One of the most important virtues of a good photographer is patience. you know what you want to capture, you’ve found your spot, now you need to patiently wait for the moment to come to you. Waiting, ready to click, is the key. You lose patience, you’ll lose the shot.

The next important tip is to know your camera well. you need to read, experiment and learn by practice what setting works best. If the in-built camera app isn’t that great, you can download a camera app. Keep in mind that any app you use, the camera’s shutter speed should be good to be able to avoid burry pics. Sometimes you can adjust it in the settings, sometimes an external app helps, totally depends on the model and make of your phone. You can read up, there’s enough information on the internet regarding smartphone cameras.

Last but not the least, learn to react to action. A great shot lies around the action. You just need to know where to look. For instance, while capturing a great hit, you might get a great reaction from the pitcher. Now that’s your precious shot.



Read More
      edit

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Published Tuesday, September 03, 2019 with 76 comments

Ensure Safe and Fun Carpooling For Kids



 For sports parents, carpooling comes as a life savior. Imagine the time and energy you save by driving your kid to the practice for just once a week instead of four or more.

Although a boon, carpooling comes with just one concern for most parents – safety. We are often very careful about safety while driving with our kids. But when you use carpooling, how do you ensure safety for your kid? If you are also bothered with this concern, here are a few tips to help you all champions in the car are safe, and enjoying.

Create a Safety Guideline

While safety is your concern, it may very well be the concern for other parents too. Perhaps it’s a good idea to share safety guidelines with your carpooling group. Nothing stringent, but simple tips like refraining from cell phones while driving, ensuring children are all buckled up, etc. See the rules in your state regarding harness seat, booster seats and seat belts. Take consent from all parents, they might have a point or two to share. Make sure all parents are on the same page. And once your list of rules/tips is ready, share them with the entire team on InstaTeam.

Have an Emergency Contact List for Every Child Readily Available

Although InstaTeam has the roster for every child which takes care of the emergency contact list, but keeping a print out of the emergency contacts for each child in the vehicle the kids are travelling, is highly recommended. Some people also recommend having a file in which each child’s medical history (if any) and medical insurance details should also be mentioned.

Plan and Have a Carpool Schedule

Carpooling with InstaTeam is a breeze. There’s a group. You can create a carpool schedule that is shared with all the parents. Each parent knows exactly when to drive and life for everyone is organized. InstaTeam also creates the optimum route for pickup and drop, keeping all account of all the addresses and routes. But if for some reason you are not carpooling using InstaTeam, make sure you create a carpool plan, feed it in your digital calendar, create events and set reminders. Always pre-plan for a week in advance. Planning it too early also can cause a lot of last-minute changes since working people’s schedule may not always be predictable. Also, if there are any last-minute changes, ensure every single parent in the group is properly informed, and try and take acknowledgement.

Be the Parent You Wish Your Child Travels With

Since you are taking others’ kids with you, be extra careful to be on showcase model behavior. Be sure to behave responsibly. Refrain from cell phone usage, blaring loud music, don’t let kids get into arguments or fights in the car, do not stop for personal errands before you’ve dropped kids, always be on time both for pickup and drop. If you do get late, be sure you inform the group and the coach, or make alternate arrangements.

Read More
      edit

Monday, 2 September 2019

Published Monday, September 02, 2019 with 54 comments

Balance Your Work-Sports-Family life with InstaTeam


 
Being a sports parent requires extra commitment of time and resources. Driving kids for their practice, keeping tab on the schedule, managing busy sports routine, special diet, healthy lifestyle; so mostly you are on your toes running from one errand to another.

While there is a lot to do, if planned properly, the whole schedule can be followed smoothly, reducing stress and anxiety. InstaTeam, the Sports Team Management App, helps get organized, saving a lot of confusion and unnecessary running around, helping achieve an ideal work-sports-family life balance. Here are some of InstaTeam features that make it easier to things sorted and stay in the game.

Calendar – Any event that is recorded in the InstaTeam app automatically gets recorded in the InstaTeam calendar. The calendar can also be synced with your Google calendar or other digital calendar on your smart phone. You can see all events in one calendar and accordingly plan your day and your week. You also get reminders for your events, which means you cannot really forget a practice match or refreshments you were scheduled to take for kids for a match.

Carpool – Parents can form their carpool group and schedule carpool on the InstaTeam app. The app will create the optimum route for carpool, and using maps will guide through every pick-up and to the venue. It’s super convenient and everyone saves a whole lot of time.

Communication – Any important message or a change in the schedule can be sent to everyone in the group at once. Coaches/admins can see who’s read the messages. People can mark their attendance on the app itself. Volunteering can also be done on the app. Basically, all information is available to everyone, avoiding a lot of chain mails, one-on-one communication that got missed out in the group, and a whole lot of communication confusion that otherwise occurs.

Payment – Coaching fee, uniforms, gear, fundraiser, tickets, season fee, all of this and more can be managed from the InstaTeam app super easily. You don’t even have to keep track, if there’s a payment due, you’ll get a reminder.

Social Media – Manage social media from your InstaTeam app. Post pictures, share stuff, and live stream games through the app.

Most of these things might not seem like a lot of work individually, but when combined together, they eat up a good chunk of your time. And then there’s juggling between apps, remembering stuff and keep updating on each app, all of which can be very taxing. InstaTeam scores better over a messaging app as it has all the above-mentioned features integrated into the same application. You do not need to maintain different accounts, remember stuff and get into communication and coordination for so many different things. With InstaTeam, you have all the information you need, instant communication and reminders, notifications etc. at your finger-tips, literally! Now, go spend some quality time with your young champion.
Read More
      edit