Monday, 27 April 2020

Published Monday, April 27, 2020 with 2 comments

Managing Teams In The Wake of Pandemic

With the Coronavirus pandemic shutting down practically everything around the globe, everyone’s affected. Youth sports clubs have been looking forward to practices and games being resumed, which is extremely uncertain as of now. There are parents who’ve paid sports clubs for coaching their child, with no coaching happening, they are anxious about their fees. A worse nightmare for sports clubs is when it comes to new registrations – do they accept new registrations? And if they don’t, would they have mid-season registrations at all? How do youth sports club survive the lockdown?
These are difficult questions. And working out a solution may require you to consider a number of factors. The answer may not be same for every club. Here are a few ways clubs can deal with the uncertainty.
Online Training
Lockdown or no lockdown, kids need their exercise every day. In fact, during this fight with the virus, immunity is all the more important. Parents may not be able to conduct physical training for the child on a regular basis. That is where the club becomes important. Coordinate with the team players and parents on InstaTeam. Fix up a daily time and coaches can conduct online physical training sessions for the team.
New Registrations
Your club can decide to open up new registrations, but this might not have a lot of takers. The economy is affected, people are already facing the fear of salary cuts or mass layoffs. This is not the best time to make money. But if you do find takers for registrations, you can choose to have a part of the registration fee now, and rest later when the lockdown opens up. You can also offer parents to pay in instalments. But you might want to check up with the authorities as to how does it work out in your state. Another good practice for new registrations will be to offer them discount, and take registrations towards future training.
Refunds
All said and done, some parents would want refunds. You need the money for your overhead costs, but you can let go of the profit. Explain the situation to parents and offer partial refunds. You are not alone in this situation of financial crisis, people will understand. And if you do come across someone whose situation is dire straits, like they’ve been laid off or something, you might want to consider that as an exception and deal with the case as appropriate.
Donations
To keep the club running, you need funds. If you offer refunds, you may find it difficult to carry on. Be transparent and ask for help. There will be parents, members of the community or even corporates that would be willing to give donations.
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Published Monday, April 27, 2020 with 0 comment

Communication During Crisis


Sports clubs don’t prepare or plan for situations like the Coronavirus pandemic and social distancing. Nobody does. But we are stuck in this situation, not for good. People are scared, it’s a social quandary out there. The last thing you need in a situation like this is miscommunication.
The problem is that with social media, there is no tab on communication and miscommunication. Misleading messages, quack recipes of antidotes, and what not. As the athletic director, or the coach of the team who wants the best for their team, you wouldn’t want your team to fall in trap of spurious information, or get caught in an emotionally stifling state.
At InstaTeam, we understand the value of right communication and team connection. If you’ve been deliberating about a communication strategy for your team, here’s some help.
Choose leaders
The first step is to choose people who will take control of the communication within a team. For each team choose a captain, preferably a player. If the team consists of players less than 14 years of age, you can choose one of the parents. There will be loads of coordinating required. For instance if you have decided on virtual physical training alongside some game-strategy classes that you want to hold, you’ll need the team captain to communicate and coordinate with the team for the same.
Make ground rules
The team players, captains or parents, no one should be allowed to send out any information on the pandemic until that comes from the coach or athletic director of the club. Period.
Be proactive
Think of all the issues worrying parents and players, send messages answering those specific concerns before you are asked about them. For instance, parents would want to know how does the fees work, while there is no field practice, or players might want to know if just a few games are cancelled or the whole season is? Make official communication about these things at the earliest, since uncertainty creates unrest.
Create your FAQs
There would be so many things people might want to ask. It would be best to prepare a list of FAQs and put it up on the club/school website. Share the link with the team.
Offer help or link to resources that help
It is a difficult time. People are going to need help. Offer talk sessions for the team where everyone can talk about how they are feeling. If you find someone in distress, offer help. There are councillors who are dedicatedly handling cases of mental and emotional distress caused by the pandemic. There are helpline numbers for each state, ask team members to reach out.
Trust InstaTeam
InstaTeam’s notifications feature is the perfect way to communicate, especially during this kind of a situation. With a two way messenger, people fall in the trap of unnecessary arbitrary discussions that lead to nothing and the real message is lost. With InstaTeam, you can live stream coach messages, important information from the authorities etc.
If you are looking for any assistance with your communication plan, do contact us, we’d be happy to help. Email us – support@instateam.net.





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Thursday, 16 April 2020

Published Thursday, April 16, 2020 with 0 comment

The Subtle Art of Attracting Sponsors for Your Youth Sports Team


With the Coronavirus scare and social distancing everything seems to have come to a halt, especially sports. Kids cannot come for practice, there are no games happening and definitely no events taking place. While this is not the best time for a youth sports club that would otherwise be buzzing with activity, it can be a good time to sit back and think, put on some marketing hats and work on a strategy for the club, or solve operational and administrative problems your club’s been facing.
If you have been struggling with getting sponsorships for your youth sports teams, here are some tips to help you elevate your offering and provide a compelling sponsorship package.
Step 1 – Define Your Offering
A great sponsorship package has a great offering. To get the details right, break down your offering further into categories –
  1. Visibility value – This defines the value that the sponsors would get. You could determine for how much money, you will give how much brand exposure. Jot down all the details like press releases, print advertisements, banners at the venue, visibility in marketing material, social media exposure etc.
  2. Target audience – Defining your target audience is a must. For instance, your team consists of nine-year-olds playing baseball, you can expect young parents to be the audience. If it’s a high school team, you’d be looking at a predominantly young crowd, alongside parents.
  3. Marketing – You must define all the places you are going to promote the events of the team, all the places the team will play matches and every single marketing detail. Are you going to promote the events on the local radio channel? The potential sponsor should have a clear picture of the visibility they’ll get.
Step 2 – Potential Sponsors
Put together a list of all the potential sponsors from your area. Create a value preposition for each one of them. Creating a value proposition would mean identifying their specific marketing needs and creating brand visibility around these needs. Work around the marketing wish-list of each potential sponsor, and create a compelling value preposition.
For instance, a specific potential sponsor may be interested in increasing local business, or would be looking for increasing visibility amongst a specific demographic, answer those concerns directly.
Step 3 – Create Yardsticks for Measuring Success
If someone has put in the money, it’s just natural that they want results. Define the metrics of measuring success. This can be tricky, but with technology you can do it. For instance, the exact increase in website traffic can be measured, social media response can be measured, email marketing can be measured etc. Then there’ll be increase in business, customer retention etc. which would be difficult for you as an outsider of the business to measure. But you can put together a customer feedback for getting an insight into some of that.
The InstaTeam Advantage
All of this information put together can provide a compelling sponsorship package. InstaTeam app has the options to provide customized offers to team app users. This can be a very lucrative offering for a business that gets direct access to people’s smart phones without spending a fortune. InstaTeam also has the option to promote local business, which again is a great way of getting the benefit of mobile marketing without burning your pockets. If you want to add this offering to your value preposition, please get in touch with us, we would be more than happy to assist you. Email us on – support@instateam.net.


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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Published Wednesday, April 15, 2020 with 1 comment

Keeping Young Athletes Occupied During Social Distancing


It’s not just about the cancelling of sports events, or disappointment of sports fans, but it is also about the skills and life style of the young athlete that’s affected due to social distancing, and in some cases lockdown.
When athletes are groomed for sports, they undergo a certain routine, a manner that brings in method and discipline in their approach to the sport and to anything in life. they are taught to believe in the team as a family. They eat healthy, stay fit and don’t just believe in team spirit, but live by it. Sports is not just a part of their life, but their complete lifestyle. And now, because of the virus when youth athletes are asked to give up on all of that, it’s huge ask. There will be emotional and psychological repercussions to this, but worse, their sports lifestyle and sports skills may backslide. Coaches may have to start all over again.
That would be a nightmare.
Fortunately, athletic directors, CEOs of sports clubs and coaches of youth sports teams have been deliberating about it. Here are a few expert tips to keep youth athletes constructively occupied during these testing times.
Work on the game skill
Before the game is played on the field, it is strategized on the board. Work on game strategy with your team. Teach them all about planning the game, choosing moves, defending, attacking covering for your team, and all the theory about the game that you’ve always wanted to tell, but never got the time off practice. There are resources available on the internet, sports manuals that can help you organize your lessons. When you start compiling your lessons, you will realize there’s so much you can do in theory as well.
Conduct regular training sessions
To break the monotonous tone of theory lectures, keep regular physical training sessions. You can conduct these sessions during a scheduled time wherein you can live stream physical training session on the InstaTeam app for the entire team. This will help the team on many levels, including keeping the team connect in place, physical fitness of the team players and keeping their spirits high with the workout.
Support the athletes
All said, this is a stressful time. There may be occasions on which the athletes may need counselling or emotional support. Look out for signs of depression or disinterest. Have sessions with parents to make them aware of spotting signs of mental or emotional distress. Talk to the athletes. Reassure them of your support. Tell them it’s okay to feel sad, lonely or distressed and they should talk to a trusted adult if they feel any of it.
Keep them engaged
Give them tasks, send motivational quotes, conduct training; find creative ways to keep them engaged. If not anything else, ask them to work on social media campaigns to promote the club. Although, coming up with intriguing stuff to keep athletes engaged every single time can be a challenge, but isn’t that what sports is all about?
Encourage team-time
Training sessions, live streaming, social media uploads, InstaTeaming; encourage the team to stay connected. The team connect, amongst all things, is one of the most important aspects of sports. The team connect has to live. Make it live.






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Monday, 13 April 2020

Published Monday, April 13, 2020 with 0 comment

One (egg) For The Team


Young athletes have had to give-up on so many things, the joy of Holidays should not be one of them. Coach Cooper of Mesa, Arizona is using InstaTeam to organize a virtual egg hunt this Easter for his team. “Before even little athletes could learn to be a team, they have gone into social distancing. We need to do activities as a team, such that children relate to it”, says Cooper.
Coaches need to get creative to involve the younger athletes into team activities, else there could be emotional problems. Kids may find it hard to blend into the team. With this premise, Coach Cooper has organized a virtual egg hunt for his team. Coach has made egg shaped colourful cut-outs that are hidden in his backyard. He will use live-streaming with his team and go around the garden. The team players have to spot the eggs. Each player gets a point for spotting an egg. At the end of the game, the scores are totalled and each player gets candies equal to the number of eggs they spotted during the virtual egg hunt.
Parents have also welcomed the idea. Parents would wrap the candies in fancy packaging with team logo pasted on the pack to make it look like a team gift. “Staying connected is important. My eight year old son gets anxious with the idea of being around people. He fears the virus will infect him”, says Joan, a team parent. “Desperate times, desperate measures. But we are pleased Coach Cooper is keeping the team activity going. Hope there will be more action of this sort to keep kids active and engaged”, adds Beth, another team parent.
Kids are looking forward to the activity and so are the parents. Social distancing has started impacting adults and kids alike. During this testing time, it is absolutely important that people stay connected, active and engaged.
We at InstaTeam are there for you. If you have some interesting idea of team engagement, share it with us, we might be able to help make the idea work. With so many features on InstaTeam that facilitate connection, communication and coordination with the team, there is so much that coaches and parents can do keep kids engaged. Wish to do something for your team, talk to us. You can use the InstaTeam app to send us your message. We would love to be of any help at all.
Happy Easter! And happy InstaTeaming!


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Thursday, 9 April 2020

Published Thursday, April 09, 2020 with 4 comments

Coping With Corona – Tips For Youth Sports Community

The corona virus pandemic has impacted our lives like nothing in modern history has, not even the world wars. The fear of contact with the community, your friends and family had caused a huge psychological distress. It’s a difficult time for everyone; parents, coaches and young athletes alike. To make it worse, media has been obsessing with the pandemic so much that no part of our lives seems to be untouched, not socialmedia, not television, nothing. Fortunately, mental and emotional health practitioners are helping people get over the effects of the pandemic and sail through the fluid situation. If you’ve been feeling anxious, it would be a good idea to seek help.
It is real
The first thing you need to do is accept the fact that this is happening, it is real. In many countries people failed to take the threat of the pandemic seriously and as a result it became community spread, spread beyond control. If you’ve been in denial mode, don’t be. Tell children they can’t play or catch-up with their friends and that is for their own safety.
It’s emotionally draining
The pandemic effects, social distancing and lockdown is affecting everyone differently. People are going through all sorts of emotions – fear, loneliness, anxiety, distress, confusion, anger, disappointment etc. People all across the globe are going through this. While physical distance is a compulsion, emotional connection is a must. Stay virtually connected with your friends and family. Stay connected with your teams. Use InstaTeam to create some engaging events like virtual workout or healthiest food competition, anything that brings the team into action. If not anything else, share motivational or funny quotes/pictures. Look for ways in which the focus of the team shifts from the virus and its effects to something positively engaging.
Sort priorities
With lockdown and supply of essential services going down, you need to make a list of basic needs like staple food, water, toiletries and essentials. Since many people may face job-cuts and salary-cuts, it is essential that you take stock of all your resources, income, savings etc. and concentrate on getting basics, only basics for now. This is an uncharted territory, and the best one can prepare is being ready for the unexpected. That said, health and immunity is an essential, and even more critical at this during this crisis. Motivate the team to exercise and stay positive.
Stay connected
Loneliness can cause a great deal of anxiety which can have distressing repercussions. Keep the team connected. InstaTeam app provides a whole lot of ways to stay connected. Schedule virtual events, send notifications, share photos and videos and of course, connect on social media. Plus, when you connect through InstaTeam, you connect as a team. Teams are important. Members of the team, be it coach or the players, even the parents to a large extent, all look after one another. They’ve got each other’s backs, and that is one of the most important things to surviving sanely through this testing time.
Keep the team updated
While parents, coaches and adults advise kids to stay away from media because they are trying to protect them from unnecessary noise about coronavirus, it is essential that kids know the reality. Take charge of keeping the kids abreast the situation. The figures are rapidly changing, situation is continuously evolving. Tell the important and relevant bits to kids through InstaTeam notification or team text.
Health is vital
From physical fitness to emotional wellbeing, health is important to survive the virus. Devise a workout plan and make players follow the plan with no exceptions. Workout, yoga, aerobics etc, include new forms of exercise and keep variety so that kids don’t get bored doing the same thing over and over again. At any point you feel it’s getting too much, seek help. There are helplines and websites that are helping people across the country.
This too shall pass!




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