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Technology evolves rapidly and permeates all areas of our lives from family logistics to school communication to student health and safety, "tech" is ever present.
While digital tools might not be the top priority when you think about improving your department, today’s top athletic departments understand that embracing digital transitions keeps them ahead of the curve when it comes to compliance, communication, and overall success.
If your athletic program has been relying on the same old policies, processes, and tools for more than a couple years, it's time to think about purpose-built athletic management technology.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how technology delivers a stronger experience to coaches, athletes, and parents.
How technology improves athletic programs
Technology can transform every facet of your athletic program. Here are a few ways smart technologies can help you take your program to the next level — and stay there.
1. Streamline registration
While paper might have gotten the job done well enough in the past, it creates security, privacy, and communication loopholes that can be easily eliminated with cloud-based technologies.
Beyond paper, some online systems are built simply for registration. But you need more. You need the right information in the right hands at the right time to call mom, prevent a medical emergency, or deliver a roster.
Parents appreciate a 24/7/365 resource that saves data from season-to-season and year-to-year, eliminating duplication and allowing for real-time health, safety, and information updates. Give them what they want and you'll be surprised how their confidence in your program rises.
2. Improve health and safety
In an age of litigation, lawsuits, and liability, it’s more important than ever for athletic directors to take a proactive stance to health, safety, and injury management.
You need a system that seamlessly delivers department, district, and state required forms and policies (think physical, concussion, sudden cardiac arrest, and heat illness forms) at the beginning of the year and as legislation or policies evolve.
Further, the right solution empowers medical professionals to alert coaches and parents to when return-to-play statuses change. Similarly, medical professionals can receive alerts when parents update a student's record.
Add it all up, and digital athletic management systems enable you to build a healthier and safer athletic program.
3. Eliminate spreadsheets
Ask any coach who’s managed teams with spreadsheets, and they’ll tell you the same thing: It’s a nightmare. After all, your staffers and coaches sign up to help athletes reach their full potential — not to copy, paste, and stare at spreadsheets.
All the information needed to run a program is available via mobile, accessible, and affordable technologies.
In other words, technology can make a coach’s job a lot easier — which has the added bonus of making it simpler to hire and retain coaches.
4. Improve communication
Successful sports programs are built on effective communication.
Not only do coaches need to communicate with athletes, they also need to communicate with parents and assistants regarding canceled practices, rescheduled games, and transportation issues.
Athletic directors also need to keep stakeholders updated on policies and regulations (think COVID-19 protocols).
In the past, much of this communication was facilitated through snail-mail, email and phone calls. As you can imagine, there’s a better way forward.
Leading solutions allow you to centralize and track communication, even send messages to specific sets of users. Imagine clicking clicking once to view and email all "parents of senior athletes in a fall sport"... yes, it's possible!
Athletic Director Justin Anderson talk about how FinalForms transformed his athletic program at Central City High School (NE).
5. Ensure compliance
When you’re using paper or primitive online registration, it’s essentially impossible for you to be certain that you’re complying with all relevant department, district, and state requirements. In the worst-case scenario, a missing form, signature, or check box can result in a safety, health, legal, and public relations nightmare.
Modern athletic program management solutions actually help you sleep better at night. No joke! You can rest easy knowing that the best technology provides time-stamped AD alerts, coach reminders, and parent notifications regarding eligibility and medical statuses to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
At the same time, at-a-glance dashboard allows athletic directors to assess whether an athlete or team is cleared to compete within moments on a mobile device. It's actually that easy.
6. Prepare for emergencies
Imagine you’re at a track meet when one of your runners collapses. What's next?
Your prompt action depends on your registration system. Which one of these three are you?
- Using paper? You're outta luck. Papers are on the bus.
- Digital, but dated? Outta luck again. Information in inaccessible and out-of-date.
- Real-time, mobile access? Great! You've got up-to-date emergency medical information (think allergies) and emergency contacts (think mom) on your device. Click. Call. Care.
With a digital solution in place, coaches can rapidly access all relevant athlete information via mobile e-cards, any time, anywhere. As a result, you are prepared to handle any athlete’s unique situation during an emergency.
7. Keep costs down
Choosing leading technology can even help with inventory management. Think about it. Your rosters and coaches are in a single system, so why not use that system to assign equipment and even assess fees for non-returned items.
Missing helmets, medical equipment, and team uniforms can add up. Instead of accepting lost equipment as the norm, you can easily track who has which items, who’s returned them, and who owes for them — making it easy to prevent loss and recover dollars.
8. Access digital records
Uh oh, legal is on the line. You need to know:
- Was coach certified?
- When did coach sign the form?
- When did mom sign the form?
- When did the athlete sign the form?
- When did the injury occur?
- What was documented?
- Was return-to-play protocol followed?
- Do we have a physician's clearance?
- When did the athlete return to action?
While these situations aren't frequent (at least we hope not!) they result in hours of distractions and sleepless nights. Centralized technologies can help you with everything from registration to coach certification to injury documentation.
With everything in one place, the answers to these questions is just a couple clicks away!
Is it time to elevate the role technology plays in your athletic program?
As you can see, technology impacts your athletic program and your job satisfaction. In order to create the positive impact, you have to use the right team, technology, and service to help keep you current with requirements and keep your athletes healthy and on the field.
As a complete athletic management solution, FinalForms is built by a team that includes coaches and athletes that understand all of this.
Schedule a demo today to learn more about the easiest way to transform your athletic program with technology, improving outcomes on the scoreboard and in the lives of your stakeholders.