Travel can be stressful at any time but when you are trying to organize travel for a team, it can be down right chaotic. Having been a Manager for my children’s soccer, football and hockey teams, I have learned to master the skill of organization!
Here are some helpful tips I’ve learned along the way:
Accommodations: Once you receive notice of your tournament dates, get on the phone and reserve your room block. Many tournaments are sponsored by a local hotel or use a third party reservation company. While sometimes these can yield great deals on rates, it’s not always the case. Make sure you do a bit of research and make a few phone calls just to make sure.
Food: Players need to eat and knowing what amenities are close by is essential. If you want to have a team dinner, make sure you check to see if your hotel has a room that you can reserve for a night and if so, book it when you block the rooms. Double check if there is a charge! Pizza dinners are a popular choice for teams. Many local pizza places will give a discount to teams for large orders. Once again, you may need to do a bit of research and order well in advance. If you are going out to an establishment for your team dinner, get your numbers and reserve as early as possible.
Tournament Schedule and Directions: There is nothing worse than getting those frantic calls from parents or players wondering what time their game is or where the field or rink is located. The tournament host team should have all the information on their website. So sending the website link is an easy way to share the info with parents. Tournament scores and standings are usually updated on the website as well; so it’s a great way to keep track of how your team is doing. Make sure to also check ahead of time if any of your game times conflict with rush hour or any known construction issues that would result in increased travel time.
Just In Case Kit: No matter what sport you are playing, it is inevitable that a player forgets something. Having that extra mouth guard, stick tape, jersey, uniform socks, water bottle, etc. can be a life saver. While you can’t have an extra of everything, it is great when you can fix the little things without sending everyone into a panic.