The world has changed drastically in the digital age and this is no different for the world of sports. The way we train, track performance and measure growth have all been enhanced by technology; how we compete and what we’re able to take away from the experience. As coaches always looking for an edge, leveraging technology effectively can give you a huge competitive advantage. Today we’ll look at a technology that is, quite literally, changing the game. Sports communication apps.
Sports communication apps are a fundamental building block for the modern sports team. They allow coaches to communicate with athletes, track their roster, keep up to date with parents and perform countless other tasks that swallowed up hours for the coaches of yesterday.
What does that mean for you? Less time away from your family, easier communication with your team and more time doing what you actually love. Coaching!
In this article, we’ll review some of the best technology on the market and explain how to use it to get the most from your team.
Why Use Sports Communications Apps?
Maybe you’ve noticed, but we live in a crazy world…
Some coaches resist using technology. They do things “the old-fashioned way”, opting to only communicate with athletes during practice or games. To these coaches, I have just one thing to say.
Thanks for the edge.
Teams that leverage technology are more efficient, more connected and more motivated than those that do not. Sports communication apps let your athletes know when practices and games are, automatically update athletes and their families in case of a cancellation or rescheduling and allow you to track your roster to know in advance who will be there and who won’t be.
What’s more, coaching is a demanding job. In the past coaches spent countless hours sending out emails about cancellations, coordinating with parents and worrying about these administrative details.
Many new coaches get blindsided with that part of the job and can get so bogged down trying to coordinate and manage everything, the spark which made them love coaching in the first place begins to burn itself out.
For most coaches, we didn’t get into coaching for the admin…
Now, technology is removing that hurdle. These apps can handle with the click of a button what used to take hours, and free you up for the parts of coaching you actually love!
So let’s get into it and explore how these apps can help you not only take care of your team, but take care of you as Coach as well.
TeamApp is an intuitive tool that allows you to create your own app for your team!
The app builder provides full customization. You can upload your team logo, choose your colors, and even choose the buttons for your app.
Each button has on / off capability. You can allow, or prevent, a wide range of functionality including push notifications, creating events, live chat, sending news, updating live scores and even promoting sponsors!
You can also select “target groups” to send specific notifications to. Let’s say you make a group with all of your staff, athletes, and parents. The app will allow you to send notifications to the whole group, but also targeted communications to just the staff, or just the athletes.
This gives coaches unprecedented control over their ability to communicate. Need to schedule a staff meeting? Need to update the parents with some information? Want to send a heartfelt message out to just your athletes after a big win or tough loss?
TeamApp gives you the ability to do all of this with the touch of a button!
All you need to do is download the app and set up an account. Then, customize the app to make it just right for your team. You can also access the admin functions at the TeamApp website.
Once you’ve created everything, get everyone who you want in the loop to download the apps on their own phones, and log in using your team account information.
When they download the app and register, a request will be sent to your phone and you can either approve or deny their request.
As soon as everyone is registered, you can go ahead and begin taking your team communication to the next level!
Heja is a sports communication app that brings together the entire community.
Plus with over 120,000 teams and 15 years of experience, Heja is an app that knows exactly what it is doing!
From athletes and parents, to friends, family, and supporters, Heja allows communication between everyone in one simple app.
One aspect of Heja that coaches may enjoy is that not everything has to run directly through the admin.
Parents can work amongst themselves to figure out carpooling, the team can message each other and build up their cohesiveness, and coaches can work together to figure out the logistics without clogging up the group chat.
Heja, like many of the other team management apps, allows you to upload your schedule into a simple interface that updates everyone who needs to know.
Any coach who has used these apps before will tell you, there’s a bit of an adoption and learning curve with any new app. Heja helps this by also synching with your personal calendars, allowing coaches and parents to update their own schedules with the team schedule on Heja.
Heja has a pretty substantial free version, probably enough for most coaches’ needs.
However, there is a Standard version for $50 per year that allows for document sharing, attendance tracking, and up to 3 admins.
There’s also a Pro version for around $8 per month that tacks on Desktop access, payment tracking, and unlimited admins.
Teamer is another free app that allows you to manage many aspects of your team all in one place.
With over 2 million members, it is also one of the giants in sports communication applications. If they have that many users, they must be doing something right.
Upload your schedule and Teamer will send out app notifications for everyone to see.
Bad weather causing a cancellation? Let everyone know with the touch of a button.
Teamer also allows players to update their availability. This helps when creating a game plan, as you will know who will and won’t be there for game day.
With real-time updates, you can manage roster and see availability 24/7/365.
Teamer also allows for free payment processing, a feature many other apps make you pay for. This means you can collect match fees, team fees, or any other payment needed to run the team all in one place.
SportsEngine is a bit more complex than some other platforms, but with a robust front-end that can handle just about anything in the wide world of sports.
While it does handle team management well, SportsEngine truly shines when it comes to events.
A cloud-based solution, it allows participants to sign up for an event using Facebook, Twitter, or email, integrating flawlessly with other technologies.
And if you ever do need support, they offer support via email, live chat, and phone!
SportsEngine’s Tourney feature is ideal for coaches or ADs who are organizing any kind of tournament or championship.
Participants are able to keep up to date with online scores, standings, and schedules. It also updates in real-time regarding any schedule or venue changes.
Tournaments are some of the best parts of sports and serve as some of the fondest memories in these young athletes’ lives, but also tend to be a logistical nightmare.
SportsEngine takes that nightmare and rubs out all the kinks so your tournament is up and running, ready to give young athletes a magical experience!
The app is also useful for running events such as camps, clinics, or team fundraisers. Parents can sign up, pay (or donate in the case of a fundraiser), and be updated about details all with the click of a button!
One drawback of SportsEngine is price. While they do offer a free version, it’s pretty limited in terms of team management features. The Premium subscription starts at $69 per month.
BAND is an adaptable, streamlined group communication app that allows you to keep in constant contact with your athletes and parents.
The first thing users will see when they enter the interface is the Community Board. This serves as your team’s hub, where you can post important information, even adding attachments. You don’t have to worry about these things disappearing, they’ll stick around as long as you want them to.
You can also double check on who has or has not read the post by using the “Read By” section for each post. This let’s you know who has been clued in, and who may need a private message to get up to speed.
BAND also allows you to prioritize messages and send them straight to the top, or pin upcoming events for all to see. Members can also be notified whenever there is a new post, message, or event for them to view.
BAND also has some pretty impressive group features such as;
- Location Pinning (for the game field)
- Bill Splits for team dinners
- Sign Up Sheets.
All said and done, BAND is an excellent option for any team that wants to become a true community!
If you are coaching young athletes, then Family App is the way to go!
FamilyApp isn’t necessarily designed for sports use, but its technology functions perfectly as a team management system.
Whereas some of the other apps focus more on stats and logistics, FamilyApp shines when it comes to communication.
It allows you to build a shareable schedule, set up events and meetings, and field responses on whether families will be able to attend.
However, FamilyApp has a really intuitive, simple-to-use messaging system that is great for streamlining communication. It also allows you to share photos over an end-to-end encrypted system.
For coaches of younger teams, the photo-sharing will help to engage and light up the world of any parents who cannot attend the big game. But more strategic coaches could also find value in an encrypted photo share, using it to send out and discuss gameplans and team strategy securely!
FamilyApp is designed for simplicity and ease of use. For coaches just dipping their toes in the waters of digital team communication, it can serve as a great launching pad before moving on to more complex systems!
The free version of FamilyApp will give you most of what you need, with paid versions adding on invoicing and payments, video chat, as well as support features.
FamilyApp is also available for both IOS and Android.
With over ten million users, TeamSnap is one of the most popular team management systems on the market.
It includes many of the features other team management softwares have; schedule management, real-time updates, and streamlined communication with both athletes and parents.
However, TeamSnap also offers cross-system functionality with your phone’s calendar. Some families may struggle remembering to use a new application, but TeamSnap allows you to export dates to your iPhone or Android calendar.
It also offers a free self-administered health check before every game, allowing you to make sure everyone is in shape to compete. While this usually is a premium feature, they have made it free during the COVID 19 pandemic.
TeamSnap also allows families to sign up for certain roles, such as bringing snacks after a game. It then records the responses so that everyone knows who is bringing what when it comes time for game day.
If you are on the administrative side of things, TeamSnap also functions quite well for running tournaments and competitions. It offers registrations, payments, and live updates.
TeamSnap also allows you to export all of the information to spreadsheets, which allows you to play around with the data for increased efficiency.
In terms of logistics and capability, TeamSnap is tough to compete with. And because of its popularity, their support systems are a bit more comprehensive than some of the other options.
TeamSnap’s free option is pretty robust, offering a roster of up to 15 players, health checks during COVID 19, scheduling and live update features, team chat, as well as assignments.
Their Premium option offers increased functionality and customizability, and for only around $8 per month! If you are considering a Premium option, TeamSnap would be a good one to try out.
StackSports is another all-in-one application that can be used for team management in any sport, at any level.
StackSports really stands out when it comes to customization. While many apps offer their features on a platform with their own design, StackSports gives the user control over almost every facet of design.
You can choose from over 20 themes, which can be rebranded to match your colors, logos, and team names. Or, you can hand the reins over to one of their professional designers to create your own custom site.
This site will serve as your “hub”, or access point from which athletes, parents, and staff can access the various features offered by the software. It also offers social media integration, an increasingly important feature in modern sports when it comes to communicating with players.
StackSports features a drag and drop scheduler for creating season schedules, entering scores or results, and allocating staff to various tasks, and sending out updates to everyone connected to the server.
It also helps keep track of players. You can send them a secure link to join, and StackSports will send reminders before practices and games, as well as tracking attendance the day of each event.
StackSports offers customized solutions as opposed to a one-off price.
Sportlyzer essentially takes everything we’ve seen so far, and brings it all together under one roof.
Now keep in mind, specialised apps tend to perform better in their given fields. Some other communication apps may have sleeker interfaces or more seamless communication. Some player development apps may offer better features.
But in terms of an all-in-one team management app, Sportlyzer has got you covered!
It offers a central calendar which can be used to plan practices, games, and special events. The app also allows you to import from Excel, in case your program or tournaments you travel to give you a .XLS file.
If practice is every Friday at 6, for example, you can also set it as a recurring event with just a few clicks.
The app also allows coaches to assign “homework” to their athletes, drills or practices to be completed. Athletes can see everything from their phone, and coaches can keep track on their app as well.
Sportlyzer also allows you to track athlete performance over time, taking note of how they did and what could be improved. These notes can be brought back to practice and help each athlete improve individually to the best of their ability.
Sportlyzer offers a relatively limited free version, or their full package for around $40 per month.
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Final Thoughts: Best Sports Communication Apps For Your Team
The best coaches in sports know how to leverage technology for the good of their athletes.
Being a coach can be a huge undertaking. We must help guide these athletes, plan practices and seasons, coordinate with parents as well as school or athletic associations, plan team events, and keep track of everything….somehow.
But that “somehow” has become a lot easier, thanks to technology.
When you find the right sports communication app for you, it will completely change the way you interact with your team and sports community. It will cut out all of the headaches, and leave you more available to do the thing you actually love…