Singing the praises of TeamSnap

teamsnapYou think managing a youth team is hard? Try managing an adult team. As the manager of my women’s hockey team for the last dozen years or so, I have tried various management systems, including the old fashioned paper and email system, eTeamz, hometeamsonline, Sport NGIN, Google groups and Yahoo! Groups. This year, I turned the manager reins over to Krisha, and we moved to a new online team management software and things couldn’t be better. So now, let me sing the praises of TeamSnap.

First, I have to disclose that TeamSnap gave us an account upgrade to the Premium level for free (an $85 value) in exchange for my review. We had already set up our free basic account and were loving the heck out of it, then upgraded and love it even more.

So what do we love?
Even the not-so-tech-savvy people on our team found it really easy to get started with TeamSnap. Just click a link, enter an email and password and that’s it. With Yahoo! and Google, some people had trouble making that work. Krisha said the set up was intuitive and simple from the manager’s end, and I thought it was super easy from the player end. I think my mom could even handle this. (No offense, Mom). It’s integrated so when you update one thing, everything else automatically updates. And it makes team communication a snap.

Some of our favorite features:

Roster with contact information
It is oh-so-easy to find the contact information for everyone on the team. It’s a private, password protected system so only our team can access it, plus players can update their own phone number or email. Just click the roster tab and it’s all right there.

Schedule (with game results)
Krisha reported that this was one of the best features. She entered our practices and games, and because the app allows you to save the details for each team in our division, she only had to enter it once. Let me emphasize: we play every team in our league four times, but only had to enter the information for each opponent once. This is a huge time saver over Google Groups and Yahoo! Groups. Everyone on the team can see the schedule and we track our game results.

Export to iCal or Outlook, or Google Calendar
Personally, this is one of my favorite features. I manage a lot of calendars and I love that it syncs with iCal and Outlook. And it was EASY to do.

screen shot player availabliltyAvailability for events
This could be a manager/coaches best friend. Each player can mark their availability for games and practices so you know who is going to show up for games or if you are going to be short and have to call subs. As a player, I like it because if I’m on the fence about a game, I can see if we will have enough players or if I need to skip out on the family gathering early and get there. Really, I’d love to stay, but the team needs me.

Track tasks/items
This is a great way to track things like who has turned in their consent to treat forms and who hasn’t, or what players ordered warm up suits. A nice bonus feature and it’s really helpful to have this all in one place, instead of various spreadsheets like I’ve done in the past.

Track payments
We haven’t used this feature yet but I can see the value. The whole team can see the fees and who has paid, so it increases financial transparency. And it may shame some people into paying on time. We will have to check this out next season.

Game statistics, specific to your sport
One thing that I really like is that with the Premium version, you can really customize things to your own sport, especially game stats. It goes beyond wins and losses; you can track goals, assists, shots, penalty minutes, and even goalie stats. And no, I am not leading in penalty minutes, not by a long shot.

Share photos and files
Upload photos from team events, share the practice plan or other information with the team. You can make a little team document center here so if someone loses the consent form, they can just download a new one, right from the TeamSnap page.

Send team emails and texts
Krisha says this is one of her favorite features and it is pretty awesome. You can post a message, like a bulletin board, and email messages, plus send group text messages. And you can choose whether to send them to a few people or your whole team. As a player, you indicate if you want to receive text messages so if it’s a problem with your data plan, you can opt out. But for those last minute changes to the schedule, or road construction notifications en route, the group text is really handy.

Team Store
If you want to order matching sweatshirts or something, you can do it right from the TeamSnap site. For me, it’s a big drawback that you can’t upload your team logo and you have to choose from generic designs so we haven’t used this and probably won’t.

Email reminders
Not that I’d ever forget I have a game or practice, but it is nice to get these email reminders. You can set your own preferences for this as a player. I have it set up to email me 4 days before each event.

tsnapiPad app and iPhone
The TeamSnap website translates extremely well to an app. I have it on my iPhone and can access the schedule, roster and contact information easily no matter where I am. This is a big advantage over the other organization systems I have used.  You can even add the roster contacts to your iPhone contacts with just a tap. The app is very highly rated and easy to use.

One account for multiple teams
I’m hoping that I can get my soccer team to switch over to TeamSnap, in which case I would be able use the same account information to access both team accounts.

The verdict
TeamSnap is a great solution for sports teams of any kind but I also recommend it for other groups. My husband’s a cappella group uses it to manage communications, gigs and practices. I should report that TeamSnap has a good help section with lots of resources, but we’ve never had to use them. And they also have a fun enewsletter with good tips and some other community features. Even if you upgrade to the Premium version, the cost-per-player is very low and well worth it.

Krisha reports that in her experience, TeamSnap is by far the easiest and most reliable calendar solution and is extremely pleased. And I’m happy that she’s happy because being the team manager is a sucky job and I’m super glad she’s doing it this year.

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