So if you’ve been kicking around here for a while, you know that I was a team manager last year for an Initiation level team. And by all accounts, I rocked it. Which is how I got it in my head that I could handle the other levels. I mean, what’s the difference?
News flash: Big difference.
Within the first two weeks of the Novice season, I had the coach suspended pending a hearing and our entire team had missed a game. A totally honest mistake but still *facepalm*
With that in mind, I wanted to share what I learned in this past year with those of you that are looking at the team manager role.
Before we get into the lessons from a team manager perspective, let me assure you that anyone can totally rock the manager position. It’s work, but it doesn’t require much in the way of special skills or training. We aren’t talking rocket science or brain surgery here. Once you get a handle on the responsibilities and your association’s rules surrounding them, it’s a matter of just doing the task in front of you. With that in mind, here’s the first lesson:
Read the Manager’s Manual
This will help you familiarize yourself with your roles and responsibilities. Every association should have a set of rules or guidelines for a team manager. The manual will tell you everything you need to get started and comfortable with the position. Hopefully. I would highly recommend reading that a few times before you even volunteer for the job. Better to know what you’re getting yourself into in advance. If I’m being honest, there’s a part of me that wishes we had a Parent Manual so that responsibilities and expectations for parents were outlined as well. But that’s a topic for another day.
Even with the most thorough of manuals, there are going to be things that can’t be covered by a document. Which brings us to lesson two:
Get to Know Other Team Managers
This group was invaluable to me as I navigated a world of game sheets, tournaments and game switches. They also commiserated, laughed and lent an ear when I needed. The team managers that I’ve gotten to know over the years have been where I was. They took the time to walk me through the processes I didn’t understand and they explained things that I couldn’t have known to ask. Time and again, I just had to reach out. The road worked both ways as I made sure I was available for the new Initiation team managers that started this season with me. It’s important to help the ones who are in the shoes we were in a year or two ago.
The most important rule of all, and one that I continue to forget. Keep things in perspective.There is a ton of information and this is a whole new set of rules. And you are going to make mistakes. But, practically speaking, we are talking a volunteer position in house league hockey. No mistake is going to be the end of the world. Or the end of the season. That coach suspension? We had a hearing, we explained the error and we moved on from there.
For the most part. I’m going to remember the mistake so that I never make it again. It’s one thing to screw up once. That’s life. The goal is to learn so that the mistake is not repeated.
See you at the rink,