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Communication is Key

Communication with team parents and gymnasts is vital. Sending stuff through the mail takes too long, there’s no way we can call every parent for everything, printing flyers that may not make it home or might just get thrown away isn’t logical, and emails often get overlooked. The solution is to use an app instead! Almost everyone has a smart phone, tablet, or laptop that they can easily download the app and receive instant notifications every time staff needs to send out an important notice.

The communication app we use is called BAND. We have been using it for almost a year now and have quickly learned this can be a game-changer when it comes to communication. We can send out practice schedule changes, add practices/events to a calendar so parents and gymnasts can instantly check if they forget, we can post meet schedules as soon as we have them, post important notices or reminders, ask a question via a poll, post an event rsvp, and even have an album for adding meet pictures.

In addition to all of the features the app has, it also has restrictions. We have our app setup so parents can’t post or comment on anything but they can use the app to private message any parent or staff member and they can add pictures to the photo albums. We didn’t have it this way at first but unfortunately a few “chronic complainers” started using this app for the wrong reasons. This created a toxic environment as opposed to a useful tool. Plus, everyone was receiving notifications that weren’t important or relevant. Instead, by disabling posting and commenting we can now keep the app for important notices from staff only. Everyone seems to really love the ease of having information in the palm of their hands!

Also, within the app you can create groups. We have separate groups for women’s team, men’s team, pre-team, all staff, and team staff. Obviously, the restrictions and permissions vary from members to staff but the general concept of using this as a tool for communication has proved very useful. Best of all the app is free!

-Exceleration Gymnastics Center, Toledo, OH