When I agreed to serve as the Team Mom, I thought “No problem. I can make a snack schedule.” I soon learned that creating a snack schedule was just one of many Team Mom responsibilities.
It was definitely more work than I bargained for and started with a mandatory, nearly three-hour meeting to discuss exactly what was expected of us.
The Team Mom acts as liaison between the league, coach, and parents and depending on the sport or activity, this can mean juggling communication with parents from 12 to 25 kids. They make sure things run as smoothly as possible, funneling information from the league and coach to parents and back again. Players’ parents look to you to answer questions, solve problems, mediate between two household families, among other things. Complaints? Those go to you too.
Being a Team Mom for the first time can be a bit overwhelming, and I quickly learned that organization was going to be key to my success. Below is a summary of my lessons learned. Check it out and revisit later if you ever find yourself serving as the Team Mom for your child’s sports team. If you’re new, this list will help you quickly learn the ropes!
1. Attend all practices and games. The team moms serve as the source of information and organization for the team. It’s important to be there. If for some reason you can’t attend a practice or game, make sure someone else can stand in as Team Mom (or just serve as the contact person) for that hour or so and relay any important communication back to you.
2. Create a schedule. Schedules prepared by the league can be difficult to read. Create a schedule for parents that is in an easy to read format and includes games, practices, tournaments (if applicable), Opening Day, picture day, volunteer and fundraising event days. Also include the name of the family who is responsible for providing a healthy snack after each game. Remember to bring extra copies. Some families may need two copies (one for each parent or household).
3. Communicate with the coach and the parents regularly. Make sure you have parents’ contact information including name, phone numbers, and email address. Communicate with the coach and/or the league frequently and only give parents what they absolutely need to know. At the beginning of the season provide extra tips for parents’ of kids who are new to the sport (i.e. outline what equipment is needed and where they can purchase cleats, pants, balls, etc.). Send practice and game reminders the day before, and remind them who is signed up for snack for the upcoming game. Simply sending out the schedule at the beginning of the season isn’t really enough. Inevitably people will lose it, and will end up emailing or texting you for details. Reminder messages the day before the game puts you ahead of the game.
4. Be prepared. For younger teams, keep an emergency snack kit in your car in case the parent forgets to bring the snack on their week. You may also want to carry a small first-aid kid with you. I needed both extra snacks and a first aid kit, and didn’t have either on-hand.
5. Estimate extra costs. There are often extra costs associated with sports. Team banners, trophies/medals, end of season parties, coach’s gifts are all additional costs and the Team Mom is responsible for ordering what needs to be ordered and collecting money from the other parents. Make sure you calculate what each family owes and keep a list of who has paid so you don’t come short.
6. Plan an end of Season Party. Look into local pizza places or even the park where you play. Figure out how much it will cost and include a few extra dollars for a coach’s gift and trophies/medals if the league doesn’t provide them.
7. Accept offers for help. There are many parents who will offer to help. Take them up on their offer. There is a lot to do and keep track of as the Team Mom…two heads and sets of hands are better than one!
Although it was a fair amount of work and a pretty big time commitment, in the end, being the Team Mom was very rewarding and fun. I might even do it again!
What are your tips for being a successful sports Team Mom?