October 2, 2009 • Athletic Administration

Little Things Can Make a Difference

Time management and organizational skills are definitely vital in the survival of athletic administration. Even the little things that appear to have minor importance can turn out to be extremely helpful.

For example: Attending regional meetings and state and national association conferences.

They can be extremely important in the athletic director’s professional development. Between workshop sessions, Leadership Training Courses, networking, and acquiring fresh ideas from the vendors are enormous opportunities to learn and expand upon one’s background.

At most sessions, the hotel or convention center will offer pens and tablets on the tables for the gathering of notes. At the conclusion of the session, many individuals will leave these items at their seat and move onto the next meeting.

Usually I will pick up as many of the items as I can and place them in my briefcase and bring them back to school.

I start each day by putting a few pens into a coffee mug on my desk. As the coaches or student-athletes come by to sign a form, they will borrow one of the pens. They will occasionally forget to put the pens back and by the end of the day my mug is empty. (The desk drawer becomes a good source for replacements).

The note pads are just the right size to keep by the phone for messages. The extra pads are stored in the same desk drawer as the pens. Vendors are a great source to replenish your supply of pens and notepads, as they often give them to attendees to advertise their products. Between the meeting sessions and the vendors, you should be able to pick up an ample amount.

Vendors will often present plastic bags to attendees for their literature, samples, and other giveaways. At the end of the conference, the vendors would rather not pack these bags and gladly give them away.

Why would you want a plastic bag with a vendor’s name and logo on it? Because the student-athletes who drop into my office with a wet uniform will usually ask if I have any unused bags. These giveaway promotional bags will come in handy to load up varsity award letters or forms requested by a coach.

If you are like me, you probably get a lot of hardcopy memos and e-mail messages that you print out. Most of these pages only take up a few lines. The rest is perfectly good usable scrap paper. Before discarding it, I will quickly cut off the usable end and stash it away in “the drawer.” Whenever I need paper to total up gate receipts for deposit, prepare To Do Lists, or simply make notes, I have a ready supply.

Whenever new boxes of paper are delivered to our school’s print center, I also try to keep an eye out for the empty boxes. There are countless times during the year when a box is needed in athletics, but none can be found. To make sure that we always have some, I put these sturdy cardboard boxes in storage for future emergencies.

In Baltimore County, we are required to keep all athlete permission slips, physical and Informed Consent Forms on file for four years after a student’s graduation.

It is totally impractical to keep all of this paper work in a file cabinet after the current year of competition. We put these forms in those boxes, label them, and keep them in a storage room. Having a supply of boxes will prove extremely helpful.

During the summer, the amount of mail (mostly catalogues and junk) that arrives in our Main Office becomes unbelievable. It will not fit into our coaches’ mailboxes.

Our secretaries give me anything that pertains to athletics and I sort it for our coaches. To accommodate everything, I label each box for a particular sport and line them all up on a shelf in my office. Once the coaches arrive back in August, they just pick up their box. How simple!

Have you ever gone to your school’s print center with an important document, only to discover there is no paper? It is extremely frustrating. To prevent these situations, I always lock away a few reams in one of my locked office cabinets and usually carry a ream with me to the print center.

If I don’t need it – and 95% of the time I won’t – I’ll simply take it back to my office. It is better to be prepared for the unexpected contingency, rather than to be caught up in it.

Not all of these little hints center around office supplies. Recently, one of our vendors stopped in with several school-year calendar booklets. I will also get t-shirts as registration gifts and door prizes at conferences.

These items usually represent more than I could ever use. However, they all make excellent gifts for our secretaries, custodians, and grounds crews who greatly appreciate the thoughtfulness.

Anything – even little hints – can help the athletic administrator make it through the day a little easier. The little things can make a big difference.

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