By: Briant Kelly, CMAA
Libertyville High School
An efficient athletic office is important to the overall success of high school athletics. The Athletic Department needs to support the coaches, student-athletes, staff and parents at the high school. Throughout the school year, there are many different tasks, projects and events in the athletic department and the athletic director is the primary person responsible for these. An athletic director that is organized and efficient can help to accomplish and support their athletic programs.
There are several strategies that an athletic director can implement that will improve the efficiency of the athletic department. However, in order to increase the efficiency, an athletic director needs to evaluate how the athletic department fits into the overall structure of the school district. Some examples of staff and structures that could be in place at the high school level:
An athletic director needs to have methods in place to communicate with these key personnel at the school. Are there daily or weekly meetings with these key personnel? Who does the athletic director report to at the school and who evaluates the athletic director? Who does the athletic director evaluate at the school? There needs to be an organizational structure in place at the school and the athletic director needs to be a part of that structure.
The physical organization of the athletic department is often overlooked, but can this can be conducive to a good working environment. The athletic department office should be located in close proximity to the athletic facilities. There also needs to be ample work space for the athletic director and secretary to work as a team and also accomplish the necessary tasks. There are many office product resources (stand-up desks, filing systems) that are available that can help to organize the office. However, the office still needs to be kept in order and cleaned on a consistent basis, this also sets a good example for the coaching staff.
Communication is an integral part of an efficient athletic office, but for any form of communication it is important to disseminate the information in a concise and timely manner. There are many different communication methods that can be utilized:
Technology has increased a great deal in high school athletics and can be used as a good communication and organizational tool. In the athletic department, some of the technology needs could include: a copy machine, a fax machine, a scanner, color printer and multiple computer screens. Some of the mobile devices that could be useful for an athletic director include: laptop, i-pad and smart phone. Although it is important to have the computer hardware, it is equally important to have the computer software and technical knowledge. There are many scheduling programs available that will schedule both athletic and facility schedules for athletics. These programs will also help with communication for athletes, parents, coaches and other key personnel at the high school.
An athletic director needs to be organized and have the ability to complete tasks in a timely manner. The athletic director should prioritize their duties and tasks on a daily and weekly basis. If there are difficult or complex tasks that need to completed, schedule these earlier in the day, as you will have more energy and also have less conflicts with after school athletic events. As always, look to delegate tasks to the department staff and coaches, as you cannot complete all the tasks alone. The utilization of both checklists and an electronic calendar will enable an athletic director to complete the required tasks.
Effective leadership starts with organization, but this cannot be established in a short amount of time. Developing good organizational skills is a continual process that can be established by collaboration and self-reflection. There are also other miscellaneous tips that can help:
The goal of creating an efficient athletic office is to support the coaches, student-athletes, staff and parents as best as possible. With a more efficient athletic office is will create a better work environment that will aid in the success of the student-athletes.