Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sport Manager - what is the real role?

Whether it is a team sport or an individual sport, athletes are hard to manage. This is not because they set out to be difficult, but that is how it usually is. The role of a Sport Team Manager is diverse, but should not be complicated as long as there is efficient and effective communication.

Jamaican sporting federations have been sending and hosting teams for a very long time and the people who get the job to manage these teams have always been placed under scrutiny. However, as sport and management practices have evolved, we need to adopt a few basic principles to ensure that the athletes are managed properly for the highest performance ever with as little issues as possible.

There is always the situation that the coaches think they are in charge, and they maybe, but they are only in charge of performance related activities. These though are critical to the athletes’ success as it is what the fans are primarily attracted to. But with more entertainment and lifestyle values coming into play, the athlete must win at all times. The team around the athlete simply facilitates.

Here are some tips to follow:

1. Communication and organization are key skills which must be learnt
2. Know the athlete or team you are managing – what they like, love and do not like
a. If it is a big team, get help in learning some back information about every member of the team. That information is valuable over the long term
3. Put the athlete/team’s interest first and not your own
4. Have regular interaction with all members of the team so all are generally on the same page
5. Learn from a previous manager
6. Sit in short management courses and study basic theories. Handling a group has dynamics you could never imagine
7. For teams that are likely to travel, make sure all members of the team has up to date passports and visa where necessary
8. Get the team together to see how they interact. This helps in room selection

There are some other key areas that I will mention which include medical, clothing, shoe sizes and just any other relevant information like home address, email and skype information.

It is also important to know the financial status of each member of a team just to be balanced in expectations and even actions on the part of each athlete. This then brings into play legal representation. As the business of sport becomes more probable, athletes have attorneys-at-law which play an important role in their lives and managers ought to know and respect that representation.

Sport is and is becoming more and more part of the Jamaican lifestyle and the competition though primarily on the field of play is also is how teams and athletes are managed to meet the demands of the comprehensive lifestyle sport has to offer. It is important that teams and athletes make that commitment to have managers who are qualified and have credibility. It is all part of the Business of Sport.


Sparky Channer said...

Excellent reminder that it is not all glitz and glamour. Just like any successful business, there must be proper structure and communication, thorough project management and flexibility is key. You are doing well, understand what is needed, you ensure that you stay up-to-date with sports happenings, and you see the big picture. I know there are challenges but as Henry Ford said - "Obstacles re those frightful things you see when you take our eyes off the goal". Keep at it - you are doing a great job!

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