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Teams within college athletics attempt to create a positive impression of their program and their university at large by ensuring that everyone who makes their way to campus has a positive experience. While the benefits are clear, achieving it can be easier said than done. Effective communication on the part of the program and staff is essential in order to make this happen.
Like many Teamworks partners, the Oklahoma Sooners use the platform to communicate with their own players regularly, but they also see broader potential for the technology. Beyond connecting with the team, the Sooners utilize Teamworks to communicate on game day and beyond with visiting teams, umpires, alumni, and scouts.
“We take it a step further to try to communicate with parents,” says director of baseball operations Ryan Gaines, “Whether it’s related to comp tickets, game times, our new clear bag policy at the stadium — things like that to help parents know what is going on.”
— Teamworks (@Teamworks) January 3, 2018
The NCAA baseball season runs February to June, months when the weather can be a bit unpredictable across the United States. It’s not uncommon for game times or locations to be updated in an effort to get games in. Consequently, the Sooners see value in being able to provide up-to-the-minute updates to fans. Parents especially appreciate this process that allows them to receive info via text and/or email.
When it comes to communication, Gaines has found that being able to send messages as texts as opposed to emails has made his staff and their efforts all the more effective.
“I can tell you that I don’t read every email that I get,” he says. “But I do read every text message. So if I can communicate and schedule out text messages to people that are scheduled to be on campus for one reason or another, it allows us to provide a type of customer service that they might not necessarily get from another baseball program.”
“What’s especially convenient for me is being able to schedule posts and reminders to send to people,” Gaines says. “It’s an easy way to plan effectively,”
Effective communication also comes in handy with last minute changes to the schedule. For example, if a game is scheduled to begin at five and gets delayed until seven, Gaines makes a point to quickly let parents and scouts know in order to save them the time, effort, and fuel it would take to get to campus only to have to leave and come back later.
Beyond game days, the OU baseball staff benefits from good communication while bringing recruits to campus for official visits. The visit is the first real opportunity to show recruits and signees what goes on in the daily life of an OU student-athlete. A smooth experience is essential. Gaines once again utilizes Teamworks to provide recruits and their parents with an itinerary for their visit as well as any necessary schedule updates to ensure everything goes according to plan.
“Really, the thing that we try to stress to parents and recruits/signees on their official visits is how important it is that they learn how to use tools that we use, like Teamworks, before they move in on-campus,” Gaines says.
The top-rated recruit in the nation, welcome to OU, Bobby Witt Jr.!
— Oklahoma Baseball (@OU_Baseball) November 15, 2018
The point of these visits is to allow students to get accustomed to the Sooner way of life. A big part of this is instilling a sense of independence into new players.
“A lot of times, parents try to do everything for their kids,” says Gaines. “We try to let parents know that their kids are going to be expected to do a lot of things on their own when they get here. So these are some of the ways that we communicate with them and the quicker that they learn how to do it themselves, the better off they are going to be.”
Gaines also finds that parents are “all smiles” when they learn that independence is both expected and achievable for their children as members of the Sooners’ program.
“As their children get older, parents tend to want to throw them out of the nest a little bit and make sure that they are flying. So the parents find a certain level of comfort in knowing that we’re helping their children get to that point.
“Plus, when a parent drops off their child at any event or location, that level of communication makes the parent feel more secure about dropping off the child. That’s the piece of it that for me, I feel like sets us apart from other programs.”
— Teamworks (@Teamworks) October 12, 2017
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