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Monday, August 27, 2018

Preseason Startup ....Transparency

Preseason Startup
I am going to be somewhat transparent with almost "true cases" that are asked of us to solve for families in AYSO.   Note: When we solve a problems, one party thru the process looses out while others gain an advantage.    Some may see us at AYSO where kids get the participation trophies, but as it turns out the parents become the winners, because they gained the advantage over another.  Chalk up a win and scratch that as a loss for both sides.   Is that fair?  Thanks for manipulating the system.

I personally have spent time with AYSO 2-3 hours a day with regards to this region or area ( multiple ayso regions ) to ensure that the AYSO seasons across the Chicagoland area startup with success. There are many volunteers across the area working to ensure that your child season is a success. Now, I am going to be transparent with issues that have come up.

Case #1: "Hey man, let's coach together and forget about it".....
Parent claims to have a conversation with an someone in AYSO that he/she wants to be paired up with another. Problem: We have no record of this person actually emailing or indicating to be paired up with another family.

As a core philosophy " Balanced Teams " requires that players be on different teams every year. If there is such a pairing ( and that means 2 ), as a coach and assistant coach that obviously works out. Both parties did not register this year to be a coach or assistant coach in the system. How do we know that they wanted to pair up together?

 Teams were formed in late June , early July. We have an email address and anyone can reach out and say, I would like to spend an evening with the AYSO Team Formation crew as a certified volunteer with AYSO Safe Haven knowledge, passed the certification test and is actively involved or want to be going forward.

Each Division has a division coordinator or should have. This division did not have one at the time. A parent can volunteer and be a Division Coordinator. The DC does not need to be coach. For some reason, everyone thinks that coaches run the organization. That is not true, We have trained volunteers who are not coaches but staff members who are non-coaches and want to ensure that all players get the enrichment at AYSO.

We must be busy and therefore only care about those and immediate needs. In AYSO , we care for the long term and not short term needs to achieve satisfaction or to accommodate for all needs. If that were the case, then we would get 100% volunteer participation. Yes?

Solution: No solution yet. The best solution is for all parties to step up and volunteer, get in early and notify administrators directly and confirm (again). Accept an invitation to team formation. If the team formation teams suggest "date time" does not work out for the interested volunteer, the team formation group will accommodate! So if the date is July 30 for team formation for this division, then its July 30 and 15 days behind schedule for uniform ordering. However, we waited for the division to be completed because we are expected to be perfect.

Time Spent:  Activity: Team Formation 4 Hours 6 Volunteers
Time Spent:  Activity: Uniform Manager 1 Day for All Teams
Time Spent:  Activiy: Coach Shirt Order  2 Hours 2 Volunteers
Time Spent:  Activity: Coach Equipment 6 Hours 3 Volunteers Sorting 4 Volunteers 2 Hours
Time Spent:  Activity: Coach Preseason Meeting Prep Work : 12 Hours 2 Volunteers
Time Spent:  Activity: Handing this Issue 2 Hours 4 Volunteers
Time Spent:  Activity:  Those that are making this request to happen.  Email 2 minutes.

Case #2: " I'm too busy for AYSO ".
Parent asked to be with a specific team for any specific reason. Any reason such as coach practices on tuesday only, or car-pooling, or a group of students from the same class, or the families like a specific coach, or the family wants to be with another family. In all of these cases, we didn't get a volunteer form or a set of volunteers to help with the cause.

 Solution: We ask that all parties that have interest with the team formation process become a volunteer, get certified with AYSO Safe Haven, know the AYSO core philosophies, have the ability to apply this at team formation and work in their specific needs while balancing the division. If one is good at puzzles, combination problem solving, and winning ta board games - then you are welcome to join ( sarcasm ).


Case #3: Superfriends! 
We had a group of volunteers who wanted to coach together.  Yes, two coaches.   That's great - and then all of sudden weeks later, they recruited a team parent after team formation to be on the team.    We were able to accommodate since a family asked for a refund on that team since they moved out of state.   That worked out.    The long term problem was that the 3 friends bonded a relationship that hurt the team in the long run.   The coaches did not head to "good sportsmanship" and "positive coaching" as reported to me.   At at observation they were on their best behavior.   Also, we did not communicate to the coaches that there is a technical side where coaches are on one side and the parents / fans are on the other side.  So it turned out that the 3 friends were coaching together and therefore by having a technical side may have forced the "good sportsmanship. .  That's a lot of overhead and management for a team.   Let them play!  It turned out that in the next season(s), these coaches moved on to outside of AYSO and had their children participate in other activities.  So in the end it worked out, but for the long run - we lost almost a whole team of players because of the reported experience and then the "protective" nature of the coaches when being observed.


Case #4: The case of the switched up spreadsheet.
Yes.  I am being transparent on one mistake on my part.  I had used multiple spreadsheets to keep up with all of the requests.  As you are aware that this is not my day job.  I have a life too and if you want me to have more of a life, then its your turn to help.   So the actual impact as that there were a few teams that had wrong labels and that on my part I had copied the wrong cells over.  The division was correct but the teams were off by 1 or 2 numbers.   So, now we need quality control.   If I were to spend time on quality control, then its less time to address Case #1 and Case #2.   Which who you rather have me do ?  Niether or both.   I guess I'm fired from this volunteer job and its time for those that complain to due a near perfect job for 10 AYSO seasons in a row.  I challenge anyone to take on this role and do it such as way, that you are being more transparent than me.   For example let the world in our blog state exactly which team and for which coach or parents to help solve their case,    Since you are perfect, you have to be so good that everyone that you name is happy with your request.

Case #5: Coach paired up because kids are buddy / buddy.
As it turns out that child #1 was born in Sept 1980 and child #2 was born in Feb 1981.   Turns out that buddy buddy are in the same grade due to the education cutoffs of Sept 1.   Yes both kids are in the same grade this season but due to our 2 Year Age Division assignment for most divisions, these kids are on the same team with the same Dads as coaches.   They want to stay together next season, but hey ! the birth year shifted one year.   That means the one born in Sept 1980 rises up into the next age division, while the other born in Feb 1981 will stay in the division. 

Warning: Coaches need to be aware of the BY assignment and potential loss of pairing the following season.   This will happen and it has many times.   Coaches agree and those that work with the system actually have the players develop tremendously into great players because they are not playing with the same players al of the time.    Coaches who continue to pair up, there is a potential downside of player development due to potential "roles" assigned year after year.   Unless all players dramatically are aware of playing thru different situations and success with different roles. 


Case #6: Parent confused on Birth Year
There is no more confusion now these days.  Your player is assigned to a team by birth year.  It's simple.

We have a parent that is totally confused due to labeling of for example.    So let's go with this example and see if you understand.    You are 40 years old and you are born in 1978.  You should be assigned to the 40U team because your team consists of players 1978.    However in this Adult League which has teams of players in 2 years with 1979 and 1978.   Therefore, your team is comprise of these players.   Also during the year, one person may 39 years of age and next month, they turn 40.   The assignment still works for the 40U team.

The confusion before the Birth Year Mandate was that the cutoff was 7-31 for soccer and 9-1 for education.   That was even more confusing for the parent who didn't know about the cutoffs for 7-31 and 9-1.   What does this mean ?  If you were born in August (8-15), you would the youngest in your school and the oldest in your soccer team.   


Update Aug 29 2018
Case #7: Carpooling
Parent indicates player is to be with another player for carpooling.    As a reminder, we don't have specific guidelines within our region to accommodate.   If that were the case, we would need more time to sort this out.  We don't.   We need your help as a team parent volunteer who is officially certified as AYSO Safe Haven and then also participates in team formation.    Just as long as there is awareness that team balancing and player development can be a mix baggage for the players involved.   Player Development requires that players of different ability development at a pace that is fair with team balancing.   Games can potentially turn against the pairing of players, or be beneficial and then not beneficial for the overall health of the division.


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