As we finally are able to open our doors and get back to work with our guys at the facility, I first wanted to say thank you to all of those who have checked in on the health of our coaches, their families, and our business. The last couple of months have been quite the experience for our world, as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and see its effects on our people, our economy, and our general way of life. If you would have told me on January 1st that we would have to shut down for two full months, hunker down at home and not step foot on a baseball field or in a cage with our guys, I would have laughed you off and continued to throw batting practice. And while this time has been extremely challenging for us all, we have used it to our advantage and prepared for the day that we can start getting back to normalcy and doing what we love, which is developing baseball players and young men.
As the co-founder of Rogue Baseball, my responsibilities have gone from very little administrative work and only instruction, to ALL of the admin work and ALL of the instruction, to less instruction and increased administrative work. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a coach first and oversee all aspects of our player development, but a major part of my job is taking care of the administrative side of the company, including facility and team scheduling, financials, communication, social media etc. All things that when done well, allow for our coaches to more easily do their jobs, and players and parents to feel good about what is going on with training and teams. The implementation of new systems has been a major positive during these last couple of months, here are a couple of things that we have added in preparation for getting back to work.
The New Rogue Baseball Website
If you are reading this blog you are currently on our new website, built by good friend and current Minnesota Twins farmhand Mitch Horacek, who is an offseason staple training in the facility. Mitch did a fantastic job of creating a site that allows us to showcase everything that we do in the facility, provide a home base for our high school teams, create a one stop scheduling and payment system to benefit our players and our staff, and create an adaptable and growing hub of baseball information and resources for players and parents. The site is easily customizable and accessible and allows us to mirror the environment that we have created at the facility and within our high school team program.
The addition of the Acuity scheduling program is going to be very useful for our staff as well as our players and parents. Acuity provides a very intuitive software that allows us to input all of the programs we offer and create our facility schedule on the back end, which is then visible to players on the front end. Coupon codes are easily created and applied for discounts offered to different trainees, and lesson or training packages are easily viewable and manageable for coaches and clients! The amount of work it will save us on the back end can’t be understated! Acuity is also integrated into our players’ TRAQ profiles, so that there is one location for them to pay for and schedule their sessions and execute their training plans. Rather than have payment, scheduling and execution all in separate systems, Acuity allows for all of those things to integrate and streamline the general operations side of things.
Improved Communication with Slack
The realities of staying at home highlighted a need that we have in general, and that is effectively communicating amongst ourselves as a coaching staff. We have always worked to communicate through text messages and emails, as well as discuss important items in person when we can, but we do not have the time or space to have a lot of in person meetings and prefer to use our time at the facility or on the field pouring into our players. Slack allows us to create channels based on various topics, so that we can easily share important information with those that need it. Information pertaining to pitching can be discussed in the #pitching channel. Summer head coaches are grouped together in a channel so that those items can be put there. General information that applies to everybody is put in the #general channel. This allows us as a staff to keep thing organized for the player’s benefit.
Contacts and Emails Via Mailchimp
Keeping all of our people informed is extremely important, especially at a time like this when the landscape of life is constantly changing. Mailchimp integrates with Acuity so we are able to collect contact information from everybody who train with us, and we can easily tag people based on what they do within our programs. Sending an email to varsity team parents, or hitting program athletes is extremely easy, and the clean simplistic campaigns are right up our alley.
Payments and Invoicing With Square
We have had a number of payment processors over the past year, but Square’s integration with Acuity and ease of use has been the best! In addition to collecting payments through the scheduling software, we can easily schedule and send invoices for things like summer player payments or Rogue apparel. This makes for less time worrying about who owes what anymore on the the player development side of things!
Social Media Scheduling with Buffer
Something we are constantly looking to improve upon is sharing information and content via our social media platforms, and Buffer allows that process to be a little bit easier. With the recent addition of our Colorado Rogue Baseball Club social media accounts devoted specifically to team content, as well as our Rogue Baseball Performance profiles, we have 6 active social media accounts. Buffer allows me to schedule out posts in advance, so that it is taken care of and I can concentrate on other tasks instead of trying to post things on the run.
While the last two months have been a major bummer in respect to losing out on the time with our players, my common advice to our guys has been to make the best of the situation and accomplish something despite it. For us as a business, I feel strongly that we have done that, in laying a foundation of excellent systems that will help us to succeed as we begin working back to normal, and continuing to grow and provide the best player development environment possible. I have no doubt that I will look back on this time and see it as a critical time in the growth and operation of our business, and take am grateful for the opportunity and the resources available to make lasting changes!