From the Trenches: Part 15 (Conclusion)

In this series, we dive into the various issues that athletic directors face and offer up strategies to thrive in the face of these challenges.

From the Trenches: Part 15 (Conclusion)

The Issues Facing Education Based Athletics & Strategies for Today's Athletic Administrators

By Brent Buttjer and Scott Garvis, CMAA, Bound AD in Residence

Editors Note: This is a mutli-part series offering insight on the most pressing issues facing education based athletics and how they can best be addressed.

Part 15: Finding Time to Lead vs. Managing Athletics

Athletic directors often find themselves bogged down with day-to-day management tasks, leaving little time for them to lead their programs. They struggle to find time for professional development, creative thinking, and reflection, which are all essential to running a successful athletic program. In this section, we will discuss some of the strategies that athletic directors can use to find time to lead and manage their programs effectively.

  1. Prioritize time management: The first step is to prioritize time management. This means organizing tasks based on their level of importance and their deadline. The use of a to-do list can be helpful in keeping tasks in order of priority. By doing so, it will be easier to identify which tasks require immediate attention and which ones can wait.
  2. Schedule reflection time: Schedule regular reflection time on the calendar, allowing the athletic director to reflect on the program's strengths and areas for improvement. Reflection time can also be used to consider new ideas and innovations to be incorporated into the program.
  3. Professional development opportunities: Finding time for professional development is essential for athletic directors. Investing time and resources in attending professional development events, seminars, and conferences, can help enhance the athletic program's operations and effectiveness.
  4. Delegate tasks: Delegation is key when it comes to time management. Delegating tasks to trusted and competent individuals can free up time for athletic directors to focus on strategic initiatives.
  5. Use technology: The use of technology can be a time-saver for athletic directors. By implementing scheduling software, communication tools, and data management systems, ADs can streamline processes, enhance communication, and gain more time for strategic thinking.
  6. Seek assistance: Finally, athletic directors can seek the assistance of other departments, such as IT, finance, or marketing, for support in managing specific aspects of their programs. Collaborating with other departments can improve efficiency and effectiveness, allowing for more time for the athletic director to focus on strategic initiatives.

Finding the Time

Finding time to lead and manage a successful athletic program can be challenging for athletic directors. However, by prioritizing time management, scheduling reflection time, investing in professional development, delegating tasks, using technology, and seeking assistance, athletic directors can find the time to lead their programs effectively. This will help improve the quality of the athletic program and provide student-athletes with the best possible experience.

Build Your Skills

Being an athletic administrator comes with a host of challenges that require skill, dedication, and creativity to overcome. From managing budgets to dealing with difficult parents and improving fan behavior, there is no shortage of issues that athletic administrators must navigate. However, with the right strategies in place, athletic administrators can effectively manage their programs and create a positive environment for student-athletes, coaches, and the community. By prioritizing professional development, building strong relationships with staff, and utilizing resources available, athletic administrators can improve their ability to lead and manage their programs successfully. While the challenges may be daunting, it is the tireless work of athletic administrators that makes it possible for student-athletes to have a rewarding and fulfilling athletic experience.

About Scott Garvis, CMAA, Bound AD in Residence

Scott Garvis has been a leader and innovator in intercollegiate and interscholastic athletics development and fundraising for more than 25 years – as an athletics director, coach, association board member, adviser and editorial contributor.

Scott has a record of excellence as Athletics Director, Director of Activities and Assistant Principal, having led the athletics departments at six high schools or school districts in three states.  He has achieved unparalleled success at all levels of high school athletics: large public school districts, a small public high school, a private school, and with state and national athletics administrator associations.