The team manager is the engine behind a team’s existence and success. Their oversight is necessary
in order to run a safe and structured program that offers the most fulfilling experience possible to the
skaters and, by extension, their families. The following is an outline of the most common tasks and
responsibilities that a team manager may be called upon to fulfill.
- General management and oversight
- Participation in the hiring process for the coach, coaching staff and contract management. This process, in part or in whole, may be under the responsibility of the club’s Board of Directors.
- Primary contact for the team, internal and external; management of all incoming and outgoing communication.
- Link between coaching staff and parents.
- Management of schedule, calendar and agenda.
- Ice reservations and ice contract management (as needed).
- Participation in meetings between coach, parents and skaters. All meetings between parents and skaters and the coach take place with the team manager present.
- Arrange ice shows and other appearances.
- Organization of social functions (team parties, team-building activities).
- Coordination of chaperones and other volunteers.
- Coordination of team auditions or open house events with coach.
- Oversight of the selection of support professionals (dressmaker, music technician, others).
- Supervision of the drafting and enforcement of team rules and policies, including a policy for alternates, as defined and established by the coach.
- Monitoring of all matters of discipline and conflict resolution.
- Create and maintain up-to-date team roster with e-mail and phone lists.
- Create and distribute calendars to parents and skaters (monthly).
- Create and maintain up-to-date medical forms and emergency contact lists (Appendix A).
- Submit team registration to Skate Canada before November 1st deadline.
- Collect skater team registration, copies of proof-of-age documents and copies of Skate Canada membership cards.
- Create budget and maintain financing and accounting for the team.
- Allocate money for expenses as per budget; pay team invoices.
- Collect fees and payments.
- Prepare financial statements and present to board and parents.
- Organize fundraisers and solicit sponsors.
- Submit all required competition registration forms and complete entire online registration process (if part of event registration) before the set deadline, including: attending coach, chaperone, skaters, planned program(s), music information, onsite contact information, etc. (Appendix B).
- Arrange travel and accommodations (air, bus, train and hotel).
- Oversee the team’s daily schedule during the event as discussed with coach.
- Book reservations with restaurants, off-ice spaces or conference rooms as needed.
- Check that team and skaters have all necessary travel documents (passports, insurance cards, medical documentation, etc.) and competition equipment and attire (Appendix C).
- Assist with team promotion and skater recruiting.
- Oversee public relations, publicity and media relations.
- Select supporting volunteers.
A team manager may delegate specific tasks and responsibilities to older team skaters, team captains and other parents. This strategy is recommended especially if the team manager has more than one team to work with. A good team manager should also be mindful of training a replacement while ensuring the continued success in the management of the team or teams.
Many successful organizations choose to operate with a committee structure whereby specific responsibilities such as finances, competition logistics, fundraising or other tasks are assigned to capable lead volunteers. The team manager is then responsible for the leadership and management of this Synchronized Skating Team Committee. In addition, the team manager will often be required to work concurrently with the club’s Board of Directors and provide feedback and progress reports to them; some of the tasks and responsibilities described in this guide may be shared between the team manager and the board.
In areas and clubs where the team manager is working inside a sizable organization their responsibilities may expand towards more elite and high-performance goals. The team manager will have more ice times and practices to oversee, more skaters, teams, volunteers and professionals to manage as the additional administrative and clerical load will increase proportionately with the size of the organization. Additional tasks and responsibilities may include the development of long-term goals and strategies, recruiting highly qualified coaches from other areas or countries and assisting with their relocation, coordinating parent information seminars, creating alumna and athlete development programs, overseeing decisions on nutrition or physical fitness resources and much more.
Team managers take on many important responsibilities and the decisions they make impact the team. Those responsibilities are explained in greater detail in the following pages.
The coach selection process can be complex depending on location, budget, lead time for selection and coaches’ availability. The appropriate remuneration must be available according to the coach’s skill level and experience. Advertisements may be placed in local newspapers, club or section newsletters and/ or by using online resources. Ideally, a successful coaching candidate should have prior experience in synchronized skating either as a skater, coach or assistant coach. Hiring the right coach is an important decision; it is the coach’s hard work, creativity, expertise and enthusiasm that will make the difference between a team with unity and spirit and a group of people who just skate together.
It is recommended that a contract be signed between the organization and the coach once the terms of employment have been agreed upon. The contract may be short-term or long-term, but the terms of employment, remuneration and payment options can all be negotiated and agreed upon between the team manager and the coach according to each parties needs. A checklist of items to be considered when creating an employment contract is included in Appendix D.
Coaches must fulfill the following basic criteria:
- Registered professional coach with Skate Canada (includes insurance).
- Certified in first aid/CPR.
- Possession of the correct level of certification for the team from the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP).
- Must have the appropriate level of coaching certifications required for the level their team will enter at the Synchronized Skating Championships and all qualifying events leading up to it.
- Knowledge of Skate Canada technical requirements and applicable ISU communications.
- The coach must be willing and have the capacity to learn the rules governing synchronized skating and stay up-to-date on any changes that may occur.
- Demonstration of behaviour, communication and presentation befitting a professional coach.
- Possession of the technical knowledge appropriate for the team’s level.
- Ability to manage basic synchronized skating responsibilities: music selection, costume selection, choreography, basic discipline, skater safety, strong organizational skills and ability to work with a group.
- Willingness to consult with outside resources (officials or other coaches) and participate in continuing education and professional development opportunities.
- Demonstration of good sportsmanship and leadership abilities.
- Adherence to all club rules and policies and all Skate Canada rules and policies.
On and Off-Ice Support Team Selection
As with the team of volunteers working with a team manager, the size of the coaching staff may be as basic as having one coach and grow to include a multitude of supporting professionals. This team may include an assistant coach, a choreographer, a stroking/skills coach, specialty coaches (dance, ballet), physical trainers, nutritional consultants, etc. The team manager and coach should determine the team’s needs and set budgets. In most cases, a new or beginning team requires only coaching staff and not additional outside professional resources. Allowing the coach to work with an assistant is an excellent way to train and retain new resources within your club or region.
Chaperone Selection and Responsibilities
When a team manager oversees more than one team it is best to work with team chaperones. Teams often work with one or two chaperones each and choose them from among the skaters’ parents. Given that most synchronized skating teams are composed of young girls and women, sometimes the team prefers to have a woman as the chaperone. Chaperones are selected with the help of the coach, according to their relationship with the team, sociability, availability and ability to work with a team.
The chaperone’s main responsibilities revolve around the well-being of the team and are generally as follows:
- Acts as liaison between skaters and team manager.
- Attends all practices and assists with music play-back and equipment as needed.
- Possesses first aid certification (not required, but preferred).
- Ensures team is aware of the schedule and follows it as set by the team manager and/or coach; informs team members of any changes to the set schedule.
- Communicates information to skaters as prepared by team manager.
- Manages competition costumes during event and assures their maintenance, repair and storage between events.
- Attends all competitions:
- Coordinates meals.
- Works on schedule with coach and team manager.
- Prepares changing room for practice, official practice and competition; makes sure it is left clean.
- Helps oversee discipline, including how team presents itself in public and their behaviour at the rink, hotel and restaurants.
- Assists with team curfews and wake-ups.
- Coordinates team events with coach and team.
- Coordinates additional wardrobe requirements with team captain(s).
- Monitors and collects team members’ medical information; updates this information regularly when changes occur.
- Assists in the collection of all team members’ necessary documentation for submission to Skate Canada, as required.
- Assists team members’ fundraising campaigns.
- Acts as the communication liaison among the team members, coach and team manager.
- Manages the team’s “Rescue Bag” during practice and competition. This is usually a bag or carry-on-sized suitcase containing the following:
- Basic first aid, feminine supplies and box of tissues.
- Spare skate guards and skate laces.
- Screwdrivers for every type of screw used on blades; extra screws.
- Hair supplies: bands, bobby pins, gel, hairspray.
- Clear hockey tape (to tape laces and keep them from coming undone) and duct tape.
- Extra pairs of clean and undamaged tights in correct colour.
- Sewing supplies, safety pins and scissors.
- Competition make-up (carry only to competitions) and mirrors.
The size of a team’s operating budget will vary greatly from team to team, according to the length of the season and the complexity of the training program, staff members, ice costs, locations of competitions attended and other variables. A team budget must always consider and include the following (as applicable):
- Coaching costs.
- Should include fees for choreography and music production.
- Assistant coaching costs.
- Ice costs.
- Off-ice costs.
- Room rental if applicable.
- Professional fees for any hired resources (ballet, Pilates, dance, etc.).
- Planned seminars and physical evaluations.
- Dresses and other wardrobe needs (track suits, team jackets, practice dresses, etc.).
- Planned competitions:
- Bus, airfare or carpool cost
- Coaching costs (on and off-ice)
- Ice cost (if purchasing additional practices)
- Off-ice room cost (if renting off-ice space)
- Competition cost (registration and other fees)
- Management costs, if applicable (copy paper, internet access, basic supplies, space rental, etc.).
Please see Appendix E for a sample team budgeting worksheet.
How the budget is written and in which manner the skaters will be charged is entirely at the discretion of the organization. Some clubs put all expenses into one budget and charge the skaters for everything up front in one inclusive number. Others only initially invoice basic costs and budget and collect for each competition or event separately. Many accept payments over time and have clear policies on the quantity and frequency of payments that they require from members.
The most important thing about financial management is keeping open and clear communication with those who are paying for the skaters’ dues. Using monthly statements and updating parents and/or skaters at team meetings will help everyone feel confident about where their money is being spent.
Though not the most pleasant part of a manager’s job, collection of fees does fall under the team manager’s responsibilities. Many teams have drafted clear policies about when payments are due and which consequences will be applied (if any) to skaters that become delinquent in their payments. Managers often solicit the assistance of their chaperones to help collect payments or fundraiser money generated by the skaters.
Managing the team’s finances will also include some of the following tasks:
- Preparation of operating budgets
- Skater invoices and statements
- Tabulation of income (bursary, donations, etc.)
- Tabulation and payment of invoices
- Managing cash flow
- Producing team accounting statements and providing information to parents/skaters
- Liaising with sponsors or organizations who are making donations
- Developing fundraising strategies and implementation plans
Securing sponsorships and donations can help offset some of the costs associated with travel, competitions, and costumes that skaters face throughout the season. There are two types of sponsorships that team managers may pursue; private and corporate.
Private sponsorship is monetary support received from businesses or individuals who are interested in making a philanthropic contribution to the team and do not expect anything in return.
Corporate sponsorship is financial support received from a business or organization that will expect some type of return on their investment. Increased visibility through the use of a company logo on skater apparel or signage is a benefit that may appeal to potential sponsors.
No matter what type of sponsorship a team may be interested in pursuing, there are a number of steps that should be followed to garner the best possible outcome for the team:
- Assess current team contacts. These include businesses, relatives or friends that may be interested in having their business name associated with the team or the sport of synchronized skating.
- Prepare a sponsorship proposal letter to send all contacts. This letter should include information such as:
- Brief description of the sport, team background, competitive history, team goals and objectives for the upcoming season, skater bios, etc.
- Explain the financial needs of the team. Outline yearly costs per skater and specify the area the proposed sponsorship funding would go towards (ex. event registration, travel, training, ice rental, etc.)
- Summarize the type and amount of exposure your team will generate throughout the season at events and ice shows, media, etc
- Explain why the team is interested in creating a partnership with the prospective sponsor.
- Outline the benefits a sponsorship may bring to the business such as:
- Increased visibility for the company through advertisements, event programs, logo recognition on clothing, etc.
- Positive brand assimilation and improved corporate image
- Increased brand awareness
- Website exposure
- Local or National media exposure
- Team contact information
As an added reference, please refer to the Skate Canada Marketing Guidelines document posted under “Clubs and Schools” in the Members Only section of the Skate Canada website.