Managing Weekend Personnel
So far this season in NEISA there has been a higher than normal rate of teams withdrawing from regattas last second or outright no-shows. We even had a no-show (uh oh!) at our home intersectional. Here is a simple plan to manage a large roster and busy weekends.
Students will often notify the coach verbally of an upcoming weekend conflict. If your team enters more than one regatta per weekend, as most do, then verbal notification does not work. The coach cannot possibly remember the dates of the students LSAT exams, wedding invitations, religious obligations, etc.
On a single pad of paper title three columns: Name, weekend off, reason. Above the column headings you might list the actual weekends by date so they know which day is which. This pad gets distibuted at the weekly team meeting and/or is available everyday at practice. Some simple rules follow: two weeks notice minimum or else the offending sailor must find suitable replacement and expect to get an unfavorable choice later on.
Another helpful hint is not to sign up for too many regattas in the first place. As the scheduling process begins, the coach should have an academic calander with exam dates, vacations, one-day holidays (Columbus Day Weekend is a favorite family weekend), parents weekend, religious holidays; and then schedule accordingly. You do not want to schedule regattas for your entire team on any weekend. If you do, you will end up begging your players to sail and frustratingly dropping out of regattas at the last second when it should be the other way around, (well, not quite but you get the idea.) You need to have a player or two in reserve for illness or family emergency.
Good luck this weekend and enjoy. Though many of us coaches get paid, it is a game in which we have a front row seat.
Ken Legler, Tufts University Sailing Coach