Preparing for Tournament Play: Logistics
A Tournament can be one of the more challenging activities a team has to face throughout a season. A tournament can pose a special group of challenges to players, coaches, and support staff. Many of these issues are not always easily anticipated, and will only become evident when the problem is upon the team if the people involved in management are not experienced. For an inexperienced tournament play team, the secret to success lies in preparation and seeking advice. For the experienced team it will come down to processes, checks and balances put in place to minimise the chances of a mistake happening.
One of the most troublesome areas in regards to playing in a tournament is getting there. If travelling a great distance to the location of the tournament then there will be a couple of options to consider. The three primary options for travelling to a tournament are by plane, coach/car or for younger players their parents might be responsible for providing the most significant transport leg for each team member. Which option is chosen will be based upon a number of factors, but probably the most significant will be the cost and time available. While travelling by coach can be a very cost effective form of transport. It can be up to five times slower than a place for short distances (for example a three-hour plane ride).
While the cost maybe right in favour of a coach over a plane, the consideration needs to be given to the amount of recovery time players will need following a long bus trip. Often this will extend the down time further associated with a long an arduous bus trip.
No matter the transport method finally chosen by the team, a crucial point will be the time of departure and communicating this with the group. Information needs to be provided to parents of younger players well in advance. This is also the case for older players, but a common mistake made by new Team Managers with junior teams is providing the information to the players rather than directly to the parents who will be paying and facilitating the player’s participation in the tournament. It would not be excessive to provide information to all parties involved in the tournament up to six months ahead of time. This will allow for the gradual payment of costs associated with the tournament over a greater period of time.
When playing in a tournament featuring multiple games over a short period of time. It is always best practice to arrive at least on the day prior to the event. If the location has some inherent challenges such as significant change in temperature to that which the team is accustom to or at a higher altitude then arriving well ahead of time will be a valuable option to have. Another common problem often faced by teams is if the tournament happens to be in a different time zone to which they are used to. This can be often overlooked if only a few hours but this will still have an impact on an individual’s ease of falling to sleep or waking up.
Once at the location however then next concern in regards to logistics will be moving around the geographical area featuring the tournament. It is not unusual for small towns to host events such as sports tournaments together to help provide the required supply of facilities and resources. Being aware of the various travel requirements needed while on location will also feature as a key point. Often providing only a coach will not be practical for scouting and general errands while having multiple vehicles will also provide its own challenges.
No matter the level of team, the challenges can be great in organising the logistics for a team. Knowing what resources are available will be vital in determining how to use these items and gain the best advantage in the process. Start by speaking with experienced Team Managers or Sports Administrators within the club, association or college.