I was talking to a friend who coached high school softball for 33 years, and he told me about a rule he had. Every player hated at first, but like most good ideas, they learned to live with it and actually benefited from it. And like all good rules, it was simple.
The team bus was a Cell Free Zone. When got on the bus, every player turned their cell phone in and got it back 30 minutes before they arrived back at the school.
Is that possible? Contrary to the initial reaction from the players, their constitutional rights were not being violated and no laws were broken.
But can teenagers survive a bus trip without access to their mobile phones? What did the kids do without their phones? They talked to each other, got to know each other better, and team chemistry took a giant jump forward.
What about the parents? Can parents survive being disconnected from their child for that long? What about emergencies? He took care of all that by making sure each parent had two numbers – his cell and the school.
Interestingly enough, DRIVN, while a mobile app, can help you get the same results with your team. DRIVN offers the flexibility to create a “Parents Channel” within the chat feature. Or you can create a channel used exclusively for travel.
“A lot of our teams do a really good job managing aspects of their travel,” said DRIVN Vice President of Business Development Mike Gosselin. “You see a lot of communication for players, but now we are seeing a whole different set of communication for parents.”
Prior to the trip, a message is sent with the itinerary. You can send directions in the form of a link to a Google map, and tell everyone where they are stopping to eat. You can even attach a menu for pre-ordering, collect the orders and send it ahead to the restaurant if you want. Other messages can include information like what color uniform the team is wearing, or maybe the starting lineup.
Parents who want to meet the team at the game, can receive updates on weather, traffic, parking and anything else that comes up.
“The parents get a message that says we will be at the stadium in an hour, or highway 85 has construction, or make sure you park in Lot B,” says Gosselin.
What about emergencies? Every bit of “in case of emergency” information can be stored in DRIVN. The player profile section includes not just emergency contact numbers, but Gosselin says a lot teams are adding things like allergy details, and for overseas trips, passport and visa information is included.
So, collect their cell phones and let the players talk to each other. The kids don’t need them, they are already on the bus.