Good communication is one of the key ingredients for success in almost every facet of life — and team sports is no exception. Todd Sheldon, a varsity-level football and track coach at Mandan High School in North Dakota, said his communication tool of choice is the sportsYou app.

Two weeks before the season starts, he holds a meeting to inform the parents that he will be communicating with them exclusively through the sportsYou app. He tells them they will receive detailed information on what will happen at each practice so the players know to bring the appropriate gear, clothing and other essentials as well as money for food or a packed lunch.

On the app, the parents can view the team calendar, pictures and videos from practices and send instant messages to Sheldon or another parent. The parents typically communicate with each other to organize their own group activities that revolve around the practices and games.

“That way they are not checking 15 different places or looking at emails,” said Sheldon. “They can get it as an app on their phone and get all of the updates as they happen.”

He has held coaching positions at different schools since 1996 but has been a coach at Mandan High School since 2004. He remembers the days when the only way to communicate with the players and their parents was through printed handouts, which he described as “painful and time-consuming.”

About three to four years ago, he was using a different app to communicate with his teams but the features were too rudimentary. It only allowed him to send 100-character messages and there was no way to share the calendar or images.

The sportsYou app has been a very useful tool for Sheldon. He added that sportsYou saves coaches significant time and that it’s most effective if you consistently use it. A couple sports teams at his school don’t use it on a regular basis, so when the coach eventually does send a message, the team and their parents don’t notice.

“The upside of sportsYou is that when you use it and engage in it, it’s going to be successful for everyone - and save time and effort,” he added.

Another thing Sheldon wants other coaches to be aware of is that system updates on the iPad could interrupt the use of sportsYou and other apps. To prevent that, he said to simply make sure to reload the apps after system updates are finished.

“The sportsYou app has worked really well for our football and track program — so well that our baseball program is now using it and our wrestling program has used it over the winter,” said Sheldon.

The boys soccer team and girls volleyball team also plan to start using sportsYou in the fall.

In this current era of smart devices, you can see why it’s a smart idea to use sportsYou as the main tool for communicating with your team and your parents. At the end of the day, we all have busy lives and smart devices are the most convenient way to disseminate information. And remember what Sheldon said — use it and engage in it and sportsYou will be successful for everyone!