Create a news aggregator and tag field update articles so coaches, players and parents can be alerted through the mobile app
There’s no room in Carl Rendell’s vocabulary for the words status and quo.
For Rendell to not stay up to date or, even better, ahead of the sports technology curve is akin to the average person driving a horse and buggy to work or using a coal blast furnace as a source of heat.
If there’s a better, more efficient way to do something, rest assured "Coach Carl" will find it.
The baseball coach and information technology veteran (he worked for Silicon Graphics, Inc. and Intuit, among other mega tech companies) melds his two passions every day, either as the co-founder of Big Time Coach, a company that has developed six coaching applications, or as webmaster for the Bay Area’s Benicia Little League.
Rendell first gained notoriety in SportsEngine circles for his 2,361-word “manifesto” explaining why he chose the SportsEngine platform for his league after years of what he described as “incremental changes” on the old one. Rendell's "Why the Change?" article remains one of SportsEngine's greatest marketing documents even though that wasn't his intention.
Since delving into SportsEngine’s software, he’s created all sorts of handy information and tools for parents and players, including home run listings and an age calculator.
Our latest Pro Tip comes courtesy of Rendell, who devised a simple way to deliver field notifications through the mobile app to targeted teams' coaches, players and parents.
The quick and easy way to get venue notifications to coaches, players and parents through the mobile app:
Notifications through the mobile app will be sent out through a News Aggregator, so you'll need to have one somewhere on the site. The obvious place to put it would be on a fields or locations page that has other information about the venues used by your organization. In Rendell's case, he created a Locations page under the League section of the Benicia Little League site, then added the News Aggregator page element. Rendell said he chose to put the aggregator on a specific locations page so he could then give access to the page only to those authorized to add or change field status.
In the Currently Selected Tag(s) portion of the News Aggregator lightbox window, the aggregator will automatically select a tag that lists the name of the page. In Rendell's case, the default tag for his news aggregator is Locations for BLL Games and Facilities. That means any news article that has the Locations for BLL Games and Facilities tag will appear in this aggregator. There's no need to select any other tags for this aggregator, as tags can be added when creating a news article. In this example Rendell used the Show Tag Menu dropdown and selected tags for all of his fall leagues and teams. By doing that, any article tagged to a team or league will appear in both this aggregator and in the news aggregators created by default on the league, division and team pages. Also, all tags selected in the aggregator will be selected by default when creating a new article. In the Aggregator Type section, keep the default Show Articles by Tag radio button enabled. You can also choose how many Expanded Previews and Condensed Previews of your articles you want to appear. Rendell enabled the SportsEngine Mirroring option so he could use the aggregator on other pages throughout the site if he wanted. He also locked the aggregator in place so that it couldn't be repositioned by other site administrators with edit access to the page. Click the Save Changes link when the setup is complete. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the New Aggregator to return at any time to the setup menu.
To create an article, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of your aggregator. Click the Add Article link from the dropdown. All the tags you have selected for the news aggregator will appear by default. You can remove or add tags as needed by clicking the Show Tag Menu link and scrolling through the options. League, division and team pages should all have news aggregators created by default and thus appear in the menu. The team page tags determine which teams, coaches and parents receive notifications once the article is published. You'll want to tag only the teams that are affected by the venue update.
Rendell's Bonus Tip: You don’t need to create a new news article for each status change. Simply create one and set its expiration date to the following day or whenever you’ll next evaluate the fields. Then you merely need to edit the existing news article with new field information and change the publish and expiration dates. Also, separate news articles with different team tags can be used so that only those teams impacted by those fields will get the notification. For example, Juniors fields are 90’ so the Majors/Minors teams don’t need to know about the field closures and the same may be true for Majors/Minors vs. Tee-Ball and Farms (different fields). Note: To ensure the news appears on top you’ll want to change publish date to current date and time.