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Best Electronic Organization for Team Sports

Directra vs Team Snap for Parent Volunteer Coaches

Anyone who has organized their child’s team sports (ahem… me once and only once) knows the pain of keeping the team member’s parents informed about an endless list of things from who is bringing a nut-free snack to where is that game anyway?! It’s a lot of stuff to coordinate on top of practices.

Last year, my oldest’s soccer team went electronic and our coach put everyone on Team Snap. It seemed to help with the day-to-day communication though it is only as good as the users who participate (i.e. if you are not going to make a game, you now have 3 options to tell people BUT you still have do something!). My husband and I are huge fans of Team Snap and should he decide to coach again, he’d definitely use it.

Then I discovered Directra, which is another free electronic organization tool for teams but also large groups (think volunteer groups at the PTO/PTA). To avoid a brain cramp, I asked the nice folks at Directra to give me an unbiased feature by feature comparison. The upshot is this: electronic organization for groups is a godsend to organizers. Both of these platforms are FREE. TeamSnap is specifically for team sports and is great and very helpful for volunteer coaches/parents. Directra is great for team sports and group efforts such as volunteers.

Since participants need to be entered into the system which is the most time-consuming part, I’d suggest picking the platform that you’ll use the most over the long haul. PTO/PTA management types: use Directra. Coaches that will coach their child from cradle to college: TeamSnap is for you. But don’t take my word on this; read on to decide for yourself!

p.s. Directra also competes against VolunteerSpot and Jooners. I have a post on that here.

Directra and Team Snap are two web-based products designed to make life easier for coaches, parents and players on kids’ sports teams. Both products provide strong privacy protection while providing a number of useful features. Below are details of how they’re the same as well as some of the key differences.

Both products have an easy to follow sign-up procedure. Both have extensive online help and provide email support. Teams are automatically assigned unique web addresses allowing access to the team site from any web browser. The team record is displayed on the home page.

Team Snap: Provides a home page with tabs and links to the site’s features (schedule, roster, photos, etc.).

Directra: Allows full customization of the home page, with easy-to-use built-in “gadgets” and the ability to make new pages with team-specific content.

Both products provide forms for entering individual player data. Members can be invited to join, which then enables them to use the full set of feature available.

Team Snap: Allows a list of name/email address information for multiple entry. The team roster allows “roles”: Owner (one person), Manager, Player, Non-Player.

Directra: Has a spreadsheet-type form for multiple entry. It allows import of multiple-player data using a standard .csv file and direct import of Gmail contacts. It also supports family relationships so separate entries for mother, father and child are allowed and are linked to each other. The team roster displays staff and players separately. Games and events are easily scheduled and displayed in either list format or standard monthly calendar format. Both support game locations with maps and driving instructions.

Team Snap: Allows arrival time in addition to game time. You can add details about game opponents: contact name and phone, plus notes.

Directra: Has RSVP to any calendar event and will send reminders of upcoming games and events via phone, text or email. Directra has a separate schedule type for practices. Teams can upload photos and other files (e.g. parental form required for child participation).

Team Snap: No additional media features.

Directra: Handles video uploads, display of photos and videos on the home page and assignment of any media type to albums and to individual calendar events. For example, game photos can be displayed when viewing the game on the calendar or in an album … or both.

Both products provide a number of other features: announcements; discussion forums for sharing comments and ideas.

Team Snap: Keeps track of team payments, records who’s bringing refreshments and calls out who will (or won’t) be at each game.

Directra: Handles game attendance and refreshments through the schedule RSVP feature.

You can set up a hierarchy for your league/group, with separate but connected sites for the league and individual teams. Both products allow “blasting”, the ability to send messages to all or selected members of the group.

Team Snap: Members can send email or text messages to all or selected team members.

Text messages are sent using the sender’s provider and replies are routed to the sender’s email address.

Directra: Members can be organized into subgroups. For example, you can create subgroups for coaches, parents and players as well as all members. Voice, text or email blasts can then be scheduled or sent immediately to all members or any subgroups. If a member cannot receive a message via one method (e.g. a text message) then another method will be used automatically, assuring that the message gets delivered. Text replies can be sent to the sender’s phone or email address. Voice blasts provide direct recording or text-to-speech conversion of a written message. Individuals can contact each other from within Directra. Conference calls are easy to set up and Directra calls participants to join. Email can be sent from any email program and use Directra routing to get to selected recipients. Both products require use of the web to set up teams but have applications that run on smart phones. Provides a mobile interface on iPhone and Droid for one-touch communication to team members.

Team Snap: Has an iPhone app which provides roster and schedule information, player availability and photo upload.

Both products have strong privacy protection. Members must be at least 13 years of age. Member contact data is not available to site visitors and can be hidden from other members who log in. Information available to web site visitors can be restricted on a feature-by-feature basis.

Team Snap: Nothing additional.

Directra: Provides a “middle ground” privacy setting allowing logged-in members to contact other members but never know the actual contact information. For feature availability, a general feature, say photos, can be restricted but specific photos can be made available to the public.

Both have free options.

Team Snap: Has three plans: Free, which includes schedule, roster, and messages; Basic ($6.95/month) which allows additional features (photos, payment tracking, refreshments, etc); Premium ($9.95/months) which adds statistics and a number of features for customization.

Directra: Is currently free to all users during the beta period. Two types of groups are offered. Individual groups will be free and provide communications and calendar features, Phone and text units are purchased as needed. Teams and other groups will pay $2.95/month which include all features and 75 text messages and/or phone minutes. Additional packages of messages/minutes can be purchased at a per-unit price as low as $0.037.

Both products are designed to provide benefit to any type of group, not just team sports. Team Snap and Directra are easy-to-use products which provide many features in common. The biggest differences?

Team Snap: Has some very nice features geared specifically for teams: payment tracking; refreshments; who’s coming to the game.

Directra: Provides a complete set of communication features available for planning, with RSVP and reminders, last-minute updates using multi-channel blasts and critical communication for travel teams on the go.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

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