Take the hassle out of running a sports team with clever online tools, writes Eleanor Isaacs.

If you know anyone who organises an amateur sporting team, don?t bother calling them on Thursday evenings.

Chances are they?ll be flat out making their weekly round of calls to the other players on the team, trying to figure out who can play, who?s busy or which kids have recovered from chickenpox.

Those organisational chores may be easier than washing the team?s jumpers after the match, but they do deter volunteers from giving their free time to local sports clubs.

?The new generation of amateur sports administrators do not want or expect to commit too much of their time,? says Peter Macaulay, Product Manager with Melbourne?s InteractSport, a company that?s trying to help out local sporting teams with innovative new online services.

Where to play

The company?s SportzVault and ResultsVault products help sports clubs to automate almost every aspect of their operations.

?One of our tools is a player availability manager,? Macaulay says. ?You can send an email to all your club members and ask them if they can play on the coming weekend. They have the option to say ?Yes?, ?No? or ?I?ll ask the missus?.? Sending this request by SMS is another option.

Organisers will also appreciate the service?s ability to take scoresheets and other statistics and, in the case of its cricket product, instantly produce statistics such as batting and bowling averages. Sporting associations can also use the company?s tools to create season draws and manage other aspects of a league.

Website included

Macaualy says InteractSport?s products cost ?a couple of hundred dollars a year? for a single team, a price which includes a team website.

InteractSport is not alone in this market. Prowess Sports and TeamSnap offer similar online services.

All, however, share the same aim. ?Noone really enjoys the Thursday night ring-around,? Macaulay says. ?If you can reduce that workload it makes it more fun to participate in sport.

Source: Australian GO magazine