By: Maria Moore
Just over a week ago we published an article, Practice Spaces Available For Active Sports On Town-Owned Land: Supply Vs. Demand, in which we showed the practice spaces on town-owned land made available to active sports and how those spaces were used in the summer/fall of 2011.
In the summary of that article, ‘Future Allocation Of Practice Space: Meeting The Needs Of Teams & Other Residents’, we drew the following conclusion:
“We believe that by using a rational approach, rather than an emotional one, in allocating practice spaces for the 2012 summer/fall season, the needs of the sports teams can be met while also respecting the needs of other users of the town properties as well as the needs of those residents who live next to or close to the areas in which active sports practices take place.”
Since then our reporter, Maria Moore, has been working on developing a simple mechanism to match the needs of teams with the the practice spaces that best meet those needs. This matching of the existing infrastructure with the most appropriate team would also minimize the friction between those living in the residential neighborhoods in which the practice spaces are located and the members of the active sports teams.
Below is the one-page questionnaire our reporter developed and revised several times based on the input she received from 6 active sports coaches whose coaching experience spans from the late ’80s to the present. Below the questionnaire, we will illustrate how two coaches whose teams have very different needs would easily identify the practice area that best meets their needs.
Youth Sports: Practice Space Request – Fall 2012
Download a copy of the above coaches’ questionnaire as a printable PDF: Coaches\' Questionnaire: Practice Space Request - Fall 2012 (43).
Completing the questionnaire would take a coach a matter of minutes:
- The coach circles the features at each practice space that meets his team’s needs;
- The coach adds up the number of circles for each location that best fits his team’s needs and she/he writes in the Total # of circles for each location that best meets the team’s needs;
- The questionnaire is submitted to the president of the coach’s sport.
Allocating the practice areas would be done by each sport president in collaboration with the Rec Director:
- Each sport president forwards copies of the questionnaires from his sport’s coaches to the Rec Director.
- Each sport president then consults with the Rec Director on which practice spaces to allocate to his coaches.
- The Rec Director then approves the allocation of the practice spaces to the coaches based on making the best match for each team while also meeting the needs for practice space by other sports’ coaches.
Following are two examples of allocating practice space by using the coaches’ questionnaire:
First Example: The Diamonds Soccer Team – A Team With Few Needs
This example is based on Nick, a fictitious coach of a soccer team called The Diamonds that is made up of 1st graders. There are 12 kids on his team. The parents drop off the kids at the beginning of practice and pick them up at the end of practice. His team practices twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-6 p.m.
Nick’s questionnaire looks like this:
Nick’s team’s needs were best matched by the practice space at two locations, the Bakerville School and Brodie Park South. Since both locations were available, the Rec Director proposed to the Soccer president that Nick’s team use the Bakerville School practice field so that the Brodie Park South location would be available to other park users. The Soccer president asked Nick for his input and Nick agreed to hold practices at the Bakerville School.
Second Example: The Wolverines Football Program – A Program With Many Needs
This example is based on the real needs of the Football program and how the use of this questionnaire might match those needs with the most appropriate practice space. The President of the Football program would submit one questionnaire for football which would include the 4 football teams and the cheer team because Football needs to hold their teams’ practices at the same place, on the same days and at the same times. The Football president would have initially requested Brodie Park South for his program’s practices based on the fact that Football had practiced there for the past 4 years. The Rec Director, however, would ask the Football president to use the questionnaire and circle the features of the practice spaces that best meet his teams’ needs.
The Football program’s questionnaire would look like this:
As a result of using the questionnaire, the Football program’s needs would be best matched by the practice spaces at Brodie Park North, where the cheerleaders could practice on the green in front of Berkshire Hall, two football teams could practice on the lower field and two football teams could practice on the upper field. Because Football’s equipment would be left on site, they would be given storage space in the cabin at the lower field and in the Field House at the upper field. The only Football need that the Rec Director would be unable to accommodate at Brodie Park North would be the portable lights to allow Football to continue their practices after dark. At the Rec Director’s suggestion, Football could agree to end their practices at 7 p.m. during the weekdays and to add an extra practice on Saturday mornings for the two older teams.
A Questionnaire Whose Time Has Come
The Coaches’ Questionnaire featured in this article was reviewed by 6 coaches and their suggestions have been incorporated into the questionnaire. NewHartfordPlus will be submitting a copy of this questionnaire to the Rec Commission with the request that the questionnaire, or one similar to it, be used to allocate the town-owned practice areas to the sports teams requesting the use of such practice areas. It is our hope that by using a rational tool such as this questionnaire to best match the teams’ needs with the existing infrastructure, the teams will feel that the townspeople are truly interested in accommodating their needs while at the same time protecting the rights of the neighborhoods in which the practice areas are located.