The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

ASA/USA Complex of the Year 2014 !

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Arrowhead Park in Broken Arrow, Okla.

named 2014 ASA/USA Complex of the Year

OKLAHOMA CITY —After hosting two ASA/USA National Championships this year, including the inaugural 2014 ASA/USA Girl’s 16U Gold National Championship, Arrowhead Park in Broken Arrow, Okla. has been selected as the 2014 Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America/USA Softball Complex of the Year presented by Stabilizer Solutions, Inc. Announced today by ASA/USA Softball, Arrowhead Park will receive their award at the 83rd ASA/USA Annual Meeting in Reno, Nev. and will also receive approximately $2,000 in field maintenance products from Stabilizer Solutions.

“Arrowhead Park stepped up to the plate this year as hosts of the first-ever ASA/USA 16U Gold,” said Chris Sebren, ASA/USA Director of Championships. “With less than a year to plan the 48-team tournament, the staff and city’s efforts to create a first-class experience for the fans and athletes shows just how deserving of this award they truly are.”

Previous award winners include the Charlie McVay Complex (Roswell, N.M.) in 2013, the Botetourt Sports Complex (Botetourt County, Va.) in 2012, the James I. Moyer Sports Complex (Salem, Va.) in 2011, Veterans Park and Athletic Complex (College Station, Texas) in 2010, Heritage Park Softball Complex (St. Joseph, Mo.) in 2009, Twin Creeks Softball Complex (Woodstock, Ga.) in 2008 and Freedom Ridge Park Complex (Ridgeland, Miss.) in 2007. The Field of Dreams Complex (Las Cruces, N.M.) won the inaugural 2006 award.

“Oklahoma ASA is honored to have Arrowhead Park in Broken Arrow to be named the 2014 ASA Complex of the Year,” said Oklahoma ASA Junior Olympic (JO) Commissioner Carolyn Shafer. “Broken Arrow Girls Softball has been a long time supporter of ASA. Thank you to the staff of Broken Arrow Girls Softball for making this award possible.”

Built in 1995 as an eight-field complex, Arrowhead Park underwent a renovation in 2013 that included the addition of four fields to bring their total to 12. Staffed and operated by the Broken Arrow Girls Softball League, the complex sits of 30 acres and features a walking trail and park just outside the fields. Inside the ballpark, each field offers covered spectator seating, covered dugouts for the athletes and coaches, digital scoreboards and a PA system. In addition to the covered seating, the complex features two gazebos at each grouping of fields for spectators to watch the action on four different fields. Fans also have access to free wireless internet at the complex.

“Congratulations to all those who have helped Arrowhead Park join the ranks of Complex of the Year award winners,” said Jon Hubbs, President of Stabilizer Solutions, Inc. “It is obvious that their success comes from dedication to providing not only top fields for play, but a true overall experience for players and spectators alike. We look forward to their continued success and innovative practices.”

Most recently, Arrowhead Park hosted the inaugural ASA/USA Girls’ 16U Gold National Championship, which was held July 21-26. Eight of the fields were utilized for game play while the remaining four fields were dedicated solely as warm up areas for teams. All fields of play offered free online stats during the weeklong National Championship, while Field 1 offered free live streaming. Arrowhead Park also held the ASA/USA Girls’ 18U Class A Southern National Championship July 13-19.

About ASA
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.

About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles as well as claimed six World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.

Codi Warren, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications

Amateur Softball Association of America/USA Softball
Office 405.425.3431 | Cell 405. 420. 2817

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“SODA is an Allied Member of ASA/USA Softball since 1983″

Sports Facility Operations: Automated and Streamlined !

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As I train sports facility owners and managers on how to set up their businesses with eSoft Planner online scheduling software, they often tell me specifically how their facility operates and expect the system to conform to their operations exactly.

In reality, you’re not likely to find a system that can replicate your operations in every way. Some flexibility is required when you’re automating your operations with a software program. This automation always saves time and money in the long run compared to scheduling by hand or using an Excel spreadsheet, so it’s definitely worth making a few tweaks – either to the software or to the systems in place at your sports facility.

In fact, existing facilities that are starting to use a new software program have a good opportunity to re-evaluate operational practices. Keep in mind that most sports facility scheduling software is built to accommodate the operations at a majority of sports facilities. If your own scheduling practices deviate wildly from the norm, it’s worth considering the benefits of the alternatives that are presented to you, especially because it’s difficult to change your software once it’s already been set up.

I typically get pushback during the setup process when facilities want to be more lenient with their customers than the system suggests. eSoft Planner, in particular, was built specifically to help sports facilities save money by preventing lost revenue due to last-minute cancellations and no-shows by requiring upfront payment at your sports facility. If clients are used to paying for private lessons when they show up for that lesson, they might not like upfront payment at first, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get used to it. (eSoft Planner does allow sports facilities to set aside time without payment – but we don’t encourage it!)

However, if your software system can’t do something that you’ve determined is important to your clients and your bottom line, there are usually minor workarounds that can be achieved. Software systems and sports facilities may use different language to descripbe the similar services and operations. When setting up your facility software, everything boils down to how and when you require your clients to pay for their services.

For example, in eSoft Planner, you can:

*  charge clients regularly each month for services to be used that month (referred to as a “membership”),

*  have a client pay up front for a group of services that need to be used before an expiration date (referred to as a “package”)
*  have a client pay upfront to enroll in a series of group lessons all at once (referred to as a “camp”)
*  have a client pay for group lessons, one at a time (we set these up as “classes”)

One recent client balked at the restrictions because his facility had defined “sessions” that started on the same date each month for everyone and had a pre-determined number of classes in each. Since eSoft Planner’s “memberships” can start on any day of the month, he wasn’t sure the software was a good fit.

However, we quickly determined that clients starting mid-session could just purchase the remaining lessons in the session as “classes.” They could purchase a “package” if they just wanted to pay for one month, and if they wanted to auto enroll in future sessions, a “membership” would work.
Remember to be open minded and work with your software provider to come up with the bests solution for your sports facility.

If you have any questions about how you can make scheduling at your facility more efficient, I’d be happy to set up a consultation session with you.

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Post-Season Ballfield Renovations, part 3 ! – Beacon Athletics

Our first taste of late autumn chill has come and gone as renovation to ball fields has hit a fevered pitch. The race is on to get field projects done before the colder winter weather sets in across much of the U.S

In the north, we have about a month or two left before old man winter’s icy winds will begin to shut things down but down south there is still ample time to do renovation work to your fields provided there is a break in the scheduled use of the facilities.

With the renovations we have covered in our previous posts (Part 1Part 2), your turf and infield skin should be in fine shape by now. We’ll wrap up post-season renovations by paying attention to the two areas on the ball field that see the bulk of the abusive wear — the mound and home plate areas.

What started as a great pitching mound in the spring with its well defined table and perfectly sculpted front slope sometimes better resemble a pimple by the end.

To start the mound renovation process, begin with determining whether the pitching rubber needs to be replaced or turned (If it is a block pitching rubber). If the rubber needs replacing or turning, reference the directions under “Setting The Pitching Rubber” in Beacon’s Online Field Dimensions & Reference Guide (order your hard copy today from our webstore) to ensure proper placement and alignment of the new or turned pitching rubber.

Once the pitching rubber is secure, sweep all loose soil and topdressing material off the entire mound surface and dispose of it. All loose contaminants like this must be removed in order for new clay to properly bind to the existing mound clay. Score the area where the table is located at the top of the mound to cut down any high spots and provide a rough surface for new clay to bind to. Add clay as needed until the clay surface of the mound table is level and even with the surface of the rubber once fully compacted. Check the surface of the table with a level for accuracy.

Next, setup a slope gauge on the front of the mound to measure existing conditions. Cut and shave any high areas while marking to indicate low areas. Add clay where needed, roll and tamp firmly. Replace the gauge on the front slope of the mound and continue to make adjustments as needed until the slope across the face of the mound is perfect. Finish by rolling the front slope smooth. The sides and back of the mound should have a consistent slope that runs from the clay area edges on the mound to the grass edge at the base of the mound.

If you topdress your mound, I would suggest holding off until the start of next season so it looks fresh when that first game is played in the spring. Plus, if you are in a northern climate where frost is likely, you will probably see some heaving of the surface of the mound which should be rolled next spring before applying the topdressing. Your mound is now ready to overwinter. Remember to keep it covered, if possible, to prevent erosion from rainfall.

The home plate area also suffers its share of abuse over the course of a season. Low spots are likely in the batter’s and catcher’s boxes and where the runners accelerate up the foul line just outside of the left-handed batter’s box. High spots usually develop where the umpire stands behind the catcher and along the outer edge of the home plate circle from dragging.

Before winter sets in, strip all loose topdressing and soils from the home plate area. Aggressivelynail drag the home plate area to scarify the high spots down. Use a level board or rake to pull the excess material in the high spots away and into the low areas. Continue to work the surface until the high spots appears level. Check your work by stretching a string line from the surface of the home plate to the grass edge of the home plate circle. Make sure the string is very tight to avoid improper readings. Where the surface pushes the string up, it is likely still high. Use a sharpened iron rake or X-drag to make further cuts to lower the high spots then pull the excess to low areas. Bring in additional material as needed to finish the leveling. When finished roll the soil tight.

If the home plate is in need of replacing or flipping (if you have a 2-sided plate), this can be done before or after re-leveling the home plate area. Be sure to accurately measure all distance points from the plate and that the plate sits level when finished.

Since the home plate area is mostly a flat level surface, I usually will leave this area uncovered during the winter to allow it to gobble up as much moisture as it can. Again, I suggest not to place fresh topdressing on this area until spring. That brings me to a point I forgot to mention in last month’s post. More and more recreational fields are using topdressings on them, which is a very good thing. But there is something you should consider in preparing your fields to overwinter. Some topdressing materials more than others can easily be blown around by winter winds. Winter is when we typically see our strongest winds, usually associated with the stronger winter storms.

If your field is in a northern climatewhere snow covers the ground during the majority of the winter, then there is nothing to worry about.

However, if you are in a part of the country where your field sits all winter unprotected from the wind, then you are susceptible to having some of your topdressing building up in the grass edges of your infield skin over winter.

Up at the higher levels of ballfield management, crews usually remove the topdressing layer once the ball season is over in order to prevent the material from building lips over the winter. In the recreational ballfield setting, this usually isn’t possible due to the number of fields and lack of time and resources to dedicate to the project.

So, there are other ways to protect your field, like stapling down filtration socks (pictured) near the edges of the infield skins to stop the topdressing from blowing into the grass edges. These socks are often filled with chopped straw, compost, or other lightweight materials, and are really all it takes to keep your topdressing on the infield and out of your grass edges. Cheap, easy, and quick to put in place. It sure beats spending time in the spring cleaning out your turf edges.

Perhaps you have other ideas on how to capture the topdressing before it plants itself in your turf edges. If you do, send me your pictures and ideas (paulz@beaconathletics.com) and we’ll share them with our readers in our next blog post.

Keep our Beacon Probrick in mind for all of your post-season mound and home plate renovations. It’s a great option for those heavy traffic areas. One last thing… you may be interested in watching theBulldog Home Plate Installation video below. Until next time…

– Paul Zwaska is the former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles; You can learn more at Groundskeeper University

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Number of intramural flag football teams in decline !

     A losing Texas Longhorns football team may not only affect game attendance but also registration for intramural flag football, according to a Division of Recreational Sports official.

Between 2011 and 2013, the number of total registered teams for intramural flag football in the fall decreased 12.9 percent, from 387 to 337, according to Rec Sports. As of Monday, there are 284 teams registered for this season. Darci Doll, senior assistant director for Rec Sports, said the registration deadline has been extended to Friday to give teams more time to sign up.

Doll said the highest number of flag football teams in recent years was 416 in fall 2006, a few months after Texas’ national championship win at the Rose Bowl.

“When the campus community is excited about a certain sport, they want to be involved in it as more than just a fan,” Doll said in an email.

In an interview, Doll said, while fall flag football registrants have been declining, the popularity of intramural soccer has been increasing over the past four to five years. The number of total registered fall soccer teams has increased 5.2 percent, from 232 in 2013 to 244 this season, and is still rising, according to Doll.

Doll said the growth in soccer registrants could be a result of both the popularity of the summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the increase in prevalence of the sport across the state.

“We see more students who have enrolled in UT who have played recreational soccer all their lives,” Doll said.

Men and women are exposed to soccer more equally, Doll said, unlike football, which is primarily played by men.

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Tustin Sports Park: For Play Days Under the Sun Shade !

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by Michele Whiteaker

Tustin Sports Park is home to tennis courts, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, a picnic area, and a SHADE-covered playground. Its bright red color makes it feel festive and happy. A number of families were there on a hot weekend morning when we visited. Thanks to the family who took the time to recommend this park (I marked their comments in quotes).

Location: Tustin Sports Park is very easy to find right off Interstate 5. Drive towards the foothills past the huge Tustin Marketplace shops. The park is a left turn onto Robinson plus a very obvious left turn into the parking lot. [Address: 12850 Robinson Drive, Tustin] MAP to Tustin Sports Park in Tustin

Recommended by: A Fun OC Parks Visitor

Highlights:

The “big play area with canopy” is definitely its biggest perk. No battling hot slides or overly sweaty kids.
It’s a “full sports park”
“Nice seating area with grills for picnics”
“Full walking/running path with distance markers”
My family loved the slides – steep, twisty, spiral, tunnel. All the fun ones!
2 bench swings and 2 baby swings (not under the shade cover)

Be Aware:

Some slippery spots from the sand on concrete and sand on recycled rubber
During large sports events/weekends, I can see this place would be packed with people.

Checklist:

Parking in a dedicated lot – no fee
Sand and recycled rubber play surface
Picnic area is set away from the playground
Very nice restrooms in the big building near the Express Sports Cafe
Drinking fountains near the restrooms and on the other side near the baseball diamond. Shade under the playground cover and over viewing benches
Easy to view kids from almost every angle.
I was told the vending machines don’t work. Every time the mom I spoke to tried them, she lost her $.
The Express Sports Cafe hours are M-F 5pm-8pm and Sat 10am-4pm.
Lighted tennis courts, lighted basketball courts, and lighted baseball diamonds.
Official City of Tustin website page for Tustin Sports Park
Nearest Public Library Branch: Irvine Katie Wheeler Public Library
Nearby “no TV” restaurants: Chik-Fil-A and In-n-Out are both nearby on Jamboree, but we often grab a sandwich from Sprouts Farmer’s Market deli and picnic at the park

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Playing ball, having fun: Participation declines nationwide, but softball remains a big deal locally !

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Burlington Recreation and Parks Department’s softball leagues have a strong tradition and continue to provide those seeking fitness an opportunity to play with others in the local community on several of the fields made available at City Park.
The department’s fall leagues kicked off Aug. 18 with 65 teams competing in several league categories. Recreation and Parks director Tony Laws has witnessed the evolution of softball league play since he started working for the department in 1968.
Laws said when he first came to work at the department there were softball leagues for men, women and churches. There were about 40 teams during that period in the late 1960s. The number grew to 150 softball teams during the next two decades.
Laws, who also is a state commissioner for North Carolina on the Amateur Softball Association, said beginning in the early ’90s the number of softball teams began to decline in Burlington, matching a nationwide trend. Fewer churches participated in the department’s leagues and the decline in companies, especially textile companies sponsoring teams, also played a part in the overall decline in the participation of softball.
“This was a textile town and every mill had at least one team,” Laws said. “The bigger mills had multiple men’s and women’s teams.”
How softball is strategically played has changed through the years as well.
Laws said composite softball bats replaced wooden bats. This placed less emphasis on defensive strategy because with composite bats players attempt to hit home runs on every swing.
Laws said the equipment used has outpaced players’ abilities to play the game. The composite bats made with synthetic materials increased ball speed coming off the bat and players sometimes have trouble making plays in the field.
“The defensive part has disappeared,” Laws said. “It’s an offensive game. Now, it’s just ‘see who can knock the ball over the fence.’ ”
Laws said a recent report issued by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers noted that participation in softball has declined nationwide in the past five years by one-third.
“That’s a big drop,” Laws said. “Lots of sports have peaks and valleys and right now softball is in the valley.”
According to Recreation and Parks athletics supervisor Jessica Hicks, the department’s girls’ fast-pitch league remains strong with high participation. Hicks said she believed this was due in part because colleges offer scholarships for girls’ fast-pitch softball, driving demand for girls’ fast-pitch softball leagues.
Hicks and Laws agreed that decline in softball leagues also has been driven by less emphasis on team sports. Hicks said many opt to participate in sports that are individualistic such as running, or extreme sports including rock climbing.
Laws said the Baby Boomer generation helped spur the popularity of softball in the ’70s and ’80s and they are now not as active in the sport. The current generation of youth is more into playing electronic games and staying indoors, he said.

The leagues currently offered by the department include men’s softball, co-ed softball, Friday night church softball and girls’ leagues. The department also offers women’s softball leagues, but there weren’t enough teams to form a league for women in the fall.
Hicks said the women’s softball league will return in the spring. Most league members are from Burlington and Alamance County with a few players coming from Durham, Chapel Hill and Greensboro to participate this fall.
Burlington will serve as host for an Amateur Softball Association (ASA) men’s senior slow-pitch national tournament at City Park during Labor Day weekend.
Laws said Burlington first held a national softball tournament in 1966. There was a break in the city’s being host of national tournaments until 1979, and since then the city has been host to national softball tournaments almost every year.
The department’s fall league will continue through October with softball games played every week. Laws said softball games today are watched mostly by those connected directly to the games, including family members.
“Softball in its heyday was a big spectator sport,” Laws said. “People just came out for the entertainment value.”
Laws said it wasn’t uncommon to see spectators with no connection to the teams come out to watch. Laws said there were really good teams then that people just wanted to see.

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Ballfield – Post-Season Renovations, part 2 – Beacon Athletics

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It’s August and daylight is on the wane. The sun is coming up later and setting earlier. We are beginning to see a cool night make an appearance on occasion. And many baseball and softball seasons have wrapped up for the year. There will be some fall ball seasons played but football season will take the lead by the end of the month. That means many ball fields are done for the season so it’s time to get to it and get those fields ready for next spring.

Last month we talked about getting the grass back into shape after the season as well as dealing with any lip issues that may have developed during the season. Now, we move to the infield skin itself. This time of year is the best time to do any renovation on the infield skin whether it is minor or major. You have plenty of time to work on it without the threat of an opening day deadline and much more favorable weather and soil moisture conditions.

A season can take a toll on an infield resulting in ragged turf edges and high and low spots in the infield skin. Reestablish your turf edges by running string lines and scribing arcs to mark out where you need the turf edges trimmed back to in order to give the field some crisp, clean edges. If you find that trimming your baselines or infield edges are making those skinned areas too large, you may have to consider placing a strip of new sod in along the edges in order to reduce the width of the baselines or the size of the infield. This is usually inevitable over time where cool season grasses are grown. Southern grasses will grow much more aggressively into the skin areas and therefore trimming edges is a more frequent task where they are grown.

With the lips removed from your field and crisp clean edges reestablished, you can now use a string line to evaluate the condition of the surface grade of your infield skin. By stretching a string line from the front turf edge to the back turf edge of an infield, we can instantly see the condition of the surface grade of the infield skin. High spots will push the string up while low areas will leave a gap between the string line and the infield soil surface. When checking the grade, make sure that the string line is pulled as tightly as possible otherwise the line may sag providing incorrect readings of the surface grade. Take a survey of the infield by running string lines in several locations around the skin to check for the amount and magnitude of high and low areas on the skin. In general, high areas will typically occur on the first and third base corners of a baseball infield skin as well as along the back edge along the back arc. Low areas will commonly occur in leadoff areas around bases, fielder’s positions and the front edges of the infield skin.

It is important to rectify these issues as soon as possible as these imperfections in the surface grade of your skin areas can create major headaches in rainy weather when you are trying to drain the field. IF you are lucky, you have the budget to call in a sports field contractor to repair the surface grade and improve its performance. If not, this work can be done on a low budget basis by doing it the old fashioned way, by running string lines and using your nail drag, rakes and level boards to manipulate the surface by cutting the highs and filling the lows to achieve a smooth and consistent surface grade.

If you have historically had problems with the performance of your infield soil, an Infield Soil Test can be performed to look at the physical makeup of your soil. A test will expose any weaknesses in the make-up of your infield soil — Beacon can provide this service to you, contact us for more info. With the innovation of DuraEdge™ and FieldSaver™ “engineered infield soils” in the past decade, it has become easier and financially effective to fix most problem infield soils without pulling out the old soil in most cases. The late summer and fall season is a great time to make adjustments to your infield soil using these materials. A balanced infield soil and the perfect grade will provide you the ultimate playing surface.

Finally, I’d like to mention a common question I get here at Beacon. Customers will often call to ask me how to keep weeds out of their infields and warning tracks. You can spray Roundup (Glyphosate) or other non-selective herbicides onto these areas but more than likely the weeds will return. The best way to prevent weeds on an infield skin or warning track is to continue maintaining the surface by dragging it about twice a week. This should be done throughout the remainder of the growing season. It will also keep the field smooth for surface drainage. There really is no other magic way of suppressing those weeds

COMING NEXT MONTH: WE’LL FINISH UP WITH RENOVATION TO MOUND AND HOME PLATE AREAS

Project Services Group

– Paul Zwaska is the former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles; You can learn more at Groundskeeper University.

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Is a League Liable for Faulty Sports Equipment ?

Concerns regarding older equipment
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We received a phone call from a youth lacrosse club coach who was concerned about the use of 20-year-old helmets that haven’t been reconditioned or re-certified. He wanted to know if he could be liable in the event of a head injury to a player since it his responsibility to verify to the referee prior to the game that all equipment is in safe operating condition. He also wanted to know if his General Liability policy would cover any potential lawsuit.

The short answer is that league administrators and coaches are responsible for the following aspects of equipment safety:
Long-range planning for the repair, refurbishment, and replacement of helmets. These decisions need to be made far in advance as they can take time to budget and complete.
Confirming helmets meet current National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) requirements, as well as the requirements of the sports governing body.
Helmets should be inspected for defects in post season, pre season, weekly, and prior to any game or practice.
Maintaining repairing, and conditioning equipment on a regular basis.
Reconditioning to “like new” basis of safety equipment such as helmets should be performed by a reputable reconditioning business as opposed to an on staff trainer. NOCSAE may require re-certification.
Replacing helmets on a periodic basis per manufacturers recommendations.
Record keeping for documentation purposes on all of the above.
There is no doubt that many of the above outlined principles may have been violated and the coach is justified in his concerns about liability.

General Liability generally don’t have an exclusion for lawsuits arising from of injuries due to failure to follow proper equipment safety protocol as outlined above. Therefore, coverage is likely to exist under most policies. However, a minority of policies may have a punitive damages exclusion. Willful disregard of known safety protocol could result in punitive damages. In addition, any litigation, even if covered by General Liability insurance, results in a black eye for the program and pretrial discovery and litigation is an emotional drain on league administrators and coaches.

For a more detailed resource on Equipment Safety, see our Risk Management Program For Sports Organizations
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Amateur sports officials deserve respect, not abuse !

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BY MEDICINE HAT NEWS OPINON ON JULY 23, 2014.

In any sport or activity, there are rules, and rules need to be enforced.

You can’t trust players on the team to enforce rules, as arguments would break out over minor inconsistencies, and it would lead to allegations of bias. Having a coach trying to officiate the rules would lead to a similar situation.

So, there is no choice: You have to have a referee or umpire on the ice or the field to enforce the rules as an impartial, third party.

A lot of times, they keep the game going smoothly, they make the calls and they’re fair and correct. Coaches, players and fans stay respectful and do not question or criticize the calls.

However, exceptions exist.

There are the games when the calls are not going one of the teams’ way, and the referees and umpires will hear about it. From coaches and fans. Some of these comments get nasty really quickly, jumping from “do you need your glasses checked?” to “How much is the team paying you to make these calls?” to comments that can’t be printed in any newspaper.

Who would want to be a sports official these days, considering the abuse heaped upon them.

We’ve may have all become angry at a questionable call during a game, but yelling, cursing and screaming at the ones trying to keep order in the game doesn’t help anyone at all.

Most referees and umpires do not do their jobs for the money. Calling a game for a few hours doesn’t pay the bills. Rather, it is something these men and women are doing on their own time because they enjoy the game. Many have been involved in sports for years, and this is a way to keep in touch with the sport they enjoy and help grow the game.

Referees and umpires are required. Otherwise, leagues fold. Yes, bad calls may be made, but we have to remember, these officials are human beings. They make mistakes, just like everyone else. They may believe the call on the field is correct. You may think otherwise. Just bite your tongue and move on, and make it up on the scoreboard.

This comments hurled at officials means it is hard to find new ones to take their place. Nobody is going to want to do a job where they get screamed at and made to feel like garbage if they make a mistake. It doesn’t allow the game to grow at any level.

It’s been said before, but officials in the games deserve our respect. Yes, mistakes are made, but a blown call is preferable to not having a sports league at all.

(Charles Lefebvre is a News reporter. To comment on this and other editorials, go to http://www.medicinehatnews.com/opinions

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Is Your Team/League Adequately Insured ?

Find out with our minimum requirement checklist:http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-blue-checklist-image9733810

How do you know for sure that your team/league sports insurance policies provide the coverage you need to protect against devastating lawsuits? Many local insurance agents and even so called sports insurance specialists are guilty of offering inadequate coverages.

Minimum standards for sports insurance have been set by a sports insurance expert, risk manager, and attorney John Sadler of Sadler Sports And Recreation Insurance. These standards are outlined in two separate checklists, one for private teams/leagues that purchase their own insurance one for teams/leagues with insurance provided by a municipal recreation department. Both our Sports Organization Insurance Checklist and Municipal Recreation Department Insurance Checklist can be found on our risk management page.

Sports administrators no longer need to frustrate themselves trying to determine what coverage and limits are necessary. They can simply submit the checklist to their insurance agent for completion. The insurance agent then checks off whether each standard has been met and signs his or her name.

Once the completed checklist has been received, administrators then can decide what to do based on the results. If your team/league hasn’t met the the mandatory standards, your insurance agent should remedy the problem or you should find a new insurance agent who can offer policies that meet the minimum standards.

Visit our team and league insurance page for more information on coverage or to get a quote. Or call us at (800) 622-7370!

Copyright 2014, Sadler & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

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