Sport Club Travel (With Advisors)

April 06, 2011

Rob DeFazio
Director of Campus Recreation
St. Bonaventure University

Chaperone, babysitter, Advisor, figure head, just along for the ride? Volunteer, or paid? Assigned or chosen? Does it matter when it comes to the safety of our students?

When a Club Team travels there are greater concerns than if everyone brought their cleats for the game. Who is driving, what are they driving, and who is capable of driving? Many clubs operate on limited budgets and leave it to students to arrange game, travel, and hotel accommodations. No matter where you live, traveling can be an adventure with a Club Sport Team. Club Teams will travel many distances and endure many different types of weather, and deal with many different personalities along the way. This is where the Advisor comes into play.

The Advisor position can vary from school to school, but the main idea is to provide the team with someone they can look up to and lean on in critical situations. The Advisor is someone who has experienced hospital visits, traveling issues, or sudden and unexpected life altering events. Advisors should be professionals that the students can rely on:- individuals that hold a position on campus that allows them to relate to students – but not be a student. This is generally an Administrator, Faculty, Staff Member or even a Nun or Priest depending on your College or University. It is not easy finding good Advisors, especially if it is a non-paying position. The effort to find advisors, however, is worth it to provide our students with the support they need.

The Advisor can take the pressure off students. He or she is there to listen to the students and lend advice whether on the road or leading up to a trip. The Advisor is the liaison between the team and the Director of Sport Clubs.

The University should explain its expectations of Advisors who accompany a Club team on a trip. These expectations typically include:

– Driving a University vehicle
– Quick response to serious situations such as emergencies
– Accompanying the injured player to a hospital and communicate with the doctors
– Being a presence to discourage drinking or non acceptable behavior
– Reporting back to the Director of Club Sports how the trip actually went
– Tracking who is eligible to play
– Being a positive influence themselves
– Mediating and diffusing tension amongst teammates

Some Advisors take their role more seriously than others. At St. Bonaventure University, one of our professors takes the Advisor role very seriously, and has created a binder for every game. This binder consists of:
– Players emergency contact names and phone numbers
– A list of who is eligible to play
– Copies of insurance information for all players
– A directory of all players home addresses
– Contact information for all important university personnel
– Hospital treatment sheets
– Injury reports
– Other pertinent information that arises through the year.

To maximize the effectiveness of Advisors, it is important to invest time in their recruitment and training. Conducting an ‘Advisor Training Workshop’ at the beginning of each year to outline roles and expectations can have a significant impact and go a long way to ensure safe travels for Sport Clubs.

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