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By Chris Marshall
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Spond is one of the (many) things that have changed – well technically been introduced as nothing like this existed – since I last played Cricket 33 years ago!

Smooth communication between team leaders, coaches, members and guardians on one platform

The downside of Spond is that is is ‘yet another’ social media platform so in many ways it overlaps with many of the others on the market so you may well find that it is hard to get everyone to ‘buy into’ all the features, and although it certainly has enough to warrant its use if you ‘only’ use it to determine availability, you wont get the most out of it.

As with most things in life, and certainly most things application and software related, the more time and effort you put into working out how you plan to use the application and then setting it up properly and populating it fully the easier life will become in the future.

In another example of how club cricket has progressed over the last 33 years it is not unusual for a club to field 7 or more teams: Saturday & Sunday League Teams, Ladies Teams, various aged junior cricket.

All selected from a pool of players, your database, which is a good place to start: getting every individual or Parent/Guardian to register.

One thing that has not changed in 33 years appears to be the ‘nightmare’ or selection: availability of players, giving everyone an equal opportunity (whilst still competing), late drop outs resulting in midnight raids on the lower teams ….

Over a season you will see players promoted (and relegated) between the various teams, but Spond handles all of this pretty well.

If Stage one is to get everyone registered on the application, Stage 2 is to set up a Group for each team. To me it makes sense to view this as a Squad rather than a Team: so an individual may sit in multiple Groups, and may well be added (or removed) from Groups throughout the season. It also allows a player to request not to be in certain groups.

A good Stage 3 is to upload all of your club fixtures and set up a schedule to invite the relevant group(s) to those fixtures to fit in with your selection meetings. This is why I would look at the groups being squads so an individual may get a couple of invites each week, but they can accept (or decline) them all, or maybe they can play in a home fixture but not travel, or perhaps they feel their game will benefit for a game at a lower (or higher) level.

The point here is that selection meetings start with confirmed facts, so an initial team has been pencilled in.

Used this way only Spond is useful and will save clubs a lot of time, and we now start to enter the overlap with existing social media platforms.

Notifying players of section is no longer an evening spent on the phone passing on the good (and bad) news and often reacting to tantrums!

I like the idea with Spond of setting up a new Post for each team selection: that way you notify they players selected, you confirm meeting and travel arrangements and you can include directions. If that sounds like hard work, then one post covering all the teams for the weekend (week) is an option as well, and you can use Spond to message individual players who have been rested, or moved up/down a level.

Personally if I was setting up Spond at a club I would aim for this level of usage to be the minimum. It is a fact of life that many of us use multiple social media platforms and spend time both copy/paste and viewing the same post several times, and by definition the other platforms will have a more established use.

I would try and encourage a deeper and more advanced use though: training session events so people can proactively chat about what they are looking to achieve (face a left arm spinner for example, work on their slip catching), so a sense of community and support is established.

Personally I would welcome the opportunity to pay annual membership and weekly match fees through the application, and I like the Polls feature which allows teams to vote on a player of the match for example, and then helps with end of year performance awards.

Application Developers Description

With Spond you can:

  • Invite members to practices, games or other team activities. Customise events to suit your needs, with full control over who you want to invite and which members that have not answered yet.
  • Share information, files, photos and polls. Share experiences from your sporting season, summaries, photos, questions and be able to see who has viewed the shared content.
  • Send private messages or create group conversations. You can communicate individually, with selected parents, with the whole group or with everyone that is attending a specific event.

Spond is a multi-platform service. Optimised and user-friendly for mobile, tablets and the web.

Spond makes it easy to organize groups for either children or adults, and you can invite to events, share posts and pictures. Spond handles sending out invites through either SMS, email or app and collects all the answers to give you a full overview.

• People don’t need the app to respond – we will send invitations by SMS or email.
• Get an overview of who has answered and send reminder to people who does not answer.
• Organise child groups where parents can answer on behalf of children.
• Import member lists from Excel.
• Create repeating events and let us send the invitations on your behalf.
• Easy to schedule multiple events.
• Share information, pictures or updates with posts.
• Export list of participants for events.
• Suggest several dates for events and let the invitees vote.
• Seamless integration with your calendar.
• Add multiple administrators and organise the group together.
• Everything is free.

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