The controlled chaos that seems to be collegiate athletics is nothing compared to what is going on in a graduate assistant’s mind learning and watching all the moving parts. Now do not misunderstand; controlled chaos is not a bad thing, but here are just some of the things it includes:
- Athletic Training
- Business Management
- Fan Engagement
- Game Operations
- Practice Schedules
- Class Schedules
- Facility Rentals
And the list goes on and on. But maybe you can identify with trying to plan events four months out, while a fellow graduate assistant is editing music for a game in a week, all while the cheer and dance coach whose office you are working in is trying to choreograph a new routine. Plus, I forgot to mention your personal DJ coming from the synchronized swim team playing its fascinating music most of the day.
Howdy from San Antonio! My name is Megan DePrimio, and I am a graduate assistant in the Athletics Department of University of the Incarnate Word. As such, I was tasked with coordinating and handling all of the marketing and promotions for women’s basketball this year. As a former basketball player myself, I very much enjoy this assignment and the challenges it can bring.
So even before grad school starts up again in the middle of August, work has already begun. Because my supervisor has a lot on his plate already managing the marketing for the whole department, university licensing, sponsorships, and “other duties as assigned,” I am given a good amount of autonomy for which I am thankful. However, since people in athletics are generally very busy, it does not allow time for hand-holding, so I have the responsibility to see projects through and think about new women’s basketball promotions for instance. Some such ideas that we are implementing this year at UIW are Mascot Day and Alumni and Athletics Nights along with some popular ones such as Military Appreciation and Breast Cancer Awareness. When it comes to looking for other different suggestions, I peruse the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) Online Library because it has some great resources such as blogs, forums, and live chats. In fact, if you are a member and missed it, here is the #NACMAYP Live Chat “How to Make Your Basketball Student Section Legendary.”
As for working with coaches, now that can be quite interesting sometimes. Especially as a graduate assistant in a lower position of authority, it can be difficult to schedule one-on-one time with a busy coach. What I have found is that face-to-face communication is always best when it can be squeezed in. Additionally, coaches may not always realize that there are other sports graduate assistants have to manage. While women’s basketball might want to talk about downloading new music, you might have to worry about getting everything ready for football the next day, not to mention soccer that night. Therefore, in order to manage the expectations of coaches, one can never go wrong being as open and helpful as possible.
I have not yet even talked about keeping up with classes and homework, so let me make sure to say an additional tool to employ is time management. Communicating, coordinating, integrating, marketing, planning, promoting, and working along with school are all part of a delicate balance; and one that is hugely rewarding and satisfying at that. Practicing good time management will enable you to map out the season while still getting everything else done. While it is not always an easy task, it will be worth it (and has been thus far for me!). As a result, if you put the care in, everything will fall into place.
In the end, I hope this blog has helped illustrate a little bit about the life of a graduate assistant when it comes to women’s basketball. I’m always up for learning new things and hearing new ideas, so feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, and happy start of basketball season, everyone!