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- Using the Business S-Word — STRATEGY– for Sports
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Mention the s-word — strategy — and thoughts go immediately to business issues and the boardroom. Strategy is easily used in the business context but it is just as easily ignored, forgotten, or possibly not even considered in the sports environment. If the s-word — strategy — is mentioned in sports, typically it is in reference to upper management or the owners. Then, the objective is dollars and cents — maximizing gate receipts, holding costs in line, and returning profit on investment.
When business managers talk strategy , the ultimate goal is being unique from the competition.
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Winning in the marketplace is the objective — whether it is winning marketshare or winning customers. For sports managers, winning is also the goal — whether it is being number one or improving on past performances.
The lessons learned from business strategy can be applied to tactics on the sports field. However, organization writers and theorists have largely ignored the parallel Peatling, On the other hand, strategy may be the element that a coach or manager is missing from sports play.
This paper reviews basic strategy tactics and makes suggestions about applying the fundamentals to the competitive sports team. Effective strategy in business is all about being different and anticipating future events in order to react and respond proactively.
Using the Business S-Word — STRATEGY– for Sports
In sports, also, strategy is valuable for achieving the competitive edge that comes from doing things differently. Strategic alternatives aim to stretch thinking and to widen the range of options considered. The future can be described in scenario possibilities, which will have different consequences or uncertainties for different competitors. Regardless of business or sports, each team will respond in ways that reflect their goals, assumptions, capabilities, and competencies.
When setting the game plan, it is important for businesses and sports alike to know where competitors fall on the continuum of good to bad. For example, when a team has a player known for violating the rules by getting too excited or by losing control of emotions, then future strategy must factor in the likelihood of repeated infringements and the potential to affect the game outcome.
Competition necessitates performance-related activities — supporting creativity and innovation, promoting a cohesive culture, implementing measurable actions targeted at success. Competition creates the need for strategy. Competition requires strategy. Competitive strategy is the search for a favorable position; it aims to establish a profitable, sustainable advantage against others in the game arena.
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For example, at any point in time, the sports manager is concerned about league rivals, key personnel in upper management who pressure for performances that attract spectators, key players that leave the team, the threat of players being sidelined and substitutes with unknown track record taking up positions, and the threat of potential entrants who are the talented young stars eager to take their places with teams willing to risk signing.
The unpredictability of sport requires contingency planning or strategy when dealing with competitive pressures Shank, In business, the SWOT analysis is central to developing competitive strategy.
The SWOT template is easily adapted for developing competitive strategy in sports. Laid out in grid format see Chart 2 , SWOT positions strength and weakness together for the internal view of opportunities and threats related to external issues. In this format, resources and capabilities are matched to the competitive environment.
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Action choices and alternatives develop from the interrelationships identified within the grid. The result is that strategic possibilities become clearer.
Once the grid is completed, strategy alternatives can be identified, considered, assessed, and evaluated. Remembering that strategy is a goal-oriented action that stems from the fit or match between internal and external environments, four approaches become evident:. The coach wants strategy alternatives that will help the team gain an advantage, on court and off, in the competitive environment. Numerous combinations can be put together but the starting point is identifying the internal strengths and weaknesses and then systematically covering the opportunities and threats.
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Reference to the competitive pressures identified in the five forces model complete the application — business to sports see Table 2. Taking the strategy principles from business and using them in the sports environment is a logical application.
The frameworks used in one are equally relevant to the other. It is the critical thinking behind any strategy development that contributes to effectiveness.
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The business manager who can assess a competitive situation and maximize the team competencies to best advantage will understand the importance of strategy.
The sports manager who can develop strategy from in-depth knowledge about player capabilities and maximize the team position in the competitive environment will know the value of the business s-word. In sum, basic strategy tactics are equally relevant to business and sports.
Dwyer, R. Peatling, G. The Social History Society, 2 3 , p Shank, M. International Edition. Previous Next.
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Submitted by: Jim Grant, Donelda S. Chart 2: the SWOT grid.