This is the first in a series highlighting our newest feature: Scheduling. Over the next few posts, we’ll walk you through the steps you’ll take to create a schedule that works for your site, your athletes, and your volunteers. -BM
When will the schedule be coming out? What time should I get to the venue? What time is my division going in this event? When is my last event for the day? These are some of the most common questions fielded by every organizer of every competitive event that’s every occurred. And the answer has always been hard to define and even harder to determine. Until now.
We are happy to announce that we have added Scheduling to our competition planning platform and we’re making it available to our you on an as-requested basis. Since it’s early in the feature’s lifecycle, we’re being sure that we take the time to explain, assist, and listen as our first customers implement their competitions using our tool. If you’re interested, just drop us a line and we’ll make sure the situation is right and will enable the feature for your competition. So how does it work?
Like everything we do at Throwdowns, we try to make it simple and intuitive. Scheduling a competition requires knowing a few pieces of information. Fortunately, you’ve already collected all this information by the time you’re ready to think about the schedule, but here are the pieces you’ll need to complete before you start:
- Set up your Divisions
- Set up your Workouts
- Register your athletes
Once these pieces are in place, you can get a meaningful and accurate schedule out to your athletes, volunteers, and spectators. However, there is some preparation you can do before athlete registration closes to make things simpler and faster later on.
With this being the first introduction into the Scheduler, we thought it would be helpful to provide a description of the workflow you’ll follow when using the feature. These sections will be covered in this post and subsequent posts in the series.
- Segments – Segments are blocks of time you can set aside when arranging your competition. Segments can be a day, a morning, an afternoon, or even just an hour! You’ll be able to set these segments to align with a location and one or more workouts in the steps that follow
- Locations – Locations are just that: areas at your competition venue that you’ll perform a workout or set of workouts. This may be a rig, a turf segment, mats in a parking lot, or even a running track or swimming pool. Locations help your athletes and staff know where to go for each event on their schedule
- Workouts – The Workouts section is the portion of the Scheduler where you’ll set the duration of the workouts in your event, the amount of time in between each heat, and the number of lanes available for athletes to perform each workout. These data points are used to calculate the actual schedule and to alert you as to whether the timeline you’ve laid out will work based on your athlete count and workout lengths
- Athlete Seeding – This section allows you, as the organizer, to set the heat and lane seeding of specific athletes based on your preference. This is often used when athletes’ participation is based on online qualifiers
- Schedules – Schedules is where you’ll be able to set the Division order for each event on the schedule. Organizers often do this when they want to prioritize an Elite division as the last event or ensure that Masters always go first
- Heats – Here is where you’ll see the results of running our Scheduling tool. It will display the athletes in their respective heats and lanes
- Judges – This section will let you set Judge assignments for each lane on a division basis. As if often the case, judges rotate on and off the floor after several heats rather than for each heat
We define a Segment as a block of time in which an event or set of events takes place. For instance, a Segment could be a morning session, an afternoon session, or a whole day – it’s entirely up to you how you set the parameters. For demonstration purposes, we’ve set up a simple competition with two segments: Day 1 and Day 2.
Within each segment, we can set the Title, include a detailed Description, and set the time Boundaries for the Segment. This is meaningful for the following reasons:
- Athletes and volunteers know what to expect
- Everyone involved knows when segments should be complete
In a future post, you’ll see how this impacts the process of setting up your schedule, and putting athletes into heats. We will alert you to issues or overages that would prevent your competition from meeting the timeframes you’ve set up in this step. That will be a cue to you as to whether you need to add segments, days, or even shorten the time domain for a given workout.
The next component of your competition that will need to be set up are the Locations. As is the case for many competitions, there are events that require a rig and others that don’t. There are events that require space to safely lift heavy and events that require space for jumping rope. All of these factors will influence where in your venue you’ll hold a given event. As you can see, we have Cindy in this competition we need to be near the rig for the pull-up bar. However, neither Annie nor the 1RM snatch event require it so they can be outside.
With this feature, combinations and permutations of events can be set to your liking. This provides value to your participants by not leaving space unused and ensuring that all athletes are moved through the competition as efficiently as possible For one-day competitions, this is particularly important and can be one of the most time-consuming parts of setting up your competition. You’ll see in the next few posts how we take that off your hands and let you focus on what matters the most: your customers.