No matter how well you prepare, stuff happens that can make your fields not perform the way you would like. Usually, it is not the safety or playability that is compromised; it’s the aesthetics.
If you or someone on your staff made a mistake, own up to it. As a supervisor, you are ultimately responsible and must not shift blame to someone or something else. If weather or some other condition beyond your control caused the trouble, determine how to solve it and how you might avoid a future occurrence. Put those facts together in a way that doesn’t come across as excuses, but clearly explains the situation. Get that information, as quickly as possible, to anyone and everyone that might possibly be affected by, or made aware of, the problem.
It is a good idea to develop a variety of vehicles to get the word out before a problem becomes a news story. Develop a chain of people who you communicate to and through. Invite news media representatives to tour your facility and learn what you do when things are going well. It will be much easier to tell the full story to people that already know you and respect what you do.
If all or part of your problem was caused due to the absence of certain resources lost to budget cuts, be careful how you explain the situation. Make sure you have all the facts you need to back up your statements. Try to avoid using a field failure to lobby for more equipment, manpower or other tools you no longer have. It is best to point out all possible scenarios when working with your management and those that control the budget at the time cuts are proposed rather than after the fact. You also should avoid an “I told you so” attitude. A simple statement of details is best, whether working with internal or media personnel.
Be proactive and become known as the go-to person for information. You will elevate your stature in the community. People will come to you for answers rather than laying the blame.
The author is a contributing editor for SportsField Management.