The Go4 platform is focused on connecting organizations with athletic trainers and insights to help those organizations operate at a higher level. We’re sharing the accumulated knowledge of veteran tournament operators, coaches and club managers. Check out the list of 7 Things That Need to be at Your Tournament Headquarters.

The Tournament Headquarters should be the soul of every event, ready to handle any situation that arises–from medical emergencies to lost keys and roster changes, HQ is the foundation. Keep the branding tight, don’t leave coffee and breakfast on the table, and be ready to assist!

And if you need additional resources, get your hands on them here.

  1. Private WiFi.

    • It seems like a no-brainer, but don’t rely on the venue’s public wifi or your data on Tournament Day. With hundreds of parents, players, and coaches trying to get online, your tournament HQ tent should have a private hotspot that is only used by the tournament staff.

    • Schedule updates, emergency communication and tracking weather all require wifi; keep the password to the internal team!

    • All of the major carriers, like T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon sell hotspots that you can add data to as needed so that you’re only paying during tournament season.

  2. Portable Power Station

    • Portable power stations are a necessity. Your staff needs access to charge cell phones, walkie talkies and computers. In the event of an emergency, calling 911 can’t wait for you to find an outlet.

    • Share the highlights of your tournament via social media. Charge electronics to post high-res pictures, scores and storylines in real time.

    • The top of the line is Goal Zero from Yeti, designed for a weekend camping trip but perfect for a tournament. Alternatives include Ecoflow and Jackery portable power stations.
    • If you’re looking to compare, check out Goal Zero, Ecoflow, and Jackery.

  3. AEDs

    • 9/10 times, there should be at least one automated external defibrillator located at the tournament headquarters. The day before your event starts, check the batteries and run a test on all AEDs.

    • If for some reason the HQ is not centralized, make sure the AED location is marked on your field map so the entire staff and all participants know where it is located. AEDs need to be accessible to a person experiencing a cardiac event within 2 minutes.

    • If you have multiple AEDs on-site, your athletic trainer might opt to keep one in their cart; but always keep one at the central location, ready for use.

    • If you’re looking for the best place to purchase, try Phillips or Zoll Med to start.

    • If you primarily operate in one area, another useful tip is to reach out to local EMS to find out which AED they use. In the event of an emergency, you will have compatible equipment and pads will not need to be changed out after they have been applied to the patient and EMS arrives.

  4. Paper/Hard Copies

    • Extra copies of your field map, tournament schedule and waiver are extremely helpful. When wifi or data gets shaky, hard copies will beat your tournament website for the frustrated grandparent or the arrived-just-before-gametime-coach.

    • Keep a copy of your contracts for gear and food vendors. You’ll need contact details if they get lost or need your help. You or your second in command will also need to know how to handle payments at the end of the event.

    • Depending on the size of your event, printed rosters can make all the difference. Some college coaches still prefer the hard copies, and it’s also an easy way for you to spot-check players that may be playing for two teams or signed up in the wrong age bracket.

  5. Giveaways / Fun Stuff!

    • When a player, coach, or parent leaves your event, they should be thinking three things: “that was a well run event; that was a safe event; I’d like to attend more events from this operator.”

    • The first two are straightforward and with attention to the schedule/competition, athletic trainers and a great EAP, easily attained. However handouts like stickers, sunglasses, prize drawings throughout the day or even a 50-50 raffle gives you the opportunity to interact with more participants.

    • It also makes for easy social content and gives people a reason to swing by HQ and provide you with feedback on the event.

  6. Tool Kit

    • If you’ve been operating tournaments long enough, you’ll have some items that you keep handy too. But just in case, here is a list of items to keep in the tool box at HQ, because you’ll need them eventually:

      • Scissors
      • Hammer/Mallet
      • Screw Driver (both)
      • Zip ties
      • Rope
      • Duct Tape
      • Athletic Tape
      • Shoelaces
      • Mouth Guards
      • Extra Batteries
      • Flashlight
      • Hand warmers
      • Chargers
      • Plastic bags
      • Medical gloves
      • Sharpies
      • Rubberbands
      • Extra Official’s penalty flag or Red/Yellow cards

  7. You!

    • You and your internal team should be managing the command center at HQ. Listen, offer reassurance and be ready to answer any questions that participants or spectators have.

    • Don’t hide away in the corner. Be front and present to help solve issues. You never know when a simple explanation or conversation can result in positive outcome and future additions to your tournaments.