Mike Candrea

Head Coach
University of Arizona

How long have you been at Arizona? What are your most important day-to-day responsibilities and activities?

Well, I’ve been at Arizona for thirty years. This is my thirtieth year. My responsibilities have been the same over the years – to try to run a program at the division one level that can compete for a national championship. That entails a lot.

What does success in your role look like?

There are numerous ways to define success at this level. Most people would think it would just be winning championships, but for me it goes way beyond that. It’s about preparing kids for life after softball. The environment I can build for them to grow as an athlete and student – and ultimately as a person – really is what this venture is all about. So, obviously, winning is a big part of it, putting a good product on the field and competing at the highest level. But at the end of the day, its all about developing people and giving them the skills to learn to be successful, whether it be on the softball field or in life.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of what you do?

Well, we are dealing with eighteen, nineteen, twenty year-olds. Number one, it’s about trying to get them to manage time. I think time management is a huge part of being successful, and most kids at an earlier age think they can manage time. However, once they start trying to balance being competitive at a very high level, both academically and competitively, and trying to have a little bit of a social life, it gets really challenging for them.

Most of these kids are also growing up in a culture where their communication skills are done by iPhone, text messaging, and social media. Very seldom have they had conversations face-to-face with people. I’m kind of old school; I want them to be able to communicate verbally. I want them to be able to express their views but, more importantly, to understand other people’s views and be able to come up with something that’s ultimately best for everyone.

For us, a lot of it is about giving them life skills they can utilize to someday get a job like I have – something you have a passion for and something where you don’t feel like you have a job a day in your life because you are passionate about what you do.

How does Teamworks help you in your day-to-day life?

Teamworks is a vehicle that allows me to communicate with everyone involved with our program – from the student-athletes, all the way down to the guy who is working on our field, to keeping administration involved – to make sure they understand what’s going on a day-to-day basis. If there are ever any questions, we have documentation. If you start looking at our program, there’s probably anywhere between thirty-five to forty-five people who are involved with our athletes on a day-to-day basis. So, the biggest thing is the communication tool. I can hit a button and send out a message to a lot of people at once. For me, to be able to access anyone in my program at any moment, at any time, no matter where I am, has been pretty powerful.

Why did you decide to start a trial with Teamworks?

I got to the point where I was kind of in the dark ages when it came to utilizing text messaging. The biggest thing for me was not only being able to get information out, but having the ability to easily update it at any time. I used to give out paper calendars, but what I found out was that if I gave the calendar to them in August, by the time it was November I had to go back and redo a lot of things because things change. It became a real paper nightmare for us.

Now, with everything on Teamworks, it gives me a lot of different ways to put information out there. We can load files, post my weekly practice schedule every Monday, and the latest version is immediately accessible in the app. From our summer conditioning programs, to our lifting schedules, to our calendars, to our dress sheet with all the players’ information on it, it’s all in one place. And it can always be found, which is nice. It’s really made things a lot smoother for me to engage so many people. Teamworks has really helped us streamline everything.

Was there anything in particular that impressed you during the trial?

The one thing that really impressed me about Teamworks when I first got hold of it was how comprehensive and powerful it is. It allows me to streamline everything I have to do. Files are a good example. The nice thing now is if I want to give them something on nutrition or whatever it may be, we just load it to Teamworks. That way they all have it. It’s really limited the amount of paperwork we have to give out.

It’s also very simple to use, and I think that’s what most coaches are looking for. They want something that’s simple, something that’s easy to get in and do what you need to do and not go through eighteen million different bells and whistles to make it happen. The more I use it, the more user-friendly it becomes, and I have fallen in love with it.

How has Teamworks allowed you to focus more on your day-to-day responsibilities?

It doesn’t take me very long at the beginning of the week to get out my practice plans and travel schedules. I can do that all within a thirty-minute period, whereas before, if you made a change, you would have to go through forty different people to tell them about the change. Now, you do it once, and it’s all there. Our kids and our people utilize Teamworks every day and know that the information is always going to be updated and always going to be there. They don’t have to call and ask a question, and I think that it has really streamlined my time management. Teamworks has allowed me more time to do what I’m here to do, and that’s to coach and to spend more time on the field with our athletes.

What has been the perception of Teamworks among your athletes and staff?

It’s invaluable. Our players live by it. You can look and see how often they use it, and our players are on it everyday. Our support staff, whether it be our game management staff or whoever it may be have also found it a very useful tool to know what softball is doing.

Would you recommend Teamworks to another program?

I would most certainly recommend Teamwork to other programs. Teamworks has streamlined everything for us and has been a really great tool.