Youth sports leagues face competition from other organizations. If parents and coaches aren’t happy with how your league operates, other options will be available to them for next season. And different leagues are not the only competition you face — other sports are also vying for participants. Although some families are fine with their kids playing more than one sport in a season, many aren’t and restrict children to one activity at time. With participation in traditional sports still high, and with emerging youth sports such as lacrosse (400,000 kids now playing in the U.S.) continuing to grow, more kids have opportunities to play — and more options to choose from.
Fortunately, many administrators and league volunteers thrive in their goals of making their organizations great. Parents sing the praises of these leagues, register their kids year after year, and recommend such organizations to their friends. But no matter how successful your league is, there is always room for improvement. Here are four tips to help make your league the best around:
A league website is almost a must today. The site can include game schedules, season standings and statistics, message boards, individual team pages, fundraising information, photo pages, and more. Furthermore, online registration can be offered through the website, thus simplifying the process for parents to sign up their kids and for coaches to access rosters. Online league management software gives administrators a means to easily set up and maintain websites that strengthen your community.
Umpires and referees are more than just arbiters of the game. They also act as teachers, giving advice to young players on the rules to follow and how to play with good sportsmanship. The best officials also keep the peace when coaches and parents start to take games far too seriously. Hiring good umps and refs, as well as taking the time to train and develop novice officials, will benefit your league in the short term and the long run. This is an area in which online league management can help — the features of the software save admins time that can be subsequently devoted toward finding and developing the best officials.
A postseason tournament offers teams an exciting way to conclude the schedule and generate excitement after a long and, hopefully, productive season. Even in leagues that aren’t competitive (i.e., scores or standings aren’t kept), a tournament provides players with a sense that these extra games are special — a celebration of sorts. League management software can create tournament schedules for you, thus allowing you to focus on the other details that will make the postseason great.
Successful youth sports leagues aren’t just good at scheduling and communication. The best organizations realize that their underlying emphasis is providing a top-notch experience for the players. Winning and losing should be secondary to the kids learning sports skills and life skills. When everyone in your league, from you and other administrators to coaches, officials, and parents, is on board with that philosophy, your league will be well on its way to being one of the best around.