Dec 16, 2022 • 6 min read
When a youth sports club has happy members, it’s likely because the sports organization has devoted resources and time into making a valuable experience.
Winning games and developing athletes are all parts of youth sports clubs, however the fundamental success of a club or league is all in how the members; players, parents, and coaches are treated. When coaches are happy they will stick around, when parents are happy they will continue to invest in programs, tournaments, and gear, and when players are happy they will not only get better but encourage their friends to come along. Making people feel good and feel like they are valued in the process is essential.
Here are 5 strategies you can implement to help make members the central focus of your club/league and improve their experiences overall.
Most athletes and parents join a sports club to see development. Proper athletic progression is something that not only impacts the player, but the parent experience as well. Good player development varies from sport-to-sport, however it typically involves physical, technical, and tactical elements. Investing in player development ties into proper coaching development. In order for players to see progression, coaches need to know how to demand, teach, and encourage their players. One way to think about investing in player developments is to set a standard methodology/method that lays out the pathway and progression expectations.
Another way to help with player development is to look outside the organization. Don’t shy away from bringing in other experts, former players at a high level, and coaches to run a skill seminar. For athletes starting to go through physical changes, it’s always important to refer physical therapists or strength and conditioning coaches to help with injury prevention, body awareness and overall health.
Just like we mentioned above that a player’s development is conducive on a coach’s ability to relate and teach a player, coaches need to feel supported and valued within an organization as well. Investing in your coaches’ growth will show them you are committed to seeing them develop as coaches and want to help them with their continued education. There are several online courses as well as coaching courses out there. Positive Coaching Alliance’s mission is “to change the culture of youth sports so that every child, regardless of social or economic circumstance, has access to a positive youth sports experience.” One way they stand by their mission is by offering resources for coaches. PCA offers six online courses that are all expert-developed and designed to help coaches, parents, athletes and officials ensure that winning happens both on and off the field in youth sports.
Investing in your coaches’ education and training is an investment in your players and overall member experience.
Feedback is an essential part of growth. By asking your members for feedback, you can take the positive first step in seeing how satisfied your customers are. Are you meeting their expectations? Do they want to see more of something? What are areas you can improve? By opening up your doors to feedback, you are also showing support of a culture that is driven by open communication and trust. People want to be part of a community they feel seen and heard in. You can ask for feedback by way of surveys, emails, or polls. Feel free to get creative and once you have asked for feedback, take some time to digest it all. Go over the recommendations, sift through the positive and areas to improve, and put together a plan to start implementing any changes. It’s likely you won’t be able to change every little thing, but you can always make a plan and best practice to improve what you can. This shows your members that you see them, you hear them, and you value their contribution and opinion.
Parents and players make up the core of your sports organization. They are your boots on the ground for how things are going at your organization, and what other organizations might be implementing that could impact your club. Create a culture within your organization that values ideas and feedback from your members. Regularly ask for input and suggestions. Soliciting feedback and input from members helps them feel like their opinion matters, and it is a great way for you to improve existing processes or implement new ones and people want to be part of a community they feel heard in.
Work with your staff on understanding what the members are thinking and feeling. In order to meet the needs of your members, you need to think like them. As a board member or league organizer, ask yourself what you would want from a club or league if your kids were playing? It also helps to think about this from the mindset of an athlete in the program. If you were an athlete here, what would you want to get out of your time here? You can start implementing a customer-first mindset by having coaches check in with their players regularly to see if the players are happy and motivated. This is a good thing to do at the beginning of a season as well as at the end. In the beginning of the season, consider holding a pre-season meeting to go over expectations and get a feel for the team. Following the season, re-visit what happened and check-in with everyone to see how they felt.
If your sports organization is large and even if it’s small, making a concerted efforts to know your coaches, parents and players is important. Personalized outreach can be monthly emails or even just making a point of showing up at the field or court. Being present and taking the time to get to know people on a personal level will make families feel like they are investing in something real. At the end of the season you could create a ceremony that recognizes coaches and players for their efforts with an end-of-the-season awards. You could also give coach, parent, and even player spotlights through your various social channels or email/website. Events throughout the year that are club-wide are also a great way to encourage everyone to get to know each other. Strengthening member ties help build a strong community which results in member retention and satisfaction.
A personalized experience can also be made by way of having a strong organizational and communication strategy. A disorganized club without clear communication usually means a bad member and far from personalized experience. If you can find a trusted technology to manage your day-t0-day club operations, parents will feel seen, coaches will love it, and players will get to play.
TeamSnapp app = the best-in-class team management app.
Learn more about TeamSnap for Clubs & Leagues.