6 Plays to Easily Build and Supercharge Your Youth Sports Programs
As the new year approaches quickly, youth sports administrators everywhere have a chance to hit the reset button. An opportunity to review the biggest successes and learnings of 2023 and prepare for greater successes in the new year.
Get every one of your clubs, parents, coaches, and other organizers on the same page with our step-by-step guide: 2024 TeamSnap for Business League Management Playbook. Here are six players to easily build and supercharge your youth sports programs in 2024. Hut, hut, hike!
Plays your team can call to ensure programs are set up for growth in 2024
Let’s start with the planning stage. Planning and organizing your sports business strategy is critical to setting your league up for successful growth in 2024.
By cementing a strong foundation for your organization in 2024, your programs will be ready to soar. Before we get into the details, let’s discuss some high-level objectives to prioritize when planning the year ahead.
Keys to Planning a Successful Youth Sports Season
Technology is a sports organizer’s best friend, especially if you have the right one. Picking the right sports league management software is a surefire way to supercharge your programs in 2024. This technology should provide you with the right set of tools to streamline your operations, from registration to gameday and everything in between.
Improve the experiences of your players, coaches, parents, and other administrators with a platform that prioritizes registration, communication, scheduling, sponsorships, user experience, and so much more.
Sports organizations rely on a website to share their mission, philosophy, registration process, and more. As a sports club, a sharp website can help you retain players as well as attract new ones.
The attached guide lays out the steps and actions to help you create a shining website for your sports organization. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Aside from the youth athletes your programs support, let’s face it: your staff and administrative team are the most important members of your organization. Every successful league runs with a dedicated and passionate staff.
These staff members are another critical piece of planning your seasons properly, so make sure they are covered before you get going.
Keeping track of payroll is another important item on your daily checklist, and you likely use some kind of technology tool to assist in the process. It’s also a great indication your youth sports organization is running like a business.
With employees, there’s a natural need for leadership structure. Even if your organization is small, there’s a good chance one or two members of your staff help make decisions. We’re probably even speaking to one of the decision-makers right now.
Where would we be without detailed planning of your programs and seasons? Well, we wouldn’t be running a sports organization! Chances are you have the main details: your sport, what seasons you’ll operate in, and perhaps even age ranges. Make sure you finalize these details in your preseason planning. Will you offer new age ranges? Are you opening up a coed league? Can your program handle an additional summer travel season?
We’ll cover things like scheduling and calendars later on, but enter the season with a blueprint of every type of individual program your league will run.
Preseason is the optimal time to start thinking about marketing your programs. Good promotion of your league will result in increased participation numbers and the continued strength of your organization’s community. Take advantage of websites, social media, sponsorships, and local community events to get the word out about your league.
“We love the new registration tools from TeamSnap! It honestly made the chore of collecting payments and data for the 20 teams in our program much easier.”
— Joe Falabella, Nassau Pride Hoops Boys Coordinator
Make 2024 youth sports registration streamlined and hassle-free
Registration is the foundation for any successful sports organization. Without registration, there’s really no way to build and fill programs. Before you can dive into registration, there are some critical steps you need to take.
Youth sports organizers everywhere are turning to registration software in order to make their process streamlined and hassle-free. While the idea of finding the perfect registration provider may seem intimidating, we’re here to help.
The term “registration provider”, in its most basic form, refers to the company that makes the technology system used to register participants and collect applicable fees. However, this also can refer to a broader set of features including assigning players to teams, scheduling, websites, completing background checks, and other tools to facilitate communications between administrators/coaches and your participants.
Flexible: Is the provider easy to use for your staff? Arguably more importantly, is the provider easy to use for parents and families? You should also look for mobile compatibility
Customization: Ensure you are able to customize the form to fit all of your organization’s unique needs.
Integrated: How easily does your new registration provider integrate with your daily operations? Is it seamless to assign players to teams and seasons? How about sharing contact information with the right parties? Do you work with a governing body?
Accessibility: Examine the tools your new provider has for making your programs more accessible. Are there tools such as payment plans, waitlists, or user-friendly fee structures?
These are just a few major factors to consider!
We know sports registration can be a busy time of year, and let’s face it, a little stressful. Nothing slows your preseason prep down like accidental mistakes during registration. To help, we put together this quick list of the most common pitfalls of sports registration so your club or league can avoid them and launch registration smoothly!
Building Your Sports Registration Form(s) At the Last Minute
Not Sharing Registration Information In Advance
Complicated Fee Structures & Discounts
Forgetting To Test Your Sports Registration
To better understand the registration process and what mistakes to avoid, check out this helpful article, 5 Common Registration Traps And How To Avoid Them.
We’ve talked extensively about how important registration is. That’s why we teamed up with a registration expert to get your season off to its strongest start. Here are five expert tips to consider before launching your online registration.
Time for one final piece of preparation advice for youth sports registration: set yourself up with a perfect timeline! One of the easiest ways to plan registration for your sports organization is to think about it at the beginning of every new year. While many sports organizations may open registration multiple times throughout the year, it’s always helpful to think about your game plan for the entire year to best target your clients.
With your preparation complete, give yourself a big round of applause. And now, the fun part. Get your registration process up and running. In the below webinar, we sat down with a panel of experts to discuss launching a registration in 7 days or less. Enjoy the watch!
Earlier this year, TeamSnap for Business launched the most intelligent registration system in youth sports. TeamSnap's new registration system is the most configurable and cost-effective way to register players in youth sports, only available on TeamSnap for Business.
Empowering affordability: a step-by-step guide to raising money, sponsorships, and fundraising on TeamSnap for Business
Creating opportunities for every aspiring athlete in your community is a monumental task. But, it’s one of the most important ones. Before we get into the logistical details of setting up your individual programs, coaches, seasons, and teams, let’s tackle another big topic: affordability. How can we make our programs more accessible? Fortunately, there are numerous ways to accomplish this important task. Fundraising, collecting donations, sponsorships, and processing money are just a few ways to trim down the costs of running a sports league. Let’s dive in!
At TeamSnap, we want to cut down affordability as a barrier for any prospective athlete. We want to lower costs for the players, the families, and every other member of the community involved.
According to the Aspen Institute, families spend nearly $900 annually on one child’s main sport. Seriously. That doesn’t include families with multiple children or a youth athlete who plays multiple sports.
Sports organizers across the industry are doing their best to battle these driving costs. TeamSnap for Business shares six different ways to make your programs more affordable in 2023.. and beyond!
Another way to ensure the success of your programs, and trickle that success down to the affordability of your programs, is by ensuring efficient payment collection. Efficient payment collection will help boost your bottom line, saving your members money every step of the way.
We recently sat down with Katie McMahon Gates (Executive Director of Pride Girls Lacrosse), Nick Rundell (TeamSnap Sales Manager), and Laura Lugo (TeamSnap Customer Success Lead) to discuss five unique ways to collect payments on TeamSnap for Business. Watch the full webinar!
Sponsorships are one of the best ways to supplement income for your organization and drive down costs for every member. But, how exactly do you go about getting sponsorship companies and dollars on board?
Youth sports sponsorships or grants can take various forms, such as sponsoring team uniforms, equipment, facilities, travel expenses, tournaments, and events. Brands can also offer educational programs, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities to young athletes.
A few helpful tips to get sponsorship for your youth sports team.
Get Support From Your Local Community
Start Your Online Presence
Think About Grants
Write the Perfect Sports Sponsorship Letter
Sign Up for the Best Youth Sports Sponsorship Tool
An effective sponsorship form will help convey your organization’s mission and beliefs to the wide world of businesses. You’ll want to create a compelling sponsorship form that showcases the value of sponsoring your organization and maintaining your organization’s goals and objectives throughout.
Some helpful tips for crafting an effective sponsorship form:
Begin with an introduction and your organization’s purpose
Highlight the main benefits of sponsoring your organization
Include options for customization: different levels of budget, different types of placements
Show the impact sponsorship dollars have on your organization
Include contact information
Provide payment details, terms, conditions
We already discussed some of the best ways to get sponsorship, which included writing the perfect sponsorship letter. Download our guide or read this article on a perfectly formatted sponsorship letter template for your youth sports organization. You can also give this letter to the individual coaches in your league if they wish to pursue their personal connections for sponsorship access.
The Perfect Sports Sponsorship Letter For Teams
Sports organizers are facing more challenges than ever before. Between heightened competition from additional sports and league offerings, the increased costs of play, and everything in between, sports administrators look for every advantage when running their organizations. They also must pay attention to their bottom line.
TeamSnap is here to help. Increasing (or simply protecting) your bottom line is the first step in ensuring the health of your sports organization. And this can be done through the collection of payments. Increasing your bottom line = growth. But, how exactly do we accomplish that? TeamSnap for Business has six unique ways for a sports administrator to collect payments and increase their bottom line.
Find a below guide to learn Six Creative Ways to Use TeamSnap to Collect Payments.
Preseason Precision: supercharging league management success
Whether your true preseason preparation starts weeks or months in advance, this is another time period crucial to your season’s success. Take charge of every aspect of your league management planning with the below advice, all before that first whistle blows.
We’ll cover some important topics like running successful tryouts, rostering and team creation, scheduling, and communication with your teams and coaches. These tips will set the stage for a season of growth.
Registration is the first important entry point for your new athletes, but the next step for athletes typically involves tryouts. Running successful tryouts is another foundation for running a competitive and balanced program.
Here are a few key tips to help you run successful tryouts in 2024.
Start Early - Prepare in Advance
Create a Concise Tryouts Schedule
Utilize Technology to Help Streamline Tryouts
Advertise Your Tryouts
Be Ready to Evaluate
To read the rest of this guide - check out our guide on running the best tryouts for athletes, coaches, and administrators.
We also launched an in-depth video guide on the topic with Jim Dahline, Director of Youth Development at the MN Blades hockey organization.
There’s a good chance that your integrated registration tool is the same tool you use for assigning teams and rostering your athletes. Look for a tool that allows you to add organization members during your registration and then easily copy their information to specific divisions or teams within that division.
When it comes to on-field strategies for creating fair and balanced rosters, there are a couple of factors to consider.
On TeamSnap for Business, we make rostering easy for administrators. We’ve created spreadsheet templates for both your division/full organization rosters and team-specific rosters. Those templates can be used to directly important rosters into your platform.
Once your program is initially set up, it’s also easy to invite current or former team members directly to your new roster using the import from another team tool.
Team creation is a step that goes hand-in-hand with rostering. Much of your preseason preparation will involve defining the different seasons, divisions, and teams within your leagues. This should also be a factor to look for in your registration tool. Ensure your registration process is set up with easy season and division creation, allowing your teams to easily be imported once the registration process is complete.
After your coaches are signed up, organization administrators can assign team owner status to any coach - handing off those management responsibilities such as adding team managers as well as the team schedule and roster members if allowed by the organization's settings.
Efficient scheduling is crucial for managing practices, games, and events. There’s a lot that goes into scheduling. From availability to field requests, scheduling is both an art and a science.
TeamSnap for Business makes scheduling easy. Organizers can take advantage of our TeamSnap Scheduler features, which allows organization administrators to schedule games and practices across the entire organization, or a select portion of it all at once.
The teams, divisions, and venues can all be assigned through this tool, which incorporates different levels of permissions to edit specific parts of the schedule.
We also wanted to share a few general guidelines for crafting the perfect youth sports schedule.
Division groupings will save a lot of frustration
Always coordinate with your facility's availability
Consider travel demands for players, parents, and coaches
Ensure balance for your youth athletes
Have contingency plans for the weather
Allow for flexibility
Communicate, communicate, and communicate again
Communication is another vital component of successful league management. We’ll break down communication into a few sections, particularly communicating with your coaches during the preseason.
You’ll want to establish open lines of communication with your coaches as soon as teams and divisions are assigned. Not only will this help you empower your coaches to lead and create a positive experience for players, but will take a great deal of individual member management off your plate.
Allow your coaches to be a voice for your administrative team throughout the preseason and in-season. The TeamSnap for Business platform is an easy-to-use and reliable method to stay connected with every coach, manager, and family.
We offer a variety of communication methods including emails, alerts, message board posts, and chats. Our built-in message formatting and filtering also give you the flexibility to communicate happenings in your program to your members, teams, and staff.
Open the lines of communication with your program’s coaches early and often in order to build trust and rapport. And let your technology partner handle the rest of the work with built-in messaging features.
Optimizing league management throughout the year
Before we dive into the next section, let’s take a moment. Give yourself a big pat on the back or a high-five (your choice!). You made it. The season is starting. Can you smell that fresh-cut grass, hear the hollers from your fanbase, and see the smiles on your youth athletes’ faces?
Congratulations on getting to Game 1. Let’s talk about in-season excellence. Every youth sports administrator deserves a moment of gratitude for all the hard work that goes into registration and preseason management. But, every youth sports administrator also understands the importance of optimizing league management throughout the year.
The top priority in optimizing in-season league management is clear: provide the best possible experience for your clubs, coaches, parents, and players. How exactly do we accomplish this? Check out a recent webinar we held on using TeamSnap to deliver the best experience for every party in your organization.
Thinking about youth sports member management is ideally a full-year task. Provide a simple and streamlined experience for your prospective and current members from registration to game day. That’s where league management software comes in handy.
Consider some of these priorities when choosing a league management partner:
Did you know that TeamSnap for Business has a tool meant directly for your coaches and teams? The TeamSnap mobile app is the #1 sports team management app.
TeamSnap for Business administrators can easily grant their parents and coaches access to the TeamSnap mobile app, which features end-to-end communication and simple scheduling and team assignments. The schedules sync directly to Google or iCal while members can also stay on top of volunteer assignments, tasks, and signups with our assignment feature.
Here are a few key factors to consider when choosing the best sports team management app:
Elevate youth sports programs in 2024 and beyond
You prepped your planning and teamed up with a perfect league management software provider. Check. You set up a registration that’s accessible, integrated, and flexible. Check. You empowered affordability through sponsorships and fundraising. Check. You pioneered preseason management. Check. And you delivered in-season excellence. Check.
As we start looking ahead toward future seasons, sports administrators should re-focus on one additional area; growth. How can you continue to elevate your programs in 2024 and beyond?
How do we define the keys to growing a youth sports organization? Check out our recent chat with Jim Dahline, Director of Youth Development at the MN Blades hockey organization. He gave us three major areas of focus on growth, that apply to any organization no matter the sport!
You won’t be able to truly understand your organization and set your organization up for growth without a full picture of everything that comes into play. We’ll focus on a couple of areas in which reporting comes in the most handy.
Ensure you have access to a snapshot of all payments, deposits, and outstanding payments for your clubs, teams, and members. This should include progress reports to show how your seasons are filling up and reach out to in-process registrants to provide assistance in getting them fully registered.
Logistically, you should have a snapshot of your organization. With the TeamSnap for Business new Master Calendar feature, administrators now have a centralized view of every scheduled event in their organization. Access games, practices, and other event details easier than ever and quickly navigate to edit an event where it was originally created.
The new master calendar integrates all schedule additions, including those from coaches, league uploads, tournaments, and the season scheduler into one view.
After getting a clear picture of your programs and ensuring things are running smoothly, sports administrators should identify easy programs for growth. We like to call this a diversification or expansion of your offerings. Add more events, whether that’s preseason camps, postseason tournaments, or everything in between.
The more smoothly run offerings your programs have, the faster you’ll grow. Tournaments are one of the best areas to consider when expanding your programs.
There’s nothing like the smiles on your youth athletes’ faces when tournament day rolls around. And with TeamSnap for Business, running tournaments is a breeze!
We know how big of an undertaking it is to plan and organize a youth sports tournament. Here are a couple of key resources to help you organize and run your tournament on tournament day.
Last up on our playbook, and certainly not least, is the idea of incorporating feedback into your organization. Where would we be without the families, coaches, parents, and volunteers who run our day-to-day operations?
They are the best place to begin soliciting feedback and taking away some key lessons for future growth. Don’t forget to incorporate family or parent feedback into your future seasons with these easy tips! We also wanted to share some advice for running a youth sports board meeting, often the organizational structure that many administrators work in.
Congratulations on working your way through our entire six-play youth sports league management playbook! In order to keep your organization running smoothly and maintain that growth trajectory, we recommend downloading the full playbook to study in your free time.
We’ve also shared some additional resources below that will get your organization off to an efficient start in 2024! Play on!