Coaches at all levels of sports have adjusted their plans when things weren’t working. An opponent’s hitter is blasting fastball after fastball out of the park? Start throwing changeups. The defense is stopping the run on every play? Emphasize the pass. Your point guard isn’t getting to the basket driving to his right? Then drive to the left instead. Adjustments are a fact of life for coaches, including for those running a youth sports team. Are your 5-year-old soccer players kicking the ball the wrong way? Point them in the right direction before kickoff.
Plenty of red flags exist outside of games and practices as well. The administrative duties of running a youth sports team might not always be as smooth as you hope, and that can extend to the league’s website and your team’s page. Some organizations go to great lengths to manually create websites for their teams to use, only to discover the pages aren’t living up to expectations. Here are four red flags that your site isn’t working for your youth sports team:
1. You get emails asking about practices and schedules
There will always be a parent or two emailing (or calling) you asking what time a game or practice is—that is not going to change no matter how good your team page is. But if you have a website and most of your families are still contacting you about schedules, something about the site is spurring them to avoid it and come to you instead. Perhaps the page is difficult to navigate, or schedules are not maintained by league admins. Whatever the reason, the end result is an unused webpage and more administrative duties (in the form of email replies and returned calls) for you.
2. It’s never updated
Lack of updates is major reason a youth sports team’s website is falling short of its goals. The aforementioned schedules are one part of this maintenance. Coaches shouldn’t need to manually update scores and schedules; this can be done by admins and scorekeepers who enter one score and see it apply across every relevant team page on the league’s website (the best online league management solutions facilitate this). But the lack of updates goes beyond schedules. If your coach’s message on the front of your team page is touting the first game of the season, but the playoffs are next week, you aren’t using the site to its full capabilities.
3. Parents aren’t posting pictures
A youth sports team website should promote the little community inherent in your squad. Pictures, videos, inspiring messages—these all highlight the excitement of the season and the joy the kids (and their parents) should be feeling. So when otherwise enthusiastic parents aren’t bothering to post pictures and videos, which you know they are shooting at games, something might be amiss with the website. Possibly, pictures are too difficult to upload or there is a file size limit that prevents the posting of videos. Or, the league’s software is limited and doesn’t support any sort of visual media. The best league management platforms offer a rich experience to all users: admins, coaches, parents, and players.
4. It’s too difficult to use
A common thread running through these red flags is that the users often aren’t to blame for a website’s problems, but the website itself. If accessing, updating, uploading, and navigating a youth sports team page is difficult, parents won’t bother to visit the site, and you will be less likely to maintain it. Urge your league’s decision makers to choose an online management solution that is easy to use but loaded with features that will benefit the entire organization.
What issues have you encountered with your team’s homepage?