An estimated 6,500 youth baseball organizations exist worldwide, bringing the sport to millions of kids every year. That statistic also means there are at least 6,500 league administrators working to ensure the experience is positive, successful, and fun for coaches, players, and parents. And we’re not even counting other baseball organizations such as Cal Ripken, not to mention a host of other youth sports with leagues that require (and benefit from) diligent, hard-working directors—many of whom are volunteers.
Successful sports admins across all youth sports deal with all the same busywork and emergencies—rainouts, harried parents, cranky coaches, a lack of volunteers for the concession stand—that overwhelmed, underappreciated league directors do. What’s the difference? Often, thriving administrators are proactive in seeking help when necessary and employing tools to make their jobs not only easier, but also more enjoyable. Here are four things youth sports administrators should do to increase their success:
1. Provide an online registration option
The beginning of any youth sports season naturally generates a level of excitement for players, coaches, and parents. It should do the same for league directors, yet many dread the preseason, when written registrations pile up, checks must be tracked and cashed, and the process of forming teams monopolizes your time. Admins can easily feel buried in paperwork weeks before Opening Day. Some directors have turned to online league administration software to help with the chaos that is registration. These applications allow families to register players online and pay with credit cards, all while streamlining the process for directors. Teams can then be easily assembled, and admins find more time to improve the league rather than feel bogged down with data entry and bookkeeping.
2. Communicate with coaches and families
Inevitably, games will need to be rescheduled: Weather rolls in, gyms and fields are unavailable, schools have a carnival planned on a game night, and so on. Delivering these updates to coaches and families is a timely (and by timely, in today’s age, many see as instant) manner so they can adjust their schedules accordingly. Nothing is more exasperating than arriving at game to discover it was canceled but nobody notified you. Successful administrators excel at communicating with coaches and parents, via text messages, email, and updates to the league website.
3. Update standings
As much as parents and coaches say wins and losses don’t matter, they will look at the standings to see what teams are winning and losing and how their own teams compare (this is important to many kids as well). Successful youth sports administrators ensure that results are online quickly and standings are then automatically updated. They might not be able to see every game, but they do instruct coaches how to access the league’s website to enter scores and statistics.
4. Keep players safe and sound
A top priority in youth sports is to keep children as safe as possible. Part of this initiative is ensuring coaches and volunteers pass the necessary background checks. This can be a daunting task for league administrators already overwhelmed in the preseason. However, it is also task that cannot be ignored for any reason. The latest league administration software addresses this necessity by incorporating background checks into the registration process. If someone wants to coach, he or she can simply enter the necessary information on the league website. The background check occurs almost automatically, with the results delivered to the administrators, who no longer are chasing down safety information but are finding it simply by opening their inboxes.
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