For the sake of example, consider a youth basketball organization and an administrator tasked with league registration. The organization operates age divisions for each age from kindergarten to eighth grade, with coed divisions through second grade. That’s 15 divisions, and let’s assume each division has 10 teams of 10 players each. Do the math, and you arrive at 1,500 players. Now, picture 1,500 paper registrations on your dining room table, waiting to be sorted out. Don’t forget, there are potentially 1,500 checks on that table waiting to be cashed, too.
Possibly, you don’t have to picture this scenario because you have already experienced this barrage of paperwork. And this is just for a small rec basketball league—change the parameters to soccer or baseball, or to a bigger suburban rec organization, or to a comp league in which teams register (instead of individuals) and AAU numbers might come into play. You might not eat at your dining room table for weeks …
Fortunately, this dilemma has a solution: online registration. League management software can simplify and streamline the processes by which parents register their kids and administrators organize their leagues. The latter benefit is important, because if directors spend less time with registration, they can devote more time to bettering their organizations—securing sponsors, hiring referees, readying fields, and so on. Here are four ways online registration can improve your sports league:
1. Convenience for parents
How many late registrations does your organization receive every year? Often, this is because parents are too busy or simply forget to print out a registration form, or to fill it out, or to mail it or drop it off—or some combination of all three. Online registration offers a convenient way for parents to sign their kids up; just some typing and a few clicks and they are done. If families are already in your system, they can be reminded via email or text to register (especially if the deadline is approaching), and they can also access the previous year’s information to make the process even easier.
2. Easy credit card payments
All those checks aren’t just a pain to endorse and cash, they are also a pain to enter into your bookkeeping program. Online registration keeps track of entry fees so you can focus your energies elsewhere. If there’s a disputed registration, you can reference the system for every detail of the payment—parents won’t be tracking down canceled checks to prove they paid. And of course, paying online is an added convenience for families who won’t have to mail payments.
3. Simplified team building
Assembling teams can be difficult, particularly when coaches and families are making roster requests. You probably get a dozen emails every preseason asking why some player wasn’t put on a certain team. Online registration can incorporate these requests when automatically building teams. If you are manually assembling rosters, you at least will have every request in the system for easy reference. Your coaches and parents will be happy you honored their requests, and you will see fewer belligerent emails before opening day.
4. An instant database
All those online registrations produce an extra improvement for you and your organization: They create a database of addresses, emails, and phone numbers that you can easily access. League-wide messages can be efficiently sent from the software rather than you copying and pasting hundreds of email addresses into your Outlook account. Teams can be accessed and contacted instantly rather than you needing to look up players individually. Also, the system keeps track of players’ ages and can send updated registration reminders for the next season (which is great for kids moving up to a new division). All these features might have required hours of data entry, but with online registration, they are automatically at your disposal.
What struggles have you encountered with player registration?