Approximately 9.6 million kids age 6-17 played basketball in 2014. Though that number is down from five years earlier, it still qualifies hoops as the most popular youth team sport in the United States. Some of these kids are playing for their middle or high schools, or on club and AAU teams. But many play in rec leagues, with a high emphasis on learning the game, meeting new friends, and having fun.
Youth rec basketball leagues can be a challenge to organize and run. Rosters generally carry fewer players than other sports, meaning you are looking at more teams to form than a typical soccer or baseball league. Registration can be tricky as well. Many leagues start forming in October, when parents are in the thick of fall sports and trying to assemble Halloween costumes—and barely are thinking ahead to winter. Often, this means registrations are flooding in during November and you are scrambling to get rosters in place in time for the season.
Fortunately, basketball registration doesn’t have to be such a headache—for you, your coaches, and the parents signing up their kids. Here are some ways to streamline the process:
Nothing is perhaps more daunting for a basketball league administrator or registrar than seeing hundreds, even more than a thousand, paper registrations strewn across a dining room table, waiting to be individually read, sorted, collated, and entered into a spreadsheet. If this is you, say goodbye to your weekend plans—possibly for more than one weekend. Online registration eliminates not only the paper, but also most of the busy work that bogs you down every year. All the player information is automatically entered into your league management software when parents register. All you need to do is log in to see the data as it arrives. (And by the way, parents love paperless registration as well—no stamps, no trips to the post office, no misplaced entry forms, and no checks.)
As already stated, rec basketball registration sneaks up on parents, who amid a busy fall don’t realize November is just around the corner. Online league management software can send emails and text messages to these parents to remind them to register their kids. The reminders can include a link to the registration page on your website, making it even easier for families to sign up before the deadline—just click and go.
Easy Team Formation
The paper registration scenario mentioned before also includes another time-consuming task: team formation. If your league doesn’t hold some sort of draft (which few do anymore), the job of assembling rosters will fall to you. Registration forms may include coach and teammate requests—sorting through these is additional work and always seemingly results in an overlooked request, thus leading to calls from dismayed parents and inevitable roster shuffling. Online basketball registration eliminates manual team formation and keeps track of special requests. The software automatically creates rosters to your parameters and to the preferences of parents who want their kids teamed up with friends.
Hundreds of paper registrations also mean hundreds of checks (and even some cash). The bookkeeping involved is annoying, as are the multiple trips to the bank. This is another area in which errors tend to occur by even the most careful league treasurers, and what happens if a parent sends in a registration form with no payment? An online payment option eliminates all of the hassle that comes with checks. Parents use credit cards to pay for their kids’ registration, and the funds subsequently land in your league’s bank account.
How difficult is basketball registration for your league?