Running a youth sports league can be difficult. Whether you're a coach in charge of your school's youth sports programs, or a staff member at a third-party youth sports organization, you've got a lot on your plate.
This means that, all too often, youth sports leagues suffer from focusing only on the short-term. You're so focused on the next game, the next practice, or the next event that you have no time to think about long-term improvements to your league.
And we understand that - it's difficult to look ahead when there's already so much going on. So, to help take the pressure off, we've put together a list of four ways that you can improve your youth sports league and provide a better experience for all your little sportsmen and sportswomen!
1. Encourage Coaches to Collaborate
This is especially important if you're running a large youth sports league. If you can manage to get all of your coaches together to talk about coaching strategies, practice techniques, recommended drills, and other topics, you can increase the overall quality of your coaching - and this leads to a better experience for the kids in your youth league!
Don't encourage an atmosphere of hostility or competitiveness among coaches and their teams. You're there for the kids - and coaches in youth leagues should be more like camp counselors than drill instructors. Coaches are meant to help their kids improve and succeed, but at the end of the day, you're all on the same team.
So encourage coach collaboration in your youth league. It's especially helpful if you have inexperienced coaches in your league, who can always use advice from seasoned veterans.
A coach's dinner at the beginning of the season each year is a great way to do this - get every coach together, and they'll start talking shop almost immediately!
A high school sports team is just that: a team. It's a group of people working closely with each other to reach mutual goals, whether it's winning Friday's game against a rival school, or making it to the national finals. Great coaches are good communicators, and by taking advantage of new technologies, it's easier than ever to keep all your team members on the same page about important things. Whether you're coordinating a schedule change, or letting people know you can't make it to practice tomorrow, the right communication tools can make it easy to keep your team informed.
Your Role as a Head Coach
As the head coach, communicating effectively with your team members is a critical part of your job. Whether you're offering positive feedback to your team as a whole, or going over a new defensive strategy, your role revolves around timely and effective communication.
You're providing teaching and instruction, helping athletes improve their form and technique while they build strength and stamina through training. You're providing discipline and structure, coordinating practice sessions and other activities to keep the team prepared for their latest competition. You're providing feedback about performance, both as a team and for individual players.
Strong, effective communication is essential. If you feel like you're having trouble connecting with your team, here are a few tips for improving your communication skills:
Understand the Level You're Playing at
In many places, high school sports can be serious business. Some of your best athletes may be aiming for scholarships that help give them a chance to get into a better school, and high school games can attract quite a crowd from across town. With that said, these kids aren't professional athletes. High school coaching is often an intricate balance of teaching skills and techniques, and pushing your team to succeed and win.[click to continue...]
Being in charge of a youth sports league can be a pretty time consuming process. Fortunately, as with everything, there’s an app for that. These cool apps are must-have software for youth sports leagues. They can make communicating with your team, organizing game schedules, and collecting dues much easier and faster, making your life simpler.
Bonzi is an app designed specifically for sports management, making it a great option for youth sports leagues. Used by over three million users worldwide, Bonzi offers all-in-one sports management solutions that are great for volunteer coaches. It can be used for any sport, and is accessible online and via a dedicated mobile app.
Bonzi offers several different products for different aspects of sports league management:
- Bonzi Team provides a suite of time-saving sports team management tools, as well as communication tools for players and coaches. You can create a public website for your team, manage announcements via SMS and email, manage the team’s roster, create season schedules, and more.
- Bonzi League is a league management tool for both hobby and professional sports leagues. This all in one administration tool has a suite of customizable features you can choose from.
One of the great things about Bonzi is that its pricing is designed to be as flexible as possible, to accommodate volunteer-run youth sports teams as well as teams that play on a professional level. Your program can be customized with the features you need, so you can avoid paying extra for features you don’t need. They also offer a sponsorship package that can help cover the program’s costs. [bonzicentral.com]
TeamSideline is another comprehensive sports team management solution that works well for youth sports leagues. It’s available for a flat, budget-friendly price, and their responsive mobile and web app comes with great customer support. It offers a range of features that sports league organizers need, including:
- Scheduling - TeamSideline includes a full scheduling solution that lets you view standings, stats, scoring, and game schedules.
- Player Registration - Keep track of team members.
- Team Registration - Keep track of the different teams in a sports league.
- Communication - Send automated messages via Email and SMS, complete with analytics like open rates.
- Websites - Create a dynamic, fully integrated website for your sports league, complete with domain.
- Team Sites - Integrated into the league website, these private spaces give members of individual teams a place to organize and connect with one another.
- Automatic Scoring - TeamSideline’s auto coach scoring system makes it easy to score games from your phone.
- Roster Building - Drag and drop players to assign them to teams.
Like Bonzi, TeamSideline is designed as an all in one sports management solution. [go.teamsideline.com]
RosterBot is designed to simplify sports team organization, for both team managers and individual players. Features include:
- Automated invites and RSVPs to let you know who’s coming to games and practices.
- Team communication tools, including email, live chat, and instant event updates.
- Money collection and reminders.
- Game rosters.
- Accessible from iOS and Android apps.
[rosterbot.com][click to continue...]
A successful college athletic recruiting program is able to meet long term goals, not just season results. To achieve this, recruiters must work at building strong relationships with their chosen students from the start, and continue a mentoring role even after they have been accepted into the program.
Athletes coming out of a high school environment have no idea of what to expect once school starts in the fall. Those last months can be filled with anxiety, fear of the unknown environment they are about to enter and apprehension for signing up for the program to begin with. In order to ensure that your recruiting choices are confident when the season starts, you need to foster and mentor them through the major change they are about to make.
It is the short sighted recruiter who stops talking with the student after they have accepted the offer. Make a point to stay in touch with them to see how their summer is going and answer any questions they may have. If you have more than one new recruit to look after, put them in contact with each other. Kids feel safety in numbers and will appreciate having people to talk to that can relate to any reservations or doubts they may be feeling.[click to continue...]
Coaches of kid's league sports don't have it easy, no matter which sport you are a part of. While you want to teach the kids the rules of the game, fair play, and of course how to win, your main objective really is to instill self-esteem. Of course having their parents rooting from the sidelines helps to reach that goal, but you need to make sure that they are showing up for the games.
Have a Pre-Season Parent Meeting
Introduce yourself to the parents of your league stars at an informal meeting at the start of the season. Give some background information about yourself and then let them know what you expect from the league and the season. Emphasize the importance of going to games, and give them some basic guidelines to follow when observing a game. This should include positive cheering and tips on how to handle a loss.[click to continue...]
Summer sports leagues are getting ready to kick into high gear, including youth football. Whether you have several seasons under your belt or this is your first time coaching youth football, we have some tips on how you can make the experience an enjoyable one both for your team and yourself.
Stick to the Basics
Hang up the dreams of your team executing perfect plays 100% of the time, and stick with the basics of the game when coaching youth football. Instead of pulling out the playbook with overly complicated formations, make sure the kids understand the difference between offense and defense, the various positions of the game, and how to block, catch, throw, and tackle.[click to continue...]
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