Building Your Youth Softball League
The key to having a great Youth Softball League is PARTICIPATION and INNOVATION. Participation from players, coaches, parents, the League Board, and the City. All of these groups must learn to live and work in harmony. The objective must always be to emphasize the most value for the majority of the players. It’s very easy for individuals to become motivated for what is best for their daughter. Typically, I have found that solutions can generally be found that accommodate all or most parties if everyone is open to new ideas.
Take fliers up to the schools and ask they be put in homework foldersMany school PTA’s now have email lists so find the person responsible for that list and send an email (we have found this to be as successful as fliers)Have an updated web site with a downloadable enrollment formPost banners on your softball fields and practice fieldsSee if the City and School District will let you put an announcement and link on their web sitePartner with various restaurants to have registration night at the restaurant and hang banners (Chick-fil-a has let us do this numerous times)Run an add in the local paperCheck with the local radio stations to see if they will run a free ad as a Public Service Announcement (PSA).Encourage players to bring friends by offering a prize to the girl that refers the most new friends or to players to that refer at least three new friends.10. BE CREATIVE. TRY EVERYTHING.
Participation by the players is obviously critical to the success of a League. Hey, if you don’t have players then there is no league. The competition for players is very intense these days. It seems all sports, Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, and Fastpitch Softball are practically year around. So enrolling new players in your youth softball league is critical. It’s time to get creative with enrollment. A few ideas for enrollment are:
Softball League Directors
The League Directors are absolutely critical to having a successful youth softball league. The attitude they display throughout the season will disseminate through the coaches and parents. If the League Directors are positive, proactive, and encouraging this will set the tone for the entire league. If they are always grumbling about how things could be better and what a goof so-n-so is, then you are probably in for long season. My favorite Directors are the ones that are open to new ideas. Just imagine, 10 years ago none of the youth sports leagues had web sites. And I’m sure along the way there have been endless discussions as to if their League needed to get a web site. I can’t imagine trying to communicate to your League now without one. Listen, if your softball league doesn’t have a web site, it’s time you insist they get with the times. The point is that things change and your League must be willing to change also. New ideas are NOT necessarily bad, they are just new and should be considered.
They MUST be background checkedThey MUST attend a mandatory meeting where all rules for the year are addressed
Participation by Coaches is generally the medium by which most parents and players stay informed about their Youth Softball League. These guys/girls need to be onboard with the League Directors. They also need to be kept informed at all times of any changes in policies, rules, etc. Some quick advice on MUSTS regarding Coaches:
3) They MUST receive some basic first aide training
4) They MUST be quality individuals that reflect positively on the League.
Make no mistake about it, if you have a Coach that creates problems for players or parents the League should take corrective action including dismissing them from the organization.
City participation is generally adequate. But make no mistake about it, a good or strained relationship with your city can make all the difference in the world. A good relationship might result in upgrades to the facilities or access to more practice fields. A poor relationship and pretty soon every time it sprinkles they call the fields unplayable. As a League, you need to let the City know how much you value the partnership of the City and League. I would strongly urge you to invite them to any big events such as opening day, championship games, or awards days and always publicly acknowledge their vital contributions to the success of your League. Believe me, if you get on their bad side it could take years to repair the relationship.
Without parent participation, it’s going to be very difficult to have a successful youth softball league. Let’s face it, the League Directors are volunteer parents, the Coaches are volunteer parents, the team mom, and possibly the concession workers too. The important thing to remember is the entire League is run by well-meaning volunteer parents. At every opportunity their contributions should be acknowledged and they should be thanked.
Good Luck with your youth softball league. Just remember, the only ones getting paid are the umpires and as we all know they need the money to pay their optometrist bill since they are obviously going blind.
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