Building a registration form can be difficult, especially if you’re doing so by yourself. Check out our 7-Day checklist inspired by TeamSnap!
1. Find a Good Platform
Finding a good platform to set up your registration is the most important step in staying organized. A good platform will allow you to collect as many data points as you need, collect a payment, and track all the happenings of who is registering and when. Getting a good system in place will save you a lot of time and effort in the end!
2. Find out what needs to be recorded
Data is the quintessential piece to your registration setup. Without the appropriate information, you’ll get disorganized and things will start to fall apart. It’s important to take some time to think about what you may need to do with the data in the future and set out some of the major data points you need to be recorded.
3-4. Begin building your form
Once you have found a good foundation and set some time aside to take notes on your registration fields, it’s time to get to work building it out. Take some extra time to really make sure that you hit every point when building this out. Incomplete or difficult registration will only make the lives harder for yourself, coaches, volunteers, players, and parents. Building something simple and easy for parents to complete is the ideal goal when formatting. There is no need for anything too flashy on the registration side of things.
5. Run Through Tests
Now that your registration form is complete, have yourself and a few others run some tests. You may find you missed a data point or find you want to add or remove certain items. You also want to make sure someone other than yourself can run through these tests to get a good outside perspective on the ease of the process.
6. Begin Marketing
After the registration building process is complete, you aren’t done yet. Marketing your program is just as important as the initial setup. Marketing your program can be done either through social media, email marketing, flyers, or whatever your preferred method may be. The more your program is marketed, the more traction it’s going to get.
7. Launch, Promote, and Track
You’ve built out your registration, marketed it, and now it’s time to launch. Once your registration is active, it’s not time to slow down. You’ll want to keep active on things, especially in the first few days to make sure everything is running smoothly. Keeping a watchful eye on things as time passes will help you prepare for the actual program you run. This will also give you a good idea of things you may want to change in the future the next time you set up your registration!
What does that tell us? There are many reasons why kids might be opting out of organized sports such as finances, skills and location. But that also means it’s more important than ever for sports organizations to ensure kids have a good experience when they do participate.
To do this, youth sports clubs need to be organized and well-managed. When evaluating your organization, take a look at the following best practices for running a youth sports club.
Establish leadership and governance
Youth sports clubs need organization, and this starts with establishing governance. Most clubs have a board of directors, usually comprised of parents and community members. Make sure your board is clearly identified and the roles of each person are made clear.
According to GoalNation.com, board members are needed from a leadership standpoint, but it’s also important they know when to let the director and coaches handle issues. Micromanaging staff members can hurt productivity and morale.
Also make sure the club’s mission, values and code of conduct are published and distributed. These will help define who the club is, what it stands for and what behaviors it will or will not tolerate.
Every person on the club’s staff and roster should know what is expected of them.
Before the season begins, make sure all staff members and coaches are aware of the club’s expectations. From a behavioral standpoint, this could include following the team’s code of conduct and embracing its mission and values. Coaches could also be expected to attend clinics and seminars to ensure they are enhancing their coaching skills.
It’s also necessary for all players and parents to know what is expected of each of them. Players and parents should each sign and read the team’s code of conduct. This will make each individual aware of what is expected of them throughout the season, and what rules they’re expected to follow. This also gives teams written documentation to fall back on if action needs to be taken during the season.
Establish lines of communication
Teams should make sure there are open lines of communication between the club and its members. Establishing communication creates transparency throughout the squad as players and their families know the team wants to hear their opinions. It also gives directors, coaches and staff members an organized way to talk to the athletes and their parents.
To ensure each person has a chance to be heard – and to prevent staff members from being bombarded with phone calls and emails – teams should set boundaries on communication. This includes how communication should take place and when. Determine if a specific team phone number or email address should be the go-to for communications from parents or players, or if coaches and directors can be contacted via a personal phone or email address.
SportsRecruits.com also recommends determining when communication can take place. Are parents and players limited to making contact during business hours, or are phone calls and emails during the evenings and weekends allowed?
Sports clubs need to be as transparent as possible with athletes and their parents. With so much emphasis being placed on fairness and openness in youth sports, teams need to give players and their parents as much visibility into their club and its processes as possible. This can include giving clear instructions as to how rosters will be determined and how tryouts will be run. It can also include communicating information as needed throughout the season as issues occur, including roster or schedule updates.
One way to add more transparency into your club is by using sports evaluation software. Apps like TeamGenius allow clubs to evaluate players during tryouts without listing player names. Instead, players are listed by only their tryout number. This can prevent evaluators from knowing the identity of the player they are scoring. This solution also allows coaches to send results to players after tryouts so each player knows how they scored and what criteria the staff will be using when creating the roster.
Hire the right coaches
Running a good youth sports club can come down to the people. How a player interacts with their coach could make or break an athlete’s experience with the sport and your club. Putting quality coaches in place and ensuring they have the support they need can create a successful environment for coaches and players. Coaches can be supported by receiving training, being allowed to attend clinics and seminars, and other events where they can enhance their skills. They should also know they have the support of the director and the board of directors and that the entire club wants him or her to succeed.
Planning is the cornerstone of any well-run youth sports program. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail! Proper planning prevents poor performance! Planning is extremely important in coordinating any high-level program. Planning can come in many forms and most all plans are open and customizable to how you want to operate. Below are some tips on different plans you should have in place within your youth sports programs.
Scheduling: Schedule out your program dates at least a year in advance. If you run multiple sports leagues organize your dates in a program calendar to give you a picture of the entire year. If you are coordinating programs all year round, you also want to have a solid programming plan in place. Once your schedules are set for the year communicate it!
League Documents: No matter what types of documents you use in your league make sure you have your templates ready to go well before your next season. These include things like parents’ packets, rules books, forms, flyers, administrative spreadsheets, etc. Plan out all the documents you need and keep them accessible and organized in one area.
Marketing: Marketing plans can come in several forms but at the very least have a calendar or outline on when you want to start to market your programs and what marketing channels you want to use. Narrow your marketing efforts to each of your target markets for more effective marketing and communication. Market to past participants as well as the local community.
Budget: Your budget is the planning tool for your finances. Sound budgeting will ensure you only spend what you are able to spend based on your forecasted revenue and expenses. Once your budget is created, stick to it as close as possible and track EVERY expense that comes in to make sure you stay on track.
Staffing: If you are a larger organization and have the ability to staff your games with part-time staff or scorekeepers, have a plan to staff your programs. You may also have your own in-house referees or work with an officiating association. Falling short on staff will have a direct effect on your game days and may leave some fields unsupervised or canceled altogether. Make sure to know your optimal staffing levels and have a plan to ensure you never fall short!
Staff Training: Training and education is an ongoing process and should be taken seriously. You don’t have to do all your training in-house, as there are tons of resources out there to provide staff trainings. Regardless of how you want to do it, have an annual training program in place to make sure you get the most out of your most valuable investment, your staff.
Volunteer Management: Volunteer coaches are the heart of your league and no youth sports league can happen without them. It is extremely important to have a plan to recruit, retain, educate and train your volunteer coaches or any other volunteers that may be a part of your program. The best programs generally have the best volunteer base.
Parent Management: Plan on how you are going to manage your parents. This includes education, game day expectations, and your code of conduct.
Fundraising: Many youth sports leagues will rely on some type of fundraising to help subsidize your registration fees and provide enough revenue to keep the league running. Have a fundraising plan to keep your fundraising goals on track.
Maintenance: If your organization also maintains your sports facilities, create a maintenance plan that focuses on your preventative maintenance for every aspect of your facilities. A sound preventative maintenance plan will keep your facility aesthetically pleasing, increase the lifespan of your assets, and help you identify how long things are supposed to last and when they need to be replaced.
Risk Management: Regular inspections, having proper insurance, and creating emergency action plans are all part of your overall risk management plan. Limiting your liability will prevent a catastrophic incident from closing down your program for good.
Equipment Inventory: Have a plan for managing your equipment inventory so you always know how much you have on hand and when you need to order more.
To raise awareness about the benefits of youth sports programs, NRPA has also developed a communications toolkit, in partnership with the Walt Disney Company, to help park and recreation professionals make connections and encourage participation in park and recreation youth sports programs. This toolkit provides data-backed messaging, sample social media posts, template graphics and more.
All of the above can be put together to form part of your organization’s business plan and comprehensive strategic plans. Short-term planning can take place a year in advance with long-term plans going out 5-10 years. Regardless of how long you are planning out you should always review and adjust your plans on a regular basis. Lack of planning will always show, so remember if you put in the extra planning work up front, it will make your job easier, your operations smoother, and your overall programs better in the long run!
As a sports enthusiast or professional the main way you engage with sports organizations and their content is likely online. Whether that be following your favorite team and sports stars on social media, browsing sports organizations’ websites, or listening to their podcasts.
The ways in which users want and expect to consume sports content is vast. That’s why before engaging in the numerous channels of online communication, sports organizations must consider the various factors which influence it and the essential components for success.
Conceptualized by Kim Miloch of Texas Woman’s University, the Model for Online Sport Communication (MOSC) addresses the key factors which influence online sport communication and the elements required to be successful. The model takes into account all aspects of an organization’s online communication including its social media, mobile apps, and digital video content.
The MOSC highlights seven factors that it sees to be most pertinent:
Individuals’ level of involvement with the respective sport entity
Individuals’ motives for internet use
Content of the sports entity’s online media
Design of the sports entity’s online media
Performance of the sports entity’s online media
Usability of the sports entity’s online media
The commerce of the sports entity’s online media
Factors 1 and 2:
Individuals’ level of involvement with the respective sport entity
Individuals’ motives for internet use
The first and second components of the MOSC illustrate the role of people’s involvement with the sports entity and their motives for using the Internet. These components are presented first because they form the basis for individuals’ desires, needs, and expectations when visiting a sports entity’s online platforms. In other words, depending on the person’s needs, one of the remaining components may influence the effectiveness of the entity’s communication more than another component. For example, if someone desires to download a podcast, the performance and usability components of the model may be most pertinent to that person. If the podcast takes too long to download, the individual will not be satisfied, and the opportunity for effective and enhanced communication will be lost. In contrast, if someone visits a sports entity’s website to retrieve game statistics for a specific player, then the site’s content, design, and usability components are likely to be most important in the online communication process. This person will want the content quickly, and the website should easily lead him or her to the desired content through its design and usability.
Therefore, the influence of individual motives in the online sport communication process should not be overlooked. These motives influence people’s needs, and online sport communication should address those needs. The remaining five components of the model—factors three to seven—address the online needs of sports consumers. These five factors are not limited to websites; rather, in today’s ever-expanding technological environment, they also apply to other forms of online communication such as social media, digital videos, podcasts, and smartphone apps.
Factor 3: Content of the sports entity’s online media
The third component of the MOSC focuses on content. A sports entity’s digital communication should deliver content that not only meets users’ needs but also reflects positively on the mission and values of the organization. That said, users desire a range of content, and the sports entity should provide it quickly.
Factor 4: Design of the sports entity’s online media
The fourth component of the model reflects the importance of design in online sport communication. Whereas sports entities are bound by the design and interactivity features of social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, the design of their own website can influence user interaction. Interactivity differentiates online sport communication from other media and, when well enabled, can greatly enhance communication with sports consumers.
Factor 5: Performance of the sports entity’s online media
The fifth component of the MOSC focuses on the performance of online sport communication platforms and the importance of enabling users to access and download certain features in a timely manner. When sports entities rely on third parties to deliver their messages, it is incumbent upon the organization to choose partners that provide a consistent and reliable service. For example, if an organization has its own podcast, it may choose to make it available for download via its own website as well as through third-party applications such as iTunes or Stitcher. The organization must select these third-party applications carefully.
Factor 6: Usability of the sports entity’s online media
The sixth component involves usability—that is, people’s ability to use the features of the site to gather the desired sports information. If a sports entity’s communication mechanisms are not readily usable, communication becomes much more challenging, and the sports entity struggles to get its messages out to its public.
Factor 7: Commerce of the sports entity’s online media
The seventh and final component of the model focuses on commerce. The internet is not only a highly effective communication tool but also one with great potential to promote and market products; the role of online sport communication in marketing the entity is examined as part of this component.
The components of the Model for Online Sport Communication are instrumental in cultivating high-quality communication and helping the sports entity develop an effective online presence. It is a model which will be useful for students and practitioners alike.