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5 Leadership Lessons Every Youth Sports Organizer Can Learn From March Madness

By Melissa Wickes
March 15, 2022
3 min

NCAA March Madness 2022 is off to a great start—something that is especially exciting for college basketball fans this year, as it is the first tournament in two years where the full capacity of fans is allowed in every venue. This taste of normalcy is much needed after two years where many of us could only watch sports from our TV sets—or not at all. As you watch the tournament this year, there are a number of leadership lessons you can take away from the players and coaches on the court to help you better lead your youth sports organization to victory. 

Strive to be the best, not just to get by.

The premise of a tournament is in order to advance, you have to win. Each team is only given a chance to compete for the ultimate goal of champion if they give each and every game their all. They have to be the best in every competition. 

Use this same logic when it comes to your teams—and that includes your staff members just as much as the players on the field. You may meet your revenue goals for the year, but are you and your team going above and beyond for the organization? Encourage your team to be creative, be proactive instead of reactive, and to prioritize “winning”—in a sense of being the best organization out there—above all else.

Learn from your mistakes.

You’re not going to make the right decision every single time, and that’s okay. After all, a leading scorer isn’t going to make the move that gets them to the net every single time. What that athlete does next, though, is what matters and that is being accountable and being able to learn from that mistake. What made them decide to make that move? What can they do next time to avoid the mistake? 

Implementing a review process with your team where team members can speak candidly about what has been working, what hasn’t and what can be done to improve processes is a good place to start. 

Keep your long term goals in mind.

It’s easy to lose sight of the end goal and to develop tunnel vision surrounding the day-to-day; the now. Having a clear, long-term goal that each of your employees are striving toward—like the championship, the trophy, and cutting down the net—will help your organization stay aligned, stay determined, and accomplish more. 

READ ALSO: 4 Ways Your Coaches Can Carry Out Your Mission Statement

Rivalries can be motivating.

Every environment surrounding sports has rivalries. UNC vs Duke, Michigan vs. Ohio State, UPenn vs. Princeton, your organization vs. the one down the road. This can be a good thing, as they motivate people to work harder. However, it is important to ensure that your organization’s rival is motivating people to do good, and never to lie, cheat, or behave unethically. Keep your organization’s values front and center, even in the face of some friendly competition. 

Give your team constant feedback.

If there’s one thing a coach is constantly doing, it’s observing players and giving feedback, praise, and guidance in real-time. You can and should do this for your team as a leader to help them learn, do better, and continue to do the things they’re doing a great job at. Praise and acknowledgement go a long way when it comes to motivating your team, too.

Youth Sports Leadership Lessons

When you watch the men and women’s March Madness tournaments this year—and really any professional sporting event—think about what leadership lessons you can bring back to your team to make everyone stronger. Looking for more guidance on making your youth sports organization the best on the block? Let’s connect and see how LeagueApps can help.

Read Also: Youth Sports Leadership Development Lessons from the Women’s 1999 World Cup Champions