Using Youth Sports Management to Grow Your Organization
By Melissa Wickes
May 4, 2022
As the name suggests, youth sports management is the term used to describe the business behind running a youth sports organization. There’s a strong focus on “back office” activities, such as registration setup, payment processing, and parent communication—all the daily and seasonal tasks needed to keep your organization moving.
But that’s not everything. A winning playbook for youth sports management also includes the work required to operate any organization successfully—such as staff recruiting and retention, culture building, leadership development, customer success, and marketing and branding…just to name a few.
In other words, youth sports management isn’t just about running sports programs—it’s about running a business with your programs as your product.
Think of it like this: as a sports professional, you know what on-field excellence looks like. You know that it takes preparation and organization, a well-crafted plan, the right equipment, and strong leadership to put a winning product on the field.
Youth sports management is all about bringing that winning mindset to your organization. It’s about preparation, organization, and finding the right technology to support your initiatives—all of which will set you up to be the best leader on and off the field.
Understanding Youth Sports Management
Youth sports management can be broken into five key pillars: culture, operational excellence, advertising and marketing, community and impact, and high-performance management—something we call COACH.
Just like you rely on coaches to help you successfully run your programs, you can rely on a youth sports management platform to help you run the administration of your organization—a coach, so to speak.
You want to interact and network with other program directors. You are hungry for information, best practices, tips, and tools that will allow you to save time and money. Like other businesses with programs such as Vistage or YPO, the youth sports industry is hungry for the same.
The COACH program provides that for you—and allows you to professionalize youth sports management inside your organization.
Here’s an introduction to what’s included, which we’ll go deeper into over the next few weeks.
Like in any other organization, having a strong culture is one of the most important things the leaders can build inside the organization. When an organization has a strong culture, everyone from parent volunteers and coaches to administrative staff knows how they are supposed to behave and how to respond to any situation.
You want your organization to run efficiently and effectively, but operational excellence is more than that. Operational excellence is achieved when every member of an organization can see how everything they do affects the end customer—the parents and players.
Watch the video below for a look at how LeagueApps helped 3Step Sports streamline their operations so they can better service their customers.
Advertising & Marketing
Not only do you have to build culture and operational excellence, but you also have to market your organization, both to compete and to grow your programs. And, unless you have a marketing background, it can be intimidating to try to figure out all that goes into it, especially today when it seems like there is something new every day that the experts say you should pay attention to.
If you’re not so familiar with how to market your organization, you’re not alone! That’s why we have so many resources to help you do so—including this digital marketing game plan for sports organizers.
Community and Impact
In the world of youth sports, community and impact are all about positively affecting kids’ whole lives—not just in how and when they play sports. When you think about community and impact, it’s helpful to consider it in three buckets: philanthropy (making charitable donations), advocacy (lobbying for policies that support youth sports families), and community building (finding a shared vision with your parents, players, and coaches).
Uptown Soccer is a youth soccer program in Northern Manhattan that offers free training for kids and is one of our FundPlay partners. This means Uptown Soccer has free access to our youth sports management software for life.
Efficient operations are critical to the success of your organization and your ability to achieve long-term growth because saving time ultimately means saving money. It also allows you to free up time to focus on what will take your organization to the next level. So often, this “big picture” thinking gets pushed to the back burner due to all the day-to-day things that have to get done. But there’s a better way.
Learn More About the Dimensions of Youth Sports Management
During the next few weeks, we’ll go deeper into each of the dimensions of youth sports management (COACH) so you can learn more about how they can be used to grow your organization.
To stay updated on this series, keep up with our blog—where you’ll access everything you need to stay in the know about youth sports today.