Parks and Rec director, Jason Schaitz shares six tips for effective communication in youth sports programs.
In order to run a program at a high level, you have to be an effective communicator. Keeping your participants, staff, referees, coaches and other volunteers in the loop in every aspect of your program is key and can only help your operation.
Here are some tips for effective communication in youth sports programs.
Use Multiple Platforms to Communicate
Email, social media, apps, websites, phone calls, text and face to face meetings are all examples of ways to communicate to your participants and those interested in your program. You should use multiple communication channels both internally and externally. Participants and staff will know where to find the information and there will be no reason someone says they didn’t know when something comes up.
Communicate Before and After Your Season
When you release your initial dates, make sure to remind people as you get closer to registration. Don’t assume they will remember. Once your league ends, let your participants know the next start dates before they finish. Once you have them in the door, keep them in by always letting them know when the next program takes place.
Communicate During Registration
Whether your participants register online or in person it is important they have all the needed information for the upcoming season when they register. Make sure participants are ready and prepared for their first day. If you have a registration window, make sure you are also sending reminders leading up to your first date.
Send Weekly Communications During the Season
At a minimum you should send your parents and coaches an email at least once a week. In the email, recap the week and give any updates or important information for the coming weeks. If there is nothing to report on, it can be as simple as letting them know it was a great week and you look forward to the next week while outlining upcoming activities. You can turn this into a program newsletter, add pictures or multi-media, and showcase all those special moments you had during that week of games.
Set Up a Line of Communication with Staff and Referees
Ensure everyone involved in the daily operation of your league is in the loop on your operation each week. Sometimes the most frustrating thing for a staff member or referee group is being left out and having to figure things out themselves with little to no direction on what you need. Prior to each game day, review the schedule as a group before your games start. During this pre-game meeting, evaluate things that may have come up from the previous week and what is expected moving forward. This way everyone is on the same page and each field or court is consistent throughout the season. Check in with staff throughout the day to ensure things are going as planned.
If you get a question or concern that comes in person, email or over the phone, make sure you respond to the inquiry as soon as you can. At the very least, acknowledge you received the message within 48 hours even if you need time to research the situation. This will go a long way in keeping your participants happy and trusting you will address their needs.
Communication is a two way street. Set the expectations early on with participants, volunteers and staff on how you plan to communicate. They will know what to expect and where to find the information. During planning, through registration and throughout the season, you should be communicating regularly with everyone involved in your program. Even if it is just to check in to see how things are going. Take your communication seriously and your program will be more organized, have far less complaints, run smoother and operate at a higher level.
For more resources on youth sports, visit the League Source website.