Scheduling youth sports programs throughout the course of the year is an important part of the planning process to dictate when your leagues and other sports programs take place. There are many things to consider when scheduling your programs.
Here are some tips to ensure success when scheduling youth sports programs:
Schedule out program dates at least a year in advance. Whether you plan by calendar year, fiscal year or school year, you want to know your planned dates as far in advance as possible.
If you run multiple sports leagues, organize your dates in a program calendar to give you a picture of the entire year. Your program calendar will give you a clear picture for the entire year on how your programs will play out. It will also identify any conflicts or shortcomings in your planned dates.
Your scheduled dates should correlate with your local school district calendar. Avoid scheduling games on or around major holidays or times when kids are on break and out of school during the school year. Summer programs should also correlate with the school districts summer break.
Research other league dates in your area to avoid conflicts. You also want to avoid scheduling a sport during a certain time of year when interest might be low with less available participants.
Consider weather conditions for outdoor sports. Some outdoor sports can only be played certain times of year due to weather. Avoiding bad weather times of year will draw in more participants and ensure you can get your season in without too many weather cancellations.
Have a program plan in place to plan for the future, above and beyond the current schedule year. Your program plan should outline things like your program goals and the long term plans for your programs.
Once your schedules are set for the year, communicate it. Send this information to all past participants as well as any staff, volunteers, referee groups and the surrounding community. Post it on your website and social media. With your stakeholders’ busy schedules, they will appreciate getting this information well in advance.
Scheduling is an integral part of the planning process and will not only help you plan your sports programs but will also help you promote them as your season gets closer. Trying to plan dates on the fly or waiting until one program ends to plan the next will constantly put you behind schedule when trying to organize and market these programs. Take your scheduling serious and plan as far in advance as possible to set the groundwork for a well-planned and well-organized operation.
Jason Schaitz is a parks and recreation director with 15 years of experience managing youth sports, camps and recreation programs. He also created and manages League Source and The Summer Camp Source with the goal of providing free, high-quality resources for any type of youth sports or camp program. Take your leagues and camps to the next level by visiting our websites for free resources and education!
Community Rec magazine is a new business resource for YMCA, JCC and community rec professionals. Founded in 2018, Community Rec is dedicated to providing best practice business resources that educate and empower community rec professionals to succeed in the areas of fitness, aquatics and wellness programming.