4 tips to get ready for the 2018 football season
Youth football season is almost here! Between scheduling practices, finding new coaches or volunteers, and organizing equipment distribution, your preseason to-do list might seem endless.
But don’t get too overwhelmed. Make sure you follow these quick tips to start getting ready for the upcoming season…
Tip #1 – Organize a preseason camp
June and July can be slow months for other youth sports. Baseball, lacrosse, and soccer are wrapped up for most teams. School is out too!
When mid-summer comes around parents are often looking for an excuse to get the kids out of the house. There’s no better way to kick off your football/cheer season by offering a short camp for a few days.
Running a camp may seem daunting, but with a few coach volunteers you can get things started pretty quickly. The camp only needs to run for a couple of hours, over the course of 4-6 days (a couple of days per week for a few weeks works great). You can even theme the camp, or offer different camps:
- Skills Camp
- Conditioning Camp
- Intro to Football or Cheerleading
The camp can be a great way to do a few things:
- Give coaches from last year an opportunity to get to know new players or coaches they haven’t met yet.
- Start instituting any new rules or regulations you’ll have for 2018.
- Raise a little extra money from small registration fees per player.
- Get new players! You can give new families a chance to register and try tackle or flag football for the first time. If the player enjoys it, they’ll sign up for the full season in 2018.
Running a short camp for youngsters can help find new flag football players for this season and grow your participants in future years.
Tip #2 – Set up Options for Sponsors to Pay Online
The first step in getting new sponsors for 2018 is to make it easy to contribute. When you create hoops for sponsors to jump through (like filling out forms, writing checks, or sending you emails) you’re going to reduce the chances that sponsors will make a contribution to your football program.
So take a few minutes to set up some easy options for sponsors to pay you online. It’s always good to have different levels and price options for sponsors (like Gold, Silver or Bronze, if you’re not sure what you should name them or Green, Gold, and White if you’re running the Green Bay Packers).
If you’re using Jersey Watch it’s super easy to set up online forms to allow sponsors to pay you online any time. Most businesses are going to prefer to pay with a credit card, so don’t force them to write you a check!
You can leave sponsorship options open throughout the season, and even add new sponsor options for the second half of the season if there are new events to support (like end of season trips, banquets, etc.)
Tip #3 – Start sending weekly updates to parents (and anyone from the 2017 season who isn’t registered yet!)
A lot of players registered over the last few months to play football. Now what? Don’t leave parents in the dark about next steps for the season. Make sure you’re sending them regular messages about the upcoming season. One message per week to parents can help keep them excited about the season, let them know of any important changes, and register players for camps or other events.
What about players from 2017 who aren’t registered for 2018 yet? Make sure you’re contacting those parents to let them know when your registration deadlines are so they don’t miss out this season. Even if you will let them register until the season starts, you can build in some pricing discounts if they register in advance so you can get a good estimate on numbers for this season.
Parents are busy (and sometimes disorganized). Don’t make them go searching for information. Make sure they are receiving updates on their phone and in their email inbox.
And you can use Tip #3 to help you with Tip #4…
Tip #4 – Make it easy for parents to volunteer
If you already require that parents sign up to volunteer (or pay an additional fee to opt out) during the registration process, you’re ahead of the game. But if you’re scrambling to find parents to volunteer during the season, get started now.
Finding new parents to put in a few hours of work per week is super hard, and it’s probably too late for this season. But, if you can find 20+ parents that can contribute a couple of hours for the season it’ll go along way in saving time for your board and coaches. Reach out to parents now to help with a variety of your in-season activities like concessions, game day duties, organizing the postseason banquet, or equipment return. These new volunteers this year may turn into coaches or board members for next season.
Get rolling today!
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Have other ideas that your football program is using to get ready for 2018? We’d love to hear.