Youth football truly is a community sport. Every fall season, from August to November, parents, coaches, siblings, and neighbors anticipate each weekend with excitement. They spend the week preparing, and scheming to come out on top. Victory and defeat are shared with one another.
Even if the season is still several months away, there is plenty of work that needs to be done to make sure you are ready for youth football season. Below are four tips that can assist you with making sure you are ready to tackle the competition this football season.
Recruit New Players and Volunteers
Don’t do all of the work yourself! The first thing you will want to do is recruit new players and volunteers for your youth football season.
Of course you will have returning players and parents who may have already talked with you about the upcoming season. However, your program will undoubtedly grow each year and you will want to be prepared with a way to “bring them onboard."
One very effective way to recruit new players and volunteers is through summer training camps. This gives families the opportunity to meet new people, learn about your league/team, and get pumped for your youth football season. Camps can be offered for free or at a minimal fee. It all just depends on your needs.
The best way to gauge the interest for a summer training camp is to set up online registration. You can collect player and parent information as well as determine which parents want to be involved and how they want to volunteer.
Want to make sure your volunteers a good fit for working with children? Background checks are your best bet and are easy to use within Jersey Watch.
If you are charging a small fee for your camp, you can collect payments online as well. By setting up an online registration program, you can simplify the work flow and focus on the activities that you want included during your summer training camp.
Looking for a few fun drills to run for your summer camp? Checkout our post on 4 Fun Youth Football Defensive Drills!
Post Important Dates and Events on Your Website
Getting all of the most important events posted on your website is a critical step to get ready for the season.
You might not have have your practice or game schedules yet, but you can post all of the general events like first practice, parent meetings, banquet dates, and fundraisers. If you have a last day of registration you can post the date on the front page in order to register even more players.
Getting all of your administrative events scheduled now will give parents solid expectations on when/where they’ll need to be!
One great idea to help garner community by having new and returning players and volunteers get to know each other better, is to plan a cookout. You can set up a flag football game between players and volunteers. This may even allow you to see if there is an interest from much younger players that want to play youth football but do not enjoy tackle. Many youth football programs have both tackle and flag football.
Create Programs for Online Registration
Making the registration process super easy for parents is critical. You can set up online registration at any time. It all just depends on your needs at the time and what has been beneficial in the past. Each youth football program will have their own registration form. This way you can set up different types of registration based on age/grade range, skill level, tackle or flag and even cheerleading. Every youth football program needs an awesome cheerleading team to encourage and cheer on their players!
Within the registration forms, you can create custom questions in order to have parents agree to league bylaws, waivers, and other important documentation. Questions such as “does the player have allergies?” or “does the player have any previous medical conditions we should be aware of?” are helpful pieces of information that can be helpful when assessing players.
Collecting youth football fees and dues are one of the key benefits of creating online registrations for your youth football program. A lost check, cash changing hands, or misplaced funds can all be avoided when you give parents a secure way to pay online.
Put Together Pre-Season Conditioning
Now that your youth football season is quickly approaching, it’s time to get your team(s) in football ready shape. Sometimes full practices can be hard to attend every week so it’s important to give your players ways to get ready on their own.
USA Football has a great blog that lists several ways players can work on strengthening and conditioning before, during, and after the youth football season. Conditioning is very important to improving skills but also for player safety.
Non-contact conditioning drills can be a great way to get your football players ready for the first practices.
Having players’ muscles and joints ready for the physical demands of any sport is extremely important. Getting the parents involved in pre-season conditioning is wise as well. Having parents aware of the limits that their children can endure will help them become better players and healthier athletes.
You’re Ready for Kickoff!
You’ve got your volunteers signed up, your players (new and old), assigned to teams, registration forms and money collected and your teams in shape and conditioned. You are officially ready for youth football season. It’s time to coach and cheer your players on to victory! I guarantee all your hard work will certainly pay off. It’s time for kickoff!