4 Registration Tips for the Spring Youth Sports Season

Tim Gusweiler
We’re entering the holiday season and it’s time to start getting your youth sports program ready for the spring season.
Registering more players is a tough task, especially if you’re a volunteer. But if you put the right strategies in place you can save yourself a ton of time and grow participation this spring.
If you’re registering players for baseball, softball, lacrosse, or soccer, follow these quick and easy tips to register more players this year.

Tip #1 – Make It Easy for Parents to Register for Your Youth Sports Organization

Convenience is critical. It needs to be super easy to register with credit or debit card and to register from anywhere at any time. If you’re requiring that parents pay with cash/check, or drive to your facility to fill out paperwork, you’re going to miss out on players and frustrate parents.
Like it or not, parents expect that they should be able to register and pay for anything online in 2019. More of the dreaded Millennials are becoming parents and prefer to pay with card for every purchase they make.
The good news it’s super easy to set up online registration for your sports organization, and it will save you hours of time as a volunteer when you switch from using paper registration. You can get online registration started in just a few minutes and payments can be deposited directly to your bank account.
This is what parents look like when you they find out they can’t register and pay for their kid online. Don’t believe us? Here are 3 major reasons people want to pay with cards.

Tip #2 – Create Incentives and Use Time Sensitive Motivational Tactics

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone registered for spring sports before December 31? As a volunteer, your life gets easier the further in advance that players register. You can easily budget for the year, you know how many players will be in each division, and you can assign coaches well in advance.
But parents are busy (and sometimes lazy), and if you don’t encourage them to register now, they’ll wait until the absolute last minute.
Here are a few easy ideas to get parents to register well in advance:

Offer an Early Bird Discount

The easiest way to create urgency is by adding a pricing incentive. Who doesn’t love to save a few bucks? A 10% discount can go a long way to get parents motivated to register early.
If you charge $100 for the season, it’s a great idea to allow parents to register for $90 if they register before January 1.
Parents love a good discount!

Allow Parents to Pay a Deposit, Followed by Their Balance Automatically

If you have a high percentage of parents that don’t want to pay up front for the full season months in advance, you can have them make a small deposit for the season (say $20) followed by their remaining balance on the final day of registration.
This allows parents to reserve their spot and will help give you a solid estimate on the amount of players you have.
You can set this up to charge their card automatically so you don’t have to worry about whether or not the parents will pay, and you don’t have to chase down checks or cash.

Tip #3 – Promote Yourself!

It’s super important to make sure you promote your registration. Don’t just “set it and forget it” and expect that you’ll have everyone registered without any elbow grease.
Parents are super busy, and if you’re not in front of them selling your sports organization, they won’t register on time and might not register at all.
First and foremost you should contact past participants directly via email immediately, and via text message as registration is closing. Make sure your registrants from last season are hearing from you often so they know when registration opens/closes, and any important changes for the upcoming season.

Other Ideas to Promote Your Registration:

Utilize Social Media

You need to make sure you are updating your social media channels. While it’s much tougher to reach parents via Facebook nowadays, it’s still a must to update your page with your current season’s information. If you have Instagram or Twitter profiles, make a post one day per week with registration information with a link to your website so parents can register easily.
If you don’t have time to update your social media channel(s), delete them! The last thing you want is to have “dead” social media profiles with no information. If you let that happen, parents who are interested in registering their child will assume you aren’t operating this year.

Partner with the Local Basketball League or Wrestling Club

Reach out to the local basketball league or wrestling club to ask for help promoting your spring sports program. It’s important that kids play more than one sport (even LeBron played football in high school), so it’s a good idea to work with other sports organizations in your community. Ask the other organizations if they could post your registration information on their social media pages, or hand out fliers at their next practice. You can help them out when the time comes for next season, and everybody wins!

Tip #4 – Give Parents the Opportunity to Sponsor a Team or Donate During Registration

Parents care about your organization and its success. When they have their credit card out and are about to pay for their child to play, make sure that you give them the opportunity to sponsor a team or make a donation to help.
You can set up the last question of your registration form with a question like “Do you want to sponsor a team this season for $100?”
Even if a small portion of parents opt to contribute, you could add $1,000+ to your budget this year without doing any extra work.

Additional Resources

Jersey Watch is the Fastest Way to Manage Your Sports Organization