Youth Sports Administration 101: How to Run Your Organization

Sierra Swigert
Youth sports coach and administrator working with youth athletes
Youth sports coach and administrator working with youth athletes
Running a youth sports organization can be daunting. There are many moving parts, and it can be overwhelming for new volunteers or board members. We recognize the importance of getting it right, so we’re here to help! 
This guide will cover the key components of sports management, ensuring you're well-prepared for success.

Leadership and management

The best-run youth sports organizations have an effective leadership team. This group of people is often referred to as the “Board of Directors,” “Staff Members,” or “Executive Board.” Regardless of what they’re called, they all have a similar set of roles and responsibilities at a youth sports organization.
Your leadership team should, at a minimum, consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. If there are more volunteers willing to help, you could also have roles such as Website Manager, Fundraising Chair, Facilities and Equipment Manager, and Coaching Coordinator.
These positions are crucial for running a successful organization and the responsibilities for each position can consist of the following:
  • President: Provides the overall leadership of the board and sets the strategic vision and direction of the organization.
  • Vice President: Presides in the absence of the President and works with other members of the board to fulfill tasks. They also carry out other duties assigned by the President.
  • Secretary: Records meeting minutes, handles official correspondence from the sports organization, and ensures any legal or regulatory compliance standards are met.
  • Treasurer: This person manages the organization’s finances, sets up the official bank account, and reports on its financial health.
  • Website Manager: Responsible for updating the organization’s sports website, managing the website and domain renewal, and overseeing online registration.
  • Fundraising Chair: Oversees fundraising initiatives, is responsible for securing sponsorships, donations, and partnerships, and works alongside the Treasurer.
  • Facilities and Equipment Manager: This position oversees the maintenance and operation of sports facilities and manages the scheduling of facilities for practices and games.
  • Coaching Coordinator: Reviews resumes and interviews potential coaches and referees, coordinates regular background checks and works alongside the Treasurer for any applicable payroll activities.
After identifying the necessary positions for your youth sports club, the next step is to establish the election process for the board. Considerations should include the frequency of elections, who is eligible to vote for board members, and the procedures for onboarding and offboarding.

Strategic planning

A clear vision and mission are fundamental to the success and sustainability of a youth sports organization. They serve as the foundation upon which all activities, decisions, and strategies are built. All decisions made for the organization should be made with both in mind.
A vision is a forward-thinking statement that defines what your youth sports program aspires to achieve in the future. It inspires and motivates board members, coaches, and any other stakeholders in the organization. 
A mission statement describes the organization's purpose and the primary objectives it seeks to accomplish. It outlines what the organization does, who it serves, and how it serves them. 
a youth sports mission statement
Example of a sports mission statement.
Long-term goals and objectives translate the vision and mission into actionable and measurable steps. They provide a roadmap for achieving the desired future state of the organization. It’s recommended that you set a one-year goal, a five-year goal, and a ten-year goal. Having various milestones will help guide the future direction of your youth sports organization.
A few strategies that can help your team achieve these goals are:
  • Develop action plans: Break down each goal into smaller, actionable steps. Assign responsibilities and set deadlines for each step to ensure progress.
  • Allocate resources: Identify and allocate the necessary resources to achieve each goal. Resources can include financial numbers, personnel, or material items.
  • Monitor and evaluate: Regularly monitor progress towards goals. Use evaluations to make adjustments and to celebrate milestones.

Financial management

Running a youth sports organization can be costly, but it doesn't have to break the bank. While the Treasurer should take the lead on all financial activities, it's crucial for all stakeholders to stay informed about the organization's financial health. When more than one person is aware of financial activities happening at the club, it also creates a checks-and-balances system.
The first step to managing finances at a youth sports organization is to create a budget. Your organization should identify all sources of income, including registration fees, additional participation fees, fundraising events, sponsorships, and grants. The next step is to list all expenses, such as uniforms, travel, facility rentals, administrative costs, and coaching fees.
Example of a youth sports budget template
Example of a youth sports budget.
👉 Don't want to create your own from scratch? Download our youth sports budget template
The solution for increasing your income isn’t to increase player registration fees, that should be a last resort. Instead, focus on improving fundraising and sponsorships for your organization. 
Fundraising activities can be divided into two categories: events and campaigns. Hosting an in-person event such as a car wash, golf outing, or cook-off can be profitable and create community engagement. Campaigns such as a GoFundMe, online website donations, or sponsoring an athlete can be set up in just a few minutes and require little effort.

Training and development

The health of athletes should be a top priority at your youth sports organization and this commitment starts with having well-educated coaches. Educated coaches comprehend the various aspects of athletes' well-being, encompassing their physical safety, performance, and mental health.
Many young athletes encounter injuries through their participation in youth sports, yet a knowledgeable coach understands the importance of implementing preventive measures. Coaches should stay informed of potential risks, provide adequate rest and know the signs of common sports-related injuries. 
Youth sports coach training his athletes
Your sports organization should consider requiring (and paying for) coaches to take classes to further help them with their education. At a minimum, classes should include CPR and first aid training.
While all coaches need to know the foundations of youth sports, there will be some instances when an athlete desires to move up to a more competitive level. Coaches should understand the development pathways for all youth athletes, regardless of their athletic ability.

League growth and retention

Expanding your league and ensuring the retention of existing members requires a strategic approach to marketing and community engagement. Your efforts should balance attracting new members while also preventing membership churn.
Implementing the below initiatives will help attract new youth athletes to your sports organization:
  • Build your online presence. Make sure your website ranks on search engines and contains relevant keywords. Parents will use Google to search for sports programs near them, so make sure your website is one of the first results.
  • Create community partnerships. Partner with local schools, community centers, and other organizations to promote your organization. A well-established organization's endorsement of your organization adds a layer of credibility.
  • Referral programs. Create incentives for current players to refer family and friends. You can offer online discounts or rewards when someone signs up.
Once you’ve built your membership base, you’ll need to ensure that they stick around! Parents usually have multiple options when considering a sports organization for their child so be sure that they continue to choose you by implementing the below retainment strategies:
  • Amazing customer experience. Be sure to respond to inquiries in a timely manner, create realistic refund policies, and ensure that general information can be easily found on your website and/or social media.
  • Competitive programming. Continuously evaluate and improve the quality of programs as well as offer a variety of formats to cater to different skill levels, ages, and interests.
  • Recognition and rewards. Offer loyalty rewards, discounts, or exclusive perks to returning members. This could include a discounted registration fee.
As a youth sports administrator, it’s your responsibility to care for the children at your organization. This includes knowing legal standards and safety regulations for youth sports.
To start, you should familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal child protection laws and regulations. Be sure to review laws related to background checks, reporting abuse, and duty of care toward minors. 
As mentioned, background checks are crucial to running a sports organization safely. Creating a background check policy is a great start, and it will determine who is required to get a background check and how often. Other screening processes to implement can include interviews and reference checks, too!
Everyone who participates in your sports organization should acknowledge the rules and safety measures that have been set. Online sports waivers are a great way to easily collect acknowledgments from volunteers and other adults. Some common waivers to consider include a Code of Conduct, release forms for photography of minors, and liability waivers.
👉 Download a free sports waiver template for your organization. 
Although nobody wants to think of something bad happening, it can be an unfortunate reality of youth sports. You can proactively get ahead of issues by implementing accessible and confidential reporting mechanisms. It should be clear to all involved how they can report concerns or suspicions of child abuse or neglect and what the next steps are.
Other areas of child safety include:
  • Making sure all facilities meet safety standards.
  • Being aware of various emergency scenarios, such as natural disasters, and knowing how to react.
  • Implementing risk management by proactively identifying potential risks and hazards.
  • Providing appropriate supervision and instruction to minimize the risk of injuries and accidents.

Communication and conflict resolution

Running a successful sports team requires constant communication with athletes, parents, and community members. Each audience segment will require slightly different strategies to communicate effectively.
In youth sports, athletes are considered adolescents and will receive communication differently than an adult would. Be sure to use language that is age-appropriate and easy for young athletes to understand. Utilize platforms that athletes are comfortable with, such as team apps, social media or messaging apps.
Parents are busy, so it’s important to set communication expectations upfront. Establishing which channels you’ll be communicating through and when to expect updates is a great way to reduce future issues. Be sure to always be transparent and provide real-time updates on schedule changes, approaching deadlines, or any developments within the organization.
A forgotten segment of sports communication is with the local community! Make sure to have a Contact section on your website where anyone can send a message. People want to provide feedback, so make it easy and then be transparent about how you decide to implement this into future seasons. 
Example of a youth sports contact us form
Lastly, share success stories! Highlighting achievements and positive experiences through social media, newsletters, or local media outlets is a great way to interact with those around you.


Finding the right sports platform is crucial to managing the many aspects of running a sports league. Jersey Watch is an all-in-one platform for youth sports that provides tools for registration, scheduling, and communication.
Using the custom website, you can showcase upcoming schedules and events in real time! Making changes takes a few clicks, so you can always provide the most up-to-date information. Parents can see the full calendar of events so they can plan ahead for future games and tournaments.
In 2024, most parents expect that a sports organization will offer online registration. Jersey Watch makes it simple to register and pay in just a few clicks. As an admin, you can customize your registration forms with custom questions, discount codes, multi-registrant discounts, and payment plans. Long gone are the days of writing checks and tracking down payments. Now you can access everything directly from your account.
Online registration admin management tools
The Jersey Watch communication tools take your organization to the next level. Posting important information is just one component of communicating with parents but being able to deliver instant text messages and emails is a whole other ball game! Never rely on a social media feed to deliver timely information again.

Event management

Organizing tournaments and events for youth sports requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a focus on safety. The first step is to identify facilities that could be used and check to see if they’re available on the dates you need them.
Once you’ve confirmed they’re available, check to make sure they can accommodate the number of participants and spectators you intend to have. Other factors to consider include facilities such as restrooms or parking, accessibility, and location.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have enough personnel to run the event. For most events, you’ll need a concession stand, referees/umpires, an announcer, and a facilities cleaning crew. You should consider designating someone from your board to oversee the vetting process of selecting venues.
Scheduling can be complex so when you create a sports calendar be sure to plan in advance, use technology for scheduling, and align with community and school calendars. For example, if you’re hosting a Saturday track meet - be sure to check the local prom schedules for high school teams!
When managing events, be sure to have adequate medical support. An easily accessible area should hold first aid kits, AEDs, and other medical supplies. The local police and fire departments should also be informed about your event so they can properly staff their teams.

Become the best sports admin you can be with Jersey Watch

Managing a sports organization involves many complex elements, but with a solid plan and the right software, you can achieve success. Consider Jersey Watch as your sports management tool - they can help with all areas of running a sports program!
Jersey Watch is the Fastest Way to Manage Your Sports Organization