Whether you’ve always been a sports fan or you’re looking for a way to engage your kids in team sports, starting a league in your area is a great way to take charge and create opportunities for your children and others. Creating something from scratch takes hard work and determination, but with the right team behind you, anything is possible!
In this blog, we’ll walk you through the steps you must take to get a youth sports league organized and off the ground.
Step 1: Find a Location
Your location will depend greatly on the type of league you’re setting up. For example, if you want to start a soccer or baseball league, you’ll either have to find fields where you can play and practice or land where you can build a complex. If you’re starting an indoor league for sports like hockey or basketball, you’ll likely need to find a facility that will let you rent the space or book time for your teams.
This is the first step because people will want to know how far they have to travel to participate in your league. It’s critical to try to find something close to your community that’s easy for most people to access.
Step 2: Plan Your Budget
There are a lot of costs associated with youth sports leagues. You need to know what type of financial commitment you’re making before you get started. Will you provide equipment like baseball gloves, basketball jerseys or soccer balls? Will the league pay to rent fields and courts or will that be built into the registration fee? Will coaches be compensated or hired on a volunteer basis?
Whatever costs you plan for the league to cover will need to come from some type of central or itemized fund. You should also plan to have a partner who can manage the finances and a way to raise money for your league.
Step 3: Find Volunteers
Although there are many costs associated with a youth sports league, there aren’t as many ways for it to make money. Especially not enough to hire full-time employees. That’s why many leagues rely on volunteers to run effectively.
Find some people who are willing to help you get the league off the ground through fundraisers, planning meetings, marketing and more. The more help you can get, the more likely you are to succeed at setting up your program.
Step 4: Prioritize Safety
Because your sports league will primarily serve children, it’s important to prioritize safety in everything you do. This includes physical, emotional and mental safety. Every sport has required safety equipment and rules, but volunteers and adults working with children should also be trained in abuse prevention and safe environment practices.
For many youth leagues, these classes are required by law to maintain compliance with the state and federal government. Plus, they help you ensure the overall safety of your participants, which helps parents feel more comfortable leaving their children in your care.
Step 5: Register Participants
With your league set up and funded and your volunteers and coaches trained, you can finally open registration to participants! You can do this one of two ways: analog or online. Many programs have moved to online registration, but if you don’t have access to an online platform or program, you can also have people mail in registration forms.
Remember to include all the key information in your registration packet, such as name, birthday, address, the parent or guardians’ names, emergency contacts, allergies, health information and a recent physical. Many leagues also send legal forms to ensure they’re not liable for any injuries that occur during games.
Step 6: Play Ball!
Setting up a great youth sports league takes time, but the end result is so satisfying. Once you’ve accomplished all five of these steps, you can enjoy the accomplishment that’s the opening day of your youth sports league with your family and friends.