1. Conducting an Annual In-Person or Virtual General Membership Meeting
Governance, direction, and oversight are key for any well-run league. Conducting a General Membership meeting serves as a cornerstone for effectively managing Little League® business.
This meeting can be conducted in person or using electronic means. If your league intends to hold this meeting virtually, you are advised to contact your regional center for guidance and suggestions on how to do so.
Basic items of annual operation must be included in the agenda of this very important meeting, which include financial reporting, constitution review, and elections, among others.
It is also important to define and understand who is considered a League Member, and distinguish that group from the persons serving on the league’s Board of Directors — they are not the same.
2. Reviewing Constitution and Bylaws
Undoubtedly, this is one of the most important tasks to be completed annually by the Board of Directors and the General Membership. A constitution is a legal binding document outlining the most fundamental aspects of the league: foundation, governance, finances and elections, among others.
Even if these documents are not expected to undergo any changes, they must be reviewed as such and approved through the appropriate rules of order. A copy of these documents are to be kept current and on file at the regional Little League office.
3. Exercising Operational and Financial Transparency
The most successful leagues are those which promote transparency in all aspects of operational and financial matters. Transparency is paramount to ensure the fewest number of problems in the future and promotes involvement from other volunteers, parents and possible businesses willing to help.
Board members should have nothing to hide in their administration. Not only should they have a responsibility to report the status of the league, but also should expect to share with the General Membership the burden of finding the necessary funds to sustain subsequent seasons.
In order to have a better understanding of this concept: UNDERSTANDING YOUR LEAGUE’S FINANCES
Note that this principle also applies to the district level. District Administrators are required to report to their constituents and leagues, on the financial status of the district and the needs for the following year. Transparency helps the district and leagues avoid embarrassing situations that may impact personal reputations.
4. Developing a Marketing Plan
Successful leagues share a common trait – clearly-outlined annual goals. Developing these goals begins with defining the necessary steps to take and the people responsible for performing these tasks. These people are expected to have working knowledge of the available resources and the possibilities within the local market. In other words, they operate like a business would. Certainly, a non-for-profit business, but it still remains a business, which must provide its customers with a great product and quality service.
Thus, understanding how to create a basic marketing plan will go a long way in preparing the road for success and accomplishing the goals set forth.
5. Choosing an Approved Draft Method
Well-run leagues keep it simple. They choose an approved draft method from the annual Little League rulebook and go with it — no sophisticated options or trades. The District Administrator should closely monitor this choice before the registration period begins, since it should be included in the league’s bylaws.
To properly understand each of the three options available to the leagues: PLAYER SELECTION-APPROVED DRAFT METHODS
Leagues are advised to contact their regional center if assistance is needed for determining the proper draft method for assembling teams following a cancelled or suspended season.
6. Managing Player Data
Collecting information is huge these days in every sport and applying this practice to a local league helps our program provide the best experience possible for all your players and parents. Well-run leagues make sure that all of their player information is accounted for in a timely fashion, and securely stored electronically.
SportsConnect is the official and exclusive partner in providing technology services for our local leagues and districts. We encourage you to take full advantage of this great partnership, which includes free resources to create and maintain your league or district website, auto-schedule your tournament games, and organize player data.
All chartered Little League programs and districts are invited and encouraged to learn more about the opportunities available through SportsConnect.
7. Developing an Approved Safety Plan
Well-run leagues in our program always emphasize safety, and place it as the main priority on their list. Simply put, the Little League experience mainly depends on ensuring everyone in the local league knows what to do in case of an emergency. To accomplish this task each year means ensuring that the safety standards of the fields and facilities are everyone’s responsibility. Training and education of volunteers and parents is key. When all league officials fulfill their duties, the risk of an accident occurring is significantly reduced.
Invest the time to develop an appropriate and properly-defined safety plan.
Each Local league in the United States is expected to upload its current ASAP plan by logging into the Little League Data Center. Once uploaded, the plan can be revised and updated.
8. Appointing the Right Managers, Coaches and Umpires
One of the best signs of a well-run league is the development program established by its managers and coaches when instructing young players. This is fundamental to the Little League program as it represents the practical approach to teaching those values we represent and for which our mission advocates.
Nevertheless, it is in the finer details of annual administration that leagues excel in this particular area. Leagues, just like a business, focus on the human resource and select only those who will maximize the value added to the service provided. This will be done without consideration of whom the person might be connected to, or whether that person has been in the league for many years. The League President is tasked with nominating, and the Board of Directors is responsible for appointing the managers and coaches they feel will best serve the league and its players. There is no tenure.
To learn more about the approach that well-run leagues take towards selecting managers and coaches: APPOINTING MANAGERS, COACHES AND UMPIRES.
9. Coordinating Training Sessions using Little League University (LLU)
Learning is paramount in any organization, and the most successful leagues in our program make this one of their top priorities.
Each year, volunteers have several opportunities to attend Little League-hosted training and education seminars. Training sessions are also available in-house using an internet connection and Little League University (LLU), the official training destination of Little League.
A local league is encouraged to appoint a Training & Education officer and entrust that person with the responsibility of defining a schedule of sessions where everyone can openly participate.
10. Hosting Diverse Little League Clinics
Well-run leagues are always looking to host coaches’ clinics, player clinics, Little League University on the Road events, umpire mechanics clinics, and turf management sessions, among others.
Create a cohesive, well-organized, and fun experience. Once this is the perception of your league, parents, players, and the rest of the community will associate your league with quality service and a great local program. The intent and result is to provide diverse, value-added opportunities for everyone involved.
Should you need some tools to help promote your efforts: COMMUNICATION TOOLS TO PROMOTE AND SHARE WITH YOUR LEAGUE
11. Attending All District Meetings
Sounds simple, right? However, you’d be surprised how much valuable information is missed when league officials do not attend monthly district meetings. One of the main responsibilities of a District Administrator is establishing effective communication channels so that all information is properly distributed, and each league is effectively engaged with all possible activities throughout the year.
Well-run leagues always send a representative ready to speak officially on their behalf, make decisions during district meetings, and report back to the Board of Directors.
Attendance at these meetings will pay off immediately. Remember, we should strive for district-wide development, and not isolated expansion of just one league.
12. Engaging in Special Games
This item goes back to the principle expressed in Item 10. One of the best practices found among well-run leagues is the development of Special Games events, which seek opportunities to bring together regular season teams or tournament-like teams (this is different than International Tournament Teams), creating an atmosphere that offers appealing benefits such as traveling, multiple games and connecting with members of different communities.
Special Games events also keep Little League families engaged with our program, and could serve as a league development tool when also utilized to connect with non-Little League organizations. The first step to exploring this great concept is to contact the corresponding District Administrator to establish the guidelines and define the event. Special Games will need to be approved by the D.A. and regional office.
In order to learn more abut Special Games: BENEFIT OF SPECIAL GAMES
Sandlot Fun Days and Little League-recommended alternate methods of play are also available for leagues to provide additional opportunities for children to more thoroughly enjoy their Little league experience.
13. Seeking Interleague Play Opportunities
Collective thinking and development is a constant among well-run leagues and districts. The most impact will always come from leagues working together, and helping each other. Goodwill prevails in these communities and it is reflected in larger team numbers and more leagues in the district, thus fulfilling our mission of bringing the Little League experience to more families.
Interleague play is an extraordinary concept that has been available for some time, but only well-run districts and leagues seem willing to make use of this option for more games. Little League has developed a presentation that succinctly explains interleague play, which will help your organization thrive and will bring a memorable experience to more families and players.
View more information on interleague play: INTER-LEAGUE PLAY EXPLAINED