In August, most leagues have concluded the tournament season, families are enjoying the remainder of their summer vacations, and attentions will soon be focused on the coming school year. But, August is also a great time to begin setting your league up for a good start to next season.
By taking advantage of the freshly-minted memories from the past season coupled with the start of fall ball season in September, organizing pre-registration can help grow participation numbers and recruit volunteers.
More than ever, parents and volunteers appreciate the ability to plan weeks and even months in advance. Setting a pre-registration date(s) gives your league the opportunity to sign up players for fall ball and also get as many players as possible committed to your league for the following season.
For the children wanting to sign up to play fall ball, set the registration date(s) at least three weeks before the first fall ball practice. Have the fall ball coaches attend so that parents can meet with them and gather information about practices and game times. Don’t forget to remind them that fall ball is an extension of the regular season and that anyone can play if the player(s) were on a regular-season team from earlier this year.
Even if the players aren’t interested in playing fall ball, the pre-registration process gives parents the chance to put their children on a list for next year, learn what the league age of their children will be in the next year, and understand what division(s) they will be eligible to play in.
While pre-registering the children, take the opportunity to speak directly to the parents about volunteer positions within the league. Recruiting volunteers to be team coaches and managers, Board members, umpires, or other volunteer positions is crucial to hit the ground running in the next season.
Player pre-registration is also an effective way for the current Board of Directors to actively recruit volunteers for the new Board. With only two months left in the tenure of the current Board, searching out people who may become new Board members, and allowing them to become familiar with the activities, and ask questions can entice parents to take a more active volunteer role.
Another benefit of pre-registration is the ability to invite current or potential sponsors to learn more about your league. Exhibiting your league allows local businesses to gauge the benefits of a team sponsorship, field signage, or another level of financial support for next season, and hopefully, for seasons to come.
Each year, securing sponsors and marketing your league are vital to its operation. Little League has a Local League Resource Guide that is delivered annually to District Administrators and League Presidents. The Resource Guide is designed to give every local league the resources to efficiently complete the annual chartering process and expand its local outreach, which includes growing relationships with and current potentials sponsors.
Remember fall ball is the time for training and development, so be sure to make it fun!