It’s never too early to starting thinking about your next Little League® season, and the summer and fall, in the window when your league is done playing but the fun memories from a successful season are still fresh in everyone’s mind, is a great time to get a jump on registration for the next year.
And there are plenty of fun ways to promote your local Little League, and share the variety of reasons why being a part of the program can be an influential part of a child’s life.
Stay Connected in the Community
A well-run Little League program often becomes a social gathering place for a community. To establish such a solid foundation, a league must build up trust from its families, volunteers, and businesses willing to provide financial stability through sponsorships. Don’t stop talking about your league after your season ended.
Staying visible throughout the year through promoting the benefits of Little League, participating in community events, and identifying opportunities to interact with parents and children before the school year starts, will help keep Little League on the top of everyone’s mind. Be sure to use those new and existing connections among businesses, community groups, and schools to post flyers and help spread information about your upcoming registration and to recruit volunteers.
Organize Events and Fun Player Activities
Hosting special community events is a great way to garner interest in your Little League and exposure for sponsors. As the current season comes to a close, utilize these get-togethers as pre-registration events and to expand the opportunities for sponsors of your league to get exposure.
A few good ideas for the late summer and early fall for events:
- Watch parties for the televised Little League World Series games at your facilities
- A special games tournament
- “Fun at the Park,” where players and families can share in friendly skills competitions like home run derby, running the bases, or having a simple game of catch.
- Outdoor movie night featuring a sports movie
- Coaching clinics
- Little League Day at a collegiate, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, or National Professional Fastpitch ballpark for a special day
With each event, offer program and player registration information, and, where possible, allow your league’s sponsors to set up a table to share and distribute promotional items.
Hold the League Membership Meeting in Early Fall
Your league is most visible and top of mind during the tournament season, which makes it a great time to begin your volunteer recruitment efforts for the next season. Recruiting new volunteers can start as early as July, and is most effective when supported by promotion and advertisement of the upcoming membership meeting during the tournament season. September is the perfect time to hold an opening meeting with the league’s membership. Use the meeting to discuss the upcoming season and draw in new volunteers.
Having early registration and player verification shortly after the membership meeting can set the league up for a robust primary registration period later in the fall and into winter. Get as much current information out there during the fall to entice parents, players, and volunteers to return for next season. The membership meeting is when you can discuss the promotion, registration, and recruitment effort, as well as opportunities to improve the program and the league’s current operations with the purpose of making the experience the best for the children.
Welcome and Educate Newcomers, both Parents and Players
For anyone who is new to Little League, it’s vital to explain how easy it is to join a local league. You can offer free registration to new players, as well as other discounts for those looking to join.
The Little League experience starts with connecting with young families. Children as young as 4 years old can play Tee Ball, and parents are strongly encouraged to get actively involved with their children. Little League’s Tee Ball program offers a step-by-step plan to introduce the Little Leaguers® and new coaches and parents to the sports of baseball and softball. After a season of Tee Ball, players may move up to the Minor Division Coach Pitch program, which also has a full-season program of training and education available. Both Tee Ball and Coach Pitch programs highlight the importance of Fun, Fitness, and Fundamentals at the early age.
It is essential to reach out to younger parents and make their first impression of the league the best it can be to encourage future engagement and participation by both players and parents.
Present New Opportunities
Allowing returning players the opportunity to try new things will help keep your league’s retention rate high. As players move up in age divisions, make them aware of the chance to compete in the Little League International tournament (All-Stars), as well as Second Season and Fall Ball.
Often remind the parents that Little League is a journey well beyond sports. The social side of the program opens up a new world of friends and memories for the children, but also brings families and communities together. By making Little League about the people, and not the athletic achievement, is how a league becomes the year-round place to be.