Hosting a regular season or district tournament can be a lot of fun, and an exciting event for the communities entering teams and fans, families, and friends coming to the games; but to make an enjoyable experience requires plenty of planning and preparation by the hosting league.
Bob Hudlow, the Tournament Director for the Little League Softball® World Series in Portland, Ore. Since 2012, shared some tips to organize and operate a successful tournament.
To get the level of volunteer commitment necessary to be a tournament host, Mr. Hudlow suggests beginning the recruitment process by assembling the corps of volunteers who will oversee its operation for the duration of event.
The Tournament Board of Directors will manage all aspects of the event, and be responsible for making sure the appropriate number of support staff are in place.
Mr. Hudlow suggests securing volunteers for these primary responsibilities:
- Field preparation and maintenance (rotating 4 to 7 people)
- Concessions (rotating 2 to 4 people based on the number of games in a day and game times)
- Game managers (one per game)
- Game operations (i.e. – scoreboard operation, official scorer, pitch counter)
- Scheduling umpires (district or host league’s Umpire-In-Chief)
- Generating funds and managing the operating budget
Mr. Hudlow strongly encourages the host league to get as many people involved as possible. Having a larger volume of staff available helps to ease the burden and stress that may come with hosting games, and makes it an easier decision for volunteers who want to contribute some time to the tournament.
Whether a tournament is a regular-season special games event, a Tournament of Champions, or part of the Little League International Tournament, the key to success is buy-in from the host league’s volunteers, community awareness, and a commitment to providing a consistent level of customer service, all within the rules set forth by Little League’s Rules, Regulations, and Policies.