How to increase your youth sports participant numbers!

How to increase your youth sports participant numbers!


By: Kate Dilworth, Director, Marketing
National Alliance for Youth Sports

One of our goals at the National Alliance for Youth Sports is to see more children playing sports. That means more kids having fun, getting exercise and learning lifelong skills! Likewise, most youth sports programs we work with would love to have more participants in their program. Here are a few simple tips youth sports program leaders can use to increase their participation numbers as soon as registration opens and avoid those late and last minute sign-ups.

Maximize your website's potential

All year long, utilize your league website to post all upcoming program dates as well as program registration dates, times and locations. Parents should never have to wonder when the next season is starting.
Set up a pre-registration option on your website or through your online registration provider. Just create a simple form to gather the contact information of interested parents so you can notify them when registration is available.

Reach out to current and past participant

Send an email to the parents of last year's participants to encourage registration. This tip may seem like a no-brainer but we know that league administrators get busy and forget to do things when the time comes. Consider adding reminders to your calendar to send these emails one month, one week and one day before registration begins.
Also, send a separate email to the parents of players who missed a year. In your message, include highlights and pictures from the past year. Consider offering a discount or incentive for returning to the program.
Set up a referral program. Offer families who refer a new participant $10 off their child’s registration or another reward like a t-shirt. Most parents will be glad to refer a friend but adding a small reward is a nice thank you to recognize them.
At the end of each season, maybe even at the awards ceremony, offer a discount to parents who “lock in” their registration early for the next season. 

Educate potential familie

Hold an open house meeting prior to registration to educate interested parents about your program and the opportunities for their children. Beyond program dates, age groups and locations, be sure to include details of what parents can expect from each program. Is the program focus on learning skills with one practice and one game per week or is it a highly competitive program with multiple practices and weekend tournaments? Providing detailed explanations allows parents to confidently place their child in a program they (and the child) feel is most appropriate. Bonus: Post these explanations of program offerings on your website along with your pre-registration form!

Does your organization do something unique that helps attract participants? Share your ideas in the comment section below.

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