Last week we asked if youth sports organizations should hand out participation trophies and the debate got really heated! Some argued that participation trophies are good for younger teams (first and second graders) while other sports parent said they have shelves full of participation trophies that are just collecting dust so who really needs them? But one baseball coach had this to say;
Save the monies and start a scholarship fund for kids parents who can’t afford the fees for league, it would be much better spent.
No one can really argue that youth sports, especially as your child moves up the competition ladder and onto more high-powered teams, is getting more and more expensive. In addition to the registration fees, sports parents might have to invest in new (or new-to-you) equipment and gear each season as their child grows, or buy completely different equipment if their athlete wants to try a new sport. Not to mention tournament fees, costs associated with travel (hotel, gas, eating out, etc), coaching or private training sessions and more—suddenly a fun summertime activity becomes a major financial investment! And what if you have more than one athlete in the house? Your youth sports costs might double or even triple!
The last thing we at SportsSignup want is for the cost of youth sports to keep parents from registering their kids for the season. So we think that baseball coach might be onto something—what if your youth sports organization did away with participation trophies (maybe just a certificate is enough?) and started a sports fund to help to-be sports parents offset some of the costs of youth sports. Parents could apply for your sports fund like they would apply for any other kind of scholarship and the money your organization saved from ditching the trophies (and maybe other cost cutting measures) could be handed out as needed. Who knows, a $50 “sports scholarship” could be the deciding factor that convinces parents to register their kids for your league!
Here are a few other ways your youth sports organization can help offset the cost of youth sports:
1. Hold a sports-gear swap.
Have your sports parents bring in gently used sports gear (baseball gloves, football padding, hockey sticks, etc) and give them the opportunity to swap with other parents for the equipment they need. Some of that equipment may have only been used for a season or two and has plenty of life left in it!
2. Partner with local businesses when you host league events.
If your sports organization likes to host an end-of-the-season event get the local hamburger joint to sign up as a sponsor and give every youth player a ticket to get one free hotdog/hamburger. The local restaurant gets to advertise to all the sports families in town and your league can save the money that would have gone to catering and put it back into your sports fund!
3. Offer early-bird registration deals.
With an online sports registration system you can create custom registration deals for early-bird registrants, families that are registering more than one player per season, new registrants and so forth. This is a good way to not only help offset the costs of youth sports but also encourage sports parents to register early in the season so your rosters are full come opening day!