Volunteers are what make a youth sports program go round. They are your administrators, concession staff, coaches and officials who are responsible for teaching a dozen young athletes how to play baseball, football, soccer, hockey or any other youth sport. They are also the ones that shape the overall experience for your youth athletes, shaping their opinions towards the sport in general. The most successful youth sports programs are supported by great volunteers.
Here are 3 characteristics that make someone a great volunteer for your youth sports organizations:
Knowledgeable of the sport
Enthusiasm goes a long way with youth sports volunteers, but enthusiasm plus knowledge is even better! Obviously you don’t need every volunteer to be a pro athlete or official to do a good job, but knowing the basic rules of the game is critical. Your volunteers are responsible for teaching young athletes the fundamentals of the sport and if they don’t have that knowledge, don’t expect their teams to learn much. If they don’t have any experience playing football, how will they be able to teach the proper way to throw a lateral pass? If they’ve never set foot on a baseball diamond, will they be able to show your players how to turn a double play?
If your youth sports organization is lucky enough to have an influx on volunteers, make sure every team gets at least one volunteer who is familiar with the sport. They can take charge of the other volunteers and make sure everyone (players and volunteers alike) learns something!
Loves to coach
If your volunteers are knowledgeable but don’t like to coach/teach, then their expertise won’t do much for your sports programs. Not everyone is good with kids, no matter how good they are with a hockey puck. It’s not enough to just know; they also have to know how to share their knowledge in a way that young athletes can understand. The best youth sports volunteers enjoy working with young athletes and understand how to break the game down and teach fundamentals step by step.
Believes youth sports are valuable
A common problem that can arise with youth sports programs is that the coaches and volunteers forget they are working with youths. Youth sports teams are not the place to be worrying about “looking like the pros.” It’s more important that volunteers focus on teaching the fundamentals and making sure all their players are getting the attention and training they need to contribute to the overall success of the team. Youth sports are valuable in their own right. Every sports great started playing on a youth sports team where a volunteer taught them the right way to throw, catch, skate or pass. Great youth sports volunteers remember that and take pride in it.