How to Keep Players Coming Back Year After Year

It’s one thing to attract players to your youth sports club. It’s a whole other challenge to retain athletes within your organization long-term.

One way to keep athletes in your club and away from your competitors is by offering players a positive and fulfilling experience. If athletes can get everything they need from your club – and have fun doing it – why would they look elsewhere?

Get tips on how you can beat your competition by offering an enhanced player experience.

Focus on the Development of Skills, Not Winning

All competitors want to be successful, but in youth sports, helping athletes learn new skills and develop their athletic abilities can be more important than the team’s record. Keep your players in your organization by focusing on helping athletes improve and perform to the best of their abilities. If you do this, the victories will come, and players will also see the improvements they’ve made and realize the value of the club.

Track player development year-over-year and during the season with TeamGenius Player Evaluation Software. Learn more >

Promote Fun

Youth sports are meant to be fun. While athletes need to do drills, practice and learn skills, they can also have fun doing it. If athletes don’t want to show up to practice, they are unlikely to stick with your club – or maybe even the sport – long-term. Instead, try to make training enjoyable for the players. 

Read our blog post – “Is having fun more important than winning in youth sports?”

Teach Sportsmanship

Athletes play sports to compete and try to win, but it’s important for coaches and organizations to teach players good sportsmanship and how to follow the rules as well. Coaches can use practice as an opportunity to ensure players treat their teammates and coaching staff with respect. Practice is also when coaches should teach players the rules of the game to make sure they are educated on the sport. Clubs can use games and matches as opportunities to show why it’s important to follow the rules, strategize, and how to treat their opponents and officials with respect. Learning these skills can create a more positive experience throughout the organization for all athletes.

Treat Players with Respect

Just as it’s important for athletes to treat their teammates, opponents, and coaches with respect, it’s also important for coaches and administrators to respect the youth players. If players feel respected, they will have a better experience with the club and can be more likely to enhance their skills in the sport through added training and practice. This will improve the way they interact with their coaches and superiors and will help establish a long-term relationship within the organization.

Encourage Socialization

A large part of youth sports is forming relationships with teammates. Close teams stick together, both on the field and off, and these relationships can encourage athletes to stay with a club. Organizations should encourage players to socialize during appropriate times during practice and facilitate events to help foster relationships, whether it’s training sessions, tournaments, team dinners or other outings. 

Invest in Player Development

When clubs set their budget, the priority should be investing in player development to help athletes improve their skills and succeed in the sport. Players will feel appreciated, and the extra funds can help them take their skills to the next level with the latest equipment, uniforms, facilities and more. If athletes feel they can get all of the tools they need to accomplish their sports goals with the club, they won’t feel the need to leave to play for another organization.

Are you investing in player development at your club? If so, make sure your coaches have an easy way to document and share player development information with players and parents. Try the TeamGenius Player Evaluation Platform >

Hire the Right Staff

To give players the best experience possible, it’s important to have the right coaching staff in place. Players need someone who is invested in their development and success. It’s important to find coaches who have tips to offer players, can motivate them to enhance their skills, can push the players in the right way during competition without being overly aggressive or putting too much pressure on the athletes.

Create a Supportive Culture

For an ideal athlete experience, players need to feel supported by the entire organization. This can be in the form of getting enough funding for the club for certain activities or equipment, to having admins present at practices and games, to knowing the club wants the athlete to succeed and will help the player achieve his or her goals. Clubs can help establish this by communicating with players and welcoming feedback. Knowing what the athlete’s goals are and presenting ways to help him or her achieve those can encourage the player to stick with the club long-term.

While it’s important to pose victories and field successful teams, clubs can also top their competition by offering better player experiences. Helping athletes achieve their goals, enhance their skills and develop their relationships with teammates can create a better overall experience that can encourage players to keep competing for the organization.

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