Many directors and administrators of youth baseball leagues love the roles they have been given. These individuals are often volunteers and work hard — usually hours on top of their day jobs — to provide a great environment for players, families, and coaches. They are happy to deal with poor field conditions, crazy scheduling requirements, equipment issues, cranky parents, and the organizational quagmire that registration and roster formation can be. For these admins, all the frustrations are worth it.
However, all those frustrations can sometimes lead to burnout, no matter how dedicated the volunteer is. Registration can be especially vexing — hundreds of paper forms, hours of opening and sorting envelopes, and more hours of data entry into a spreadsheet can wear out even the most patient admin. Fortunately, careful planning combined with online league management software can improve baseball registration for your league. Here are four ways how:
1. START EARLY
Many leagues already open and advertise baseball registration early — February for spring/summer leagues, and as soon as the traditional spring/summer season ends for fall leagues. This is a smart strategy not only because it offers some breathing space when sorting through the registration process (you don’t have to do it all on one weekend), but also because parents have more time to sign up their children (and in the middle of winter, these same parents might be looking forward to spring sports …) and be reminded to do so. If you have registration open for only a couple weeks, you will be facing a mad rush of entries — and likely, a fair share of late ones. An early start results in more registrations and less chaos.
2. GO DIGITAL
Paper registrations were the norm for decades, and subsequently, extra work for admins was the norm as well. Even registration tables and events, in which parents signed up their kids in person, resulted in reams of paperwork — as well as being inconvenient for parents. Online registration, a feature in the best league management software, eliminates the paper from the process and the stress from the administrator. Parents register their kids online, and a record of those registrations is available as soon as you log in. No extra data entry is required; no sorting or collating is necessary for players to be placed in divisions (and teams — more on that later). Besides easing the process for you, online registration leads to more players signing up sooner because it’s easier for parents to register via the Internet than to fill out a paper form, write a check, and drop an envelope in the mail.
3. CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS
Hundreds of baseball registrations mean potentially hundreds of checks and thousands of dollars in your league’s bank account. Tracking all these payments can be tricky for the average league director, who likely doesn’t have any advanced accounting skills. Moreover, all those checks must be signed and deposited, thus necessitating multiple trips to the bank. With online registration, payments are made via credit card so that parents and admins aren’t dealing with checks or cash. Keeping track of who has and hasn’t paid is easier, and you aren’t spending time at the bank waiting for a teller.
4. STREAMLINED ROSTERS
Many league directors will tell you that the really crazy part of baseball registration is team formation. Coaches make requests for certain players; parents make requests for friends to be on the same team; and every roster needs enough players to field a team and have enough subs. The process can become Rubik’s cube-complex, and mistakes can easily be made that result in emails from annoyed coaches and parents — and, subsequently, more work for you to fix the mistakes. Online league management software can automatically form teams and take into account any special roster requests. What might have taken a whole weekend now only takes a few minutes, and the end result is accurate, balanced rosters that are ready for Opening Day.