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Updated Feature : TeamPages Documents

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TeamPages documents

It always feels so good to update a well-used feature in TeamPages in order to make it the best experience possible. We have long known our documents widget and uploader was not the most user-friendly tool, particularly for organizations with massive folder structures and a lot of documents.  We have stripped this tool down and built it back up with the following changes:

  • On-page file uploader
  • Improved category creator
  • Drag and drop re-ordering

Let’s take a look at this updated feature!

If you have the documents widget turned on, you will see it on the homepage of the website. Here it will showcase your documents and provide a link to view all or add new. The widget display of the documents is relatively unchanged.

documents_widget

When you click through to the documents page, either via the widget link or a menu item, you will see all the documents you have uploaded. To add a new document, simply click the ‘add document’ button at the top of the list.

TeamPages documents

An uploader form will open on-page where you can choose your file, give it a name, adjust permissions, and email it to your members. Any new documents will be added to the bottom of the list.

TeamPages documents

If you would like to add a document to an existing category, you can do that too! Beside each category, you will see a link to add a document. The uploader form will open inside the category you have selected and your document will be added to the bottom of the category list.

TeamPages documents

To add a new category, simply click ‘add category’ at the top of the page and give your category (folder) a name. The new category will be listed at the bottom of the documents list. Click and hold to drag it into position. You can also nest categories inside other categories.

TeamPages documents

You can now drag and drop all of your documents and categories into any position you wish. Documents will always go to the bottom of a category list if dropped into a closed category.

There you have it! Not more cumbersome uploader, un-intuitive category picker, or painful one-up/one-down re-arranging. We hope you enjoy the new documents tool and please let us know what you think!

Youth Sport Marketing has Changed

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marketing

It’s almost 2017 and the landscape of youth sport growth, development, and outreach has changed since millennials (most of you reading this) began playing sports.  There’s a new businesslike feel surrounding club expansion and outreach that reflects both a boom in youth sports and companies realizing the exposure potential.  Understanding the role marketing plays in your organization will help you do more than secure funds; you’ll be able to fully realize the club’s vision and enrich the lives of the most important stakeholder – the kids.

Marketing does not equal fundraising
When organizations throw all of their resources and communications personnel towards strictly fundraising activities it may actually be holding them back.  It is, of course, important to secure funds through sponsors, fundraising events, and prompting donors.  However, proper marketing communications will reach further than this and includes many more activities that would possibly seem useless if your only goal was to meet fundraising targets.

This is not to say that there is not some overlap in both fundraising and marketing strategies, but when you fully dive into creating a dynamic plan for your club you’ll see why you may not be doing enough right now.

Have a dedicated marketing/business development committee
Your board should be ensuring that there are people (or at least one person) whose sole responsibility is marketing communications.  In order to be done effectively, the job is too onerous to be split up between multiple volunteers who are most likely already spread out too thin.  After all, most boards are made up of volunteers who have full-time jobs and family commitments, and taking on marketing duties to, say, the vice-president will prove insufficient.  The duties of your marketing team will include:

  • Club “brand” development and awareness

  • Event and program promotion

  • Community engagement

  • Collaboration with companies and other clubs

  • Digital marketing, website, and social media management

  • Relationship building with local companies, municipality, etc.

  • Keeping the organization relevant and constantly involved in the community

Having someone with a background in marketing/promotion/branding is definitely a bonus.  Don’t be afraid to ask around and use the club as a network to find the right person!

Benefits of a more involved marketing effort
You will begin to realize your organization’s ultimate goals taking form if you keep a high value on marketing communications. People in the community will begin to think of you as synonymous to the activities performed by your marketing committee.  This gives you the power to really position yourself by reflecting your message in these activities.  You will be able to create a positive association with your club to the community, business leaders, and local government.  At the same time, you’ll be gaining knowledge and developing relationships that will help drive you in a direction that will differentiate you from other clubs who aren’t putting in this effort.  Finally, as I mentioned earlier, fundraising is not completely exclusive from these marketing efforts and you’ll notice a natural increase in club funds.

What hasn’t changed – keeping your mission and vision #1
The overshadowing governor in all of this is that you stay true to your vision.  This will be the thing that guides all of your marketing and fundraising decisions and you’ll want to keep it in mind every time you plan on moving ahead with a new sponsorship request, event, or collaboration.  The best part about this is that if you truly stay consistent and in line with your big picture goals, the community at large will see this in your carefully planned activities and be even more receptive to supporting you.

Youth Sports Trends That May Affect Your Club

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stats

Love sports stats?  How about some recent statistics that may have a bearing on what you can expect for your program in upcoming years?  Here are some rather interesting, shocking, or (at least for me) unexpected facts about youth sports that may guide how you run things in the future.

Youth Participation in sports dropped from 30.2% in 2008 to 26.6% in 2015 (Project Play)
Probably the most important trend to keep an eye on.  Participation in youth sport has, unfortunately, been dropping over the last decade.  The reason for this deserves a far more comprehensive analysis than I can provide here, but some factors include rising costs/decreasing income, the rise of e-sports, and pressure to specialize too early.  In fact, this CBC article describes how “most kids quit because they think they’re not good enough — a by-product, experts say, of the hyper-competitive environment that lords over most youth sports.
Implication: Along with doing as much as possible to lower the cost entry barrier to sports, parents and coaches should remember that youth sports should be mainly about the kids – make it fun for them and they’ll enjoy it, plain and simple.  There are many benefits to sports participation other than going pro or picking up a scholarship.

From 2014 to 2015, 43% of parents reported an increase in sports fees paid to schools (Forbes)

I’m willing to bet that this isn’t a huge shock to most parents out there.  The underlying problem here is that the cost of youth sports is rising.  If this trend continues, we will see less kids able to continue or even begin playing sports.
Implication: A stronger effort on fundraising and community interaction may be needed in your program.  You may need to have a fully dedicated marketing individual or team to work on ways to keep sponsors and new donors active with your club.

Multi-Sport Athletes have become less common (Project Play)

The average kid between the ages of 6 and 17 played less than 2 sports in 2015.  This is important as specialization can actually be harmful to the body.  A 2016 University of Wisconsin study of more than 1,000 athletes at 27 high schools found that 49 percent of specialized athletes sustained an injury, compared with only 23 percent of multisport athletes.
Implication: Again, sports should be about having fun, building team skills, and getting kids moving.  Do you remember playing 5, 6, or more sports throughout your childhood?  Allow your kids to enjoy their athletic activities and try new things.

About 27 percent of U.S. public high schools will not have any sports by the year 2020 if the current trends continue (CNBC).

From 2009-2011, $3.5 billion was cut from schools’ sports budgets.  The sports that we all enjoyed taking part in at school may dwindle away as we watch our Gen Z kids go through the public school system.
Implication: This is an issue centered more around public services funding than anything, but it’s important to note as it means you, as a parent, may have to put in a stronger effort to source out affordable sports programming in the community.  Or, perhaps you want to look into starting your own nonprofit sports organization.

Adolescents who play sports are eight times as likely to be active at age 24 as adolescents who do not play sports (Aspen Project).

It’s not all bad!  We just need to do our best to get kids moving and active.  The benefits of regular activity for our kids (and us) are seemingly endless.

Implication: Make sports affordable, make them enjoyable, and remember that your kids’ happiness is more important than your desire for them to be the best.

Youth Sports Hydration Guide

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Hydration

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things to remember when participating in sports or other athletic activities, and it’s even more important for children and adolescents. Dehydration not only leaves your child tired and listless on the field, but it can lead to more serious problems the longer he or she goes without water. Young people are at elevated risk for dehydration when the weather is hot. However, dehydration can strike anywhere and any time they are participating in strenuous physical activity and not replenishing their fluids with water or sports drinks.

Parents watching their kids play from the stands also should be watching for indicators that their children might be showing the first signs of dehydration, which include dry lips or tongues, sunken eyes, apathy or lethargy, irritability, dizziness and excessive fatigue. These are red flags that parents should pull their children aside and tell them to take a break to rest and rehydrate. Most children won’t take themselves out of the game due to embarrassment or a desire to keep playing, so parents have to be mindful of the warning signs. If left untreated, dehydration can lead to more-serious heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps and heatstroke.

Just as kids often are so eager to keep playing that they will ignore the warning signs of dehydration, most kids take the field without ever being properly hydrated to play sports in the first place. In fact, the majority of kids and adolescents who play youth sports are dehydrated when they start playing. To make sure your children are properly hydrated before, during and after their sporting events, consult the following chart, which also contains some helpful information that will make it easier for you to encourage your children to stay hydrated throughout the day. Keeping your children hydrated while they play is the best way to ensure they can continue to give it their all on the field.

Youth Sports Hydration Guide created by Cisco Athletic

Creating a not-for-profit youth sports organization

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TeamPages

There may a be a number of reasons you want to start your own not-for-profit youth organization.  Maybe there aren’t enough clubs in your area to service the number of local kids.  Perhaps the existing organizations are insufficient in quality and the community wants other options.  Or it’s just your love of sports and helping youths achieve greatness that has driven you to want to create a new club.

Whatever the reason, I’ll leave you with some tips to getting started and hurdles you might run into while setting things up and jumping into your very first season!  Please note that although this is will be a great read before getting started, you should always check local bylaws and regulations and understand that there may be other risks not outlined here.  Always over-do your research to fully understand what you will be getting into before beginning such a huge project.  Check out the government sites for starting a not-for-profit organization in Canada or starting a not-for-profit organization in the US.

Initial Steps

Start by forming a discovery committee which will likely become the first Board of Directors.  Chances are you’re starting this as a result of a conversation with other like-minded parents who came together with a common goal, but if not you should find some people to help you in this.  You’ll want to start out by identifying what your goals are and why you’re trying to start this organization.  Create your vision and mission statement (check out this resource for a bit of help on this).

With your newly established team, get ready to research until you think you’ve covered everything you can – then research some more!  Some things you’ll want to look into:

  • Demographics – Are there enough families and children to justify starting a new club and to fill your rosters?  You’ll need to not only find out local census information but also survey if there’s enough interest in the sport among the available families.

  • Locations – This is something that many people overlook when making the decision to start a new club.  Even existing clubs run into this issue on a regular basis.  You’ll need to not only have an inventory of all the venues there are in the area, but you’ll usually need to secure permits to play and practice at them.  Coordinating with the permit issuer can be challenging, time-consuming, and you may be denied for various reasons.  Sometimes you’ll need to use creative channels to secure venue time (for example bypassing the municipal body that issues these permits and going directly to a school’s athletic director to use their fields and courts).

  • Affiliations – You will need to select a state/provincial affiliation to tie yourself to, especially when running travel teams.  This will be another application process to endure, however, typically there are vehicles in place and easy-to-fill online forms to make this process quick and painless.

BOD & Governance

You may have a large part of your board already established at this point (initial team), but you’ll still need to have a formal meeting to elect them and find some more people for other areas.  You should try to find people with experience in the role they’ll be filling, along with experience in (and a passion for) youth sports and youth development.  For example, having a treasurer with a background in accounting will be a huge asset in running a successful club.  You’ll need to make sure that everyone is willing to put in a large amount of work and share a common vision for the club.

Accountability will be very crucial when drafting up your organizational and BOD bylaws.  This is to deter any type of illegitimate/fraudulent activity among your club’s leadership.  As your membership base increases, so will the flow of cash through the club making it important that you set safeguards to prevent any theft.  Implement term limits so that members don’t remain in their position for too long.  Make all club information public so that full transparency can be established with its members.  Run background checks as well to reduce the likelihood that the board houses any potential threats.  To learn more about this and building trust in your club in general, check out an earlier article I wrote.

Additional Tasks

There are many other items to check off while going through this process, including:

  • Coaches/Officials – You’ll need to carefully source out and select coaches and refs.  You may want to search for local registries to find existing personnel, as well as use your membership base to search out parents internally who can commit to filling these roles.  Offer resources on courses to train people.

  • Volunteers – Create job lists and reach out to parents in initial postings online and offline.  Volunteers will be crucial as club funds will be extremely low in the beginning stages.

  • Liability Insurance – Many local jurisdictions mandate that your club has insurance in the case of accidents incurred during play/practice.

  • Uniforms/equipment – A large portion of your funds will be going to equipment and uniforms, and chances are you’ll need to run some initial fundraisers to help lower these costs to families.  The more expensive equipment is, the more kids will be unable to join.

  • Website/social media – Using the available web tools will be essential in communicating with families and getting info such as schedules and announcements to parents.

  • Marketing – Here are some tips from an earlier article I wrote on solidifying your position in the community as a leading organization.


As I mentioned, this list is far from exhaustive and should only serve as an initial starting off point.  From here you’re about to embark on an incredibly busy yet fulfilling new endeavor!  Hopefully, you’re able to use this to develop a solid foundation and put the infrastructure in place that will help the club remain successful year over year.

Game Day Nutrition Guide

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nutrition

There are many aspects involved in training for a sport. Mental and physical training are keys to development in any sport. While a lot of athletes focus mainly on physical training, nutrition tends to get left behind. Eating right is part of growing stronger and the same applies to the sport of hockey.

Hockey players are some of the best-conditioned athletes in the world. Yes, a lot of this comes from strength and conditioning. But exercise is nothing without a proper diet. Balanced meals help jump start your brain and allow you to have that mental edge on the ice. Eating a variety of foods gives you the different carbs, proteins, and fats you need in decision making as well.

One of the worst things you can do is eat large meals before games. Balanced meals that are easily digestible are recommended so that you don’t have an upset stomach during your time on the ice.

Another key to proper nutrition is staying hydrated. The game of hockey will take a lot out of you and it is important to stay hydrated during your shifts and even after the game is over. You will need to replenish the fluids that you lost during a game.

NHL players follow a certain regimen so that they are able to make smart plays and help their fellow teammates. Mental and physical training is important, but players should keep track of what they are consuming. If you want to play right, then you must eat and drink right.

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Hockey Team Nutrition from Pro Stock Hockey, a company that offers Pro Stock NHL
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