7 ways to treat youth sports volunteers

By Janis Meredith | Posted 3/26/2018

Youth sports can't exist without volunteers. You may not want to hear this, but if your child plays a sport, you should find a way to help out.

Perhaps you're the team parent in charge of recruiting volunteers. If so, here are a few ideas that might make volunteer management a bit easier:

1. Communicate: Don’t make people read your mind. Provide schedules and sign-up sheets to make a volunteer’s job as easy as possible.

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Are you the parent of a youth, middle school or high school football player who’s looking for more tips or resources? Check out our Parent Guide, Parents 101 course, nutritious recipes and more.

2. Be orderly: If you're organized, others will benefit from it. There's nothing more frustrating than volunteering for someone who's scatter-brained.

3. Be flexible: Be sensitive to families. As volunteers ask, work with their schedules and be flexible if the unexpected keeps them from showing up as planned.

4. Be grateful: Saying "thank you" will help bring volunteers back. They give time and money to help, but your gratitude will be sufficient payback.

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5. Give training: Don’t assume volunteers know how to do the job. Take time to show them the ropes.

6. Take what they can give: Gratefully take whatever help a parent can provide. With everyone pitching in, the job will get done. Give parents choices so they can select an area they really enjoy.

7. Call: Sometimes you get better results when you make a personal phone call to parents who've not yet signed up to help the team. Ask pleasantly. The direct approach is harder to refuse.

When you can make volunteering a pleasant and user-friendly experience, you'll most likely find parents are eager and willing to help. You need them, and most are willing to assist when the process is pleasant and they feel they're really helping the team.

Janis B. Meredith is a life coach for sports parents. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Learn more about how she can help parents have Less Stress and More Fun in Youth Sports.

This is an updated version of a blog that originally published April 17, 2017.