The volunteers who help make it all happen
| 4 min read
Never coach alone — that’s a MOJO mantra. Anyone who has volunteered to coach rec league youth sports knows this is no time to be too proud to ask for help.
Dan Keller, a.k.a. Dugout Captain, is a youth baseball coach of more than 20 years, who has also stepped up to coach youth soccer, flag football and basketball for his own kids. Keller follows this bit of wisdom, stolen from a fellow baseball coach: Do not leave your first team meeting without two assistant coaches, a team admin, and a scorekeeper.
In other words, don’t start your season without your A-team in place.
Your #2 in all things at practice and at games. An assistant coach can step in if and when you are incapacitated. She or he can run stations in baseball or softball, or set up additional fields or activities so no child is left waiting in a line. Anyone who has coached before knows that bored kids in long lines are your worst enemy.
Time commitment: Practices and games during the season. Late-night venting session as needed. Two (or more) is better than one.
First and foremost: Don’t limit yourself to the moms on the team. That’s archaic. Any adult who’s handy with an app or who has a taste for Excel can help run point on logistics — like where and when to practice, where and when the games are, where to park for out-of-the-way games, etc. etc. Depending on the nature of your team or league, the team parent (or admin) can help look for opportunities to enter tournaments, or help schedule other team events. This is your right hand. Thank them publicly and profusely. If you’re nice, they’ll help wrangle the coach gift at the end of the season.
Time commitment: Pre-season prep and then 20-30 minutes of comms and organizing each week.
VP of Snack
It’s no secret: Kids live for snack. And providing snack, as a parent, can be its own competitive sport. The VP of Snack not only manages the weekly schedule and the inevitable swapping of dates, they know who’s allergic to what and which items aren’t allowed on the court or at the field.
Time commitment: Pre-season prep and then ~ 20 minutes weekly.
Secretary of Scorekeeping
In baseball, it’s required — someone has to keep the stats and track pitch count (a responsible parent or the assistant coach). But in other sports, and especially in rec leagues, it’s usually less formal. If you want an accurate picture at the end of the season, assign the scorekeeper role — per game or per season, your choice.
Time commitment: Game day(s).
President of the FanZone
Someone needs to have their phone out for the highlight reel, but everyone expects someone else will do it. To get the full story of the season make sure there is always a responsible party tracking each assist or steal or cartwheel on the back line.
Time commitment: Game day(s).
Pizza Party Commissioner
It’s what everyone looks forward to all season. This person has one job — and that’s to throw a killer party.
Time commitment: Varies from making one reservation to throwing the equivalent of a small wedding for a dozen players and their families.
Many leagues recruit volunteer referees, umpires and officials right from the parent pool. After all, they’re already there at the field or the court every week. They’re already watching. These volunteers make it so that everyone else can play, so treat them with the respect and awe you’d normally reserve for celebrities.
Time commitment: Training, certification, game day(s).