Year-round engagement can really pay off
| 3 min read
When it comes to off-season communication, Martie Wynn has big dreams and lots of great ideas.
But she’s also a realist.
As president of San Jose National Little League, Wynn knows off-season communication can be challenging. “Once you’re done with a season, everybody’s kind of burnt out,” says Wynn.
Little League, like most youth sports, is run solely by volunteers. They’re the ones who make anything happen — in-season or otherwise. To make it worth the effort, “you have to really prioritize,” says Wynn.
Here are some of Wynn’s best plays for off-season communication.
In an ideal world, communication from a league to their families would be year-round. Why? For starters, retention. “If you have that continued communication, you could immediately be recruiting for fall ball,” says Wynn. Keeping families engaged after the championship game helps bring them back the next year.
Another key reason for year-round communication—the kids. Making sure kids stay active in the off-season is important for their development. Off-season communication can inspire players to maintain their skills, instead of taking two steps backward every summer.
Reaching out to families at the end of the season is an easy way to learn what worked and what didn’t. Feedback from a survey can help prep for the following year and shape what you might want to focus on in the off-season.
Providing helpful information is a sure way to engage families. Little League International, for example, puts out “The Parent Connection,” a monthly newsletter. “I think it’s a great tool,” says Wynn. “But everybody’s inundated with emails.”
Instead, she recommends brief, engaging content—something on Instagram or a text blast. Think: Simple tips for how to keep kids active, what taking a break during the off-season should look like, even simple reminders, like Don’t forget to watch the World Series, says Wynn.
Sometimes you need to do more than just communicate. Offering clinics during the off-season is a great way to keep families involved and kids moving. Try for one a month, if possible. Focus on a different skill each time. Wynn says any kind of clinic is valuable in the off-season.
Think of off-season communication as a way to connect with the community you’ve already built. It can be as simple as sharing stories from the season, says Wynn.
But, like in-person clinics, consider other activities that bring your team together. It doesn’t have to be all skill drills, all the time. Wynn suggests trying different things to keep kids excited and continue to build team bonds—a hit-a-thon or summer baseball fest. Even a weekly pickup game of any kind is easy to pull together—and good family fun.