Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Here’s How To Volunteer To Help Your Child’s Athletic Endeavors

If you’re looking for ways to help improve your child’s athletic organization, trust me when I say plenty of opportunities exist.

Most youth sports leagues are struggling to identify enough help to meet the needs of the children enrolled in the programs. I know the baseball, football and basketball leagues in which my sons are involved are consistently looking for “fresh blood”. Here’s are some tips about how to get involved.

Just volunteer to coach! Coaching doesn’t require a deep knowledge of the sport for which you are volunteering. If you’re organized and you’re equipped to communicate effectively with children and their parents, you are pretty well-qualified. All leagues are generally in need of head coaches and assistant coaches.

If you’re uncomfortable coaching alone or you don’t feel you have enough knowledge of the sport, identify the parent of a friend of one of your children to work with you. Chances are these types of parents may have older children for whom they have coached in the past. I learned a great deal from a parent of one of my son’s friends during my first two years of baseball coaching. He had an older son he had coached in years past and was a tremendous mentor to me.

So, if coaching doesn’t appeal to you, contact the head coach of your child’s team and ask how you might be able to help in other ways. Every team of children enjoys treats after the game – why not volunteer to organize the other parents to bring treats following each practice and/or game? Ask the coach if he needs help preparing the field prior to a game. This is very common in baseball and in football, volunteers are always needed to “run the chains.” You could also ask the coach if he would like to have a video from the game. Coaches like to use video from games as a method of instruction. Or what about keeping stats? Coaches love parents who volunteer to keep stats as a means of measuring progress. There are countless ways to help your child’s team – just raise your hand and volunteer!

If your child’s league has a governing board, volunteer to serve on it. These leagues are always looking for help from volunteer board members; particularly in professional areas like accounting or law. Inquire with the president of the board as to how you can get involved.

Here are the website addresses for some of the more popular youth sports organizations in the West Des Moines area – the Holiday Park Baseball Club, West Des Moines Little Pro Youth Football League and West Des Moines Soccer Club –, and

By getting more involved in your child’s sports league, you’ll learn more about how the organization operates and be in a better position to help your child make the most of the experience!