Youth sports have taken over the weekends of parents across the country. Travel, new equipment, and club fees makes those weekends anything but cheap. While some see the rising cost of youth sports as a money grab; others see the benefits from being a part of a professional organization. The growing number of youth athletes has caused the youth sports world to be professionalized in every facet, offering parents, players, and clubs unique solutions, but at a premium.
According to the most recent JVA Club Financial Survey nearly 35% of junior volleyball clubs own or lease their own facility, meaning they are invested in providing programs to train and develop volleyball athletes year round.
Many clubs are operating as professional businesses by offering:
- educated and certified coaching staff
- upscale facilities
- personal training
- physical therapy and wellness services
- and in-depth performance analysis
In addition to elite facilities, skilled coaches, and world class tournaments, clubs must elevate the experience for the consumer to maintain their club at the highest level. But unfortunately finding and adopting new technology is time consuming. Every season there is a new gadget, product, or service that might give your athletes or your club the edge. These technologies are designed to give your athletes a competitive advantage or make life easier for youth sports parents, but it comes at a cost.
Thankfully the growing professionalization of the youth sports industry has resulted in several innovations designed specifically for youth athletes, and the parents that support them.
Here are 6 software solutions that clubs are taking advantage of:
Performance Analysis has been used by Professional sports such as the MLB and the NFL to measure and track hundreds of data points to see exactly where an athlete needs to improve. Youth sports have adopted this with services like TeamGenius – allowing coaches and parents to track the development and progression of the athletes through the process of clear, analytical player evaluations.
Artificial Intelligence Videography is the newest development in sports videography, and it has been brought to youth sports with force. Filming every second of every game has been next to impossible until recent years. Companies such as HUDL offer video cameras that automatically track the game, create highlights, and upload the game immediately for parents and players to see. Any parent or coach can be the cameraman now. Set up, click start, and enjoy the game.
Insurance for sports fees has become a necessity in recent years with more and more parents placing their athlete in expensive or elite training programs. Sports Fee Insurance by US Sports Clubs Insurance reimburses parents and/or pays the club directly, for the time an athlete can’t play or refunds the team directly when weather cancels an event. With club sport fees increasing annually – USSCI insures the financial investment that is being made into youth sports.
Accessible online fundraising opportunities have made it easy to earn money for your team or for your family by simply taking orders or making purchases that directly give a percentage back to your team or your family. A free funding app called FlipGive allows an individual to create a team, invite the parents, other family members, and earn money every time you shop online from over 700 brands for groceries, gas, takeout, equipment and more.
Communication and cohesiveness between parents, coaches and athletes are key to club culture and retention of members and staff. Clubs are utilizing programs such as A Better Way Athletics for parents and coaches that takes them through a course focused on creating a positive sport experience. Clubs can view course progress and award course completion.
Navigating the complex NCAA eligibility rules and college fit can be overwhelming, but a new platform is helping clubs and families make navigating academic eligibility for college sports simple. Honest Game transforms high school transcripts and test scores into a trusted college athletic compliance report. Coaches and families get a clear picture of academic eligibility status, are able to set goals to gain and maintain eligibility to determine their best college fit.
The growth of junior volleyball has paved way for growing competition. This pattern has given rise to technology, training, and services clubs offer that give the athletes an extra edge to win the game, or protect the investments that are being made into this process. It can be overwhelming for clubs to decide how much to offer, when to hold off, and when to pull the trigger on a new offering or software. Do the research, ask for testimonials, and take advantage of the JVA Mentor Program and JVA Staff to help guide you into this season.
About the Author
This article was a collaboration between Jennifer Pivnick, President of USSCI and Briana Schunzel, JVA Director of Marketing and Education.