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How to Recruit Volunteer Coaches

It's vital that quality coaches are recruited to help ensure that every child in the program has a fun, safe and rewarding experience.

Season after season, youth sports administrators face the challenge of recruiting volunteers to coach. Not to add any pressure to that task, but your effectiveness at securing quality individuals will ultimately speak volumes about your organization's reputation - good or bad - within the community. Plus, it's vital that quality coaches are recruited to help ensure that every child in the program (regardless of age, skill or level of experience) has a fun, safe and rewarding experience. Here are ways to successfully persuade more moms and dads to grab that whistle and clipboard and take charge of your teams:

Take advantage of local media opportunities.

A news release announcing that your organization is seeking volunteer coaches for the upcoming season can be placed in newspapers in and around your community. These often are free of charge when printed in the events section. Another free form of advertising can be had by posting the need for coaches on your organization's web site.

Tap into area colleges and universities.

Reach out to local institutions of higher learning, particularly ones that offer recreation, sports management and youth development curriculums. Students in those programs are always looking for job-related experience and opportunities to network. Even though they may not have children of their own, college students often are among the best candidates to work with young people.

Provide coaching clinics.

One of the biggest reasons people don't volunteer to coach is fear of being unqualified to handle the responsibilities. No one wants to embarrass him- or herself, especially in front of both kids and fellow adults. Concerns about how best to teach fundamentals, organize a practice and manage a team on game day can be daunting, but a coaches' training program held at a recreation facility or ball field - or taken online - can help ease those fears.

Let them know they are appreciated.

Notify potential volunteers in advance that your organization will host an end-of-the-season coaches-appreciation night. Acknowledge their contributions and hand out gas cards or some other token of appreciation (which often can be donated by a sponsor). Small gestures can make big statements about how important and valued volunteers are to your programs.

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