Five Ideas for Recruiting Volunteer Coaches

Posted by: Ben Reed

Have you ever had to leave this voicemail?

Good evening, parents! We have a record number of players for your child’s age division this year! However, we still need a few coaches to fill every team.  Please call back if you are interested.

Female Y coach talking to four kids on a soccer field.

The success of many youth sports leagues is rooted in its volunteer coaches. But for some organizations, like the Y, recruitment can be a seasonal and recurring challenge. If you’re new to the game or seeking inspiration, here are five fresh ideas for recruiting volunteer coaches to help your players reach their full potential:

  1. Appeal to the league's parents

    The majority of youth sports coaches are parents or caregivers. Yet, many leagues do not actively seek out parents to volunteer or they only offer one option: The head coach role, which typically is an option on the registration form. Incorporate all volunteer opportunities on registrations, websites, posters and emails, especially an option for an assistant coach. Emphasize the resources your league will offer to these volunteers (especially ones who have never coached before), such as coaching clinics, online videos and practice plans to make their job easier.

  2. Consider former coaches

    Many parents or caregivers coach only while their children are involved in the Y. These kids eventually outgrow the youth league, and the knowledge and dedication their moms and dads may have brought to coaching leave with them. Through your registration process, you should still have email addresses and phone numbers of these parents; don’t hesitate to get in touch with them and see if they are interested in returning. You may find some empty nesters who loved their time coaching and will jump at the chance to make an impact again.

  3. Search for alumni

    Similarly, if your league has been established for many years, it will have many former players who fondly remember their time on the field, court or ice. These alums may not have kids of their own, but are willing to be a head or assistant coach.

  4. Don't forget grandparents

    Parents might not have the time to coach, but grandparents may—particularly if they are recently retired or once coached long ago. This offers active grandparents a wonderful opportunity to spend time with their grandkids while allowing them to apply their experience and knowledge to a new generation of sports enthusiasts.

  5. Spread the word to nearby colleges

    College campuses may provide a good pool of candidates that kids can relate to on a different level than they would with parent coaches. Check with local college teams, student union clubs and Greek life organizations. In many cases, college students are seeking volunteer opportunities for their resume or to enhance a career aspiration. Consider designating older students as assistant coaches if you don’t think they are ready for the entire responsibilities.

Looking for more tips and support?

Recruiting volunteers is a vital step in creating an excellent youth sports program. Have more ideas? Share them with me on Twitter. Good luck in your recruitment efforts!

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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.