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GUTS Training Brings SportsDog Results To Special Needs In Michigan

Best Practices, Press, Sports Community

GUTS stands for Ground Up Training System. But their website also claims, “and as you’ll quickly learn, GUTS also stands for results.”

Founded by brothers Paul and Todd Turner nearly three years ago, GUTS is a non-profit training program and center designed for everyone, but especially middle-school age kids. It is located in Ferndale, Michigan, just outside of Detroit.

The idea of Team GUTS came from both Paul and Todd. Their childhoods revolved around the sports calendar. The GUTS website boasts that “meals were planned around our sports schedule.”

For the past 13 years, the two brothers have extensive baseball resumes, both as coaches and volunteers for little leagues. They also helped start and currently organize the Titans Youth travel baseball team.

Todd’s daughter Amarissa, who recently celebrated her eighth birthday, was diagnosed with down syndrome and autism several years ago. Todd says that’s why they started GUTS three years ago.

“We realized corporate America is not the thing that we want to do. So, what do we enjoy doing? We enjoyed working with kids, so let’s open something for the kids,” Todd said. They decided to make special needs the focus.

“That was kind of the start of it. And then my daughter was kind of the push to say, ok, there’s nothing for these kids. So, our goal is to just get these kids moving and then hopefully when they’re older, it’s still something they’re doing,” he said.

Dr. Dale Ulrich of the University of Michigan serves on the GUTS advisory board. For over two decades, Dr. Ulrich has studied the positive effects of early physical activity of individuals with down syndrome.

According to the CDC, about 6,000 babies are born with down syndrome each year, which is about 1 in every 700 babies born. Autism prevalence has increased 10 fold over the last 40 years. Now, 1 in 68 American children are diagnosed with autism.
Children and adults with special needs are already at risk of decreased physical activity and fitness, but there still remains a lack of opportunities for them.

“They’re neglected,” Todd said. “There’s really nothing out there for these kids. Facilities are so hard to find. A lot of places are not really geared toward special needs. That doesn’t mean they’ll turn them away, but it’s definitely not their business model.”

Last year, GUTS opened up their own facilities after renting gym space for up to two years. The facility is the only one in Michigan that offers year-round fitness, sports, and training for special needs. People come from as far an hour away to get training and they’re even starting to get calls from Ohio.

“We offer several activities including martial arts, zumba, yoga, but then we also offer school programs like baseball, soccer, dance. We really want to offer a smorgasbord of activities to choose,” Todd said.

“Hopefully we get to the point of a second location, but we’re not in this for the money. If we wanted to be millionaires, we got into the wrong business,” he said.

“I think everybody knows somebody that has special needs- a family member, friend, acquaintance. We want everyone with special needs to have the same opportunities that everyone else has.”

LeagueApps was happy to donate to the GUTS Training cause for their SportsDog value of results. Click here to donate to watch Team GUTS video and donate to their cause.

Contact Todd Turner at todd@grounduptraining.com if you wish to be a sponsor or if you would like more information.

Using Program Summary Reporting to Grow Your Sports Organization

Feature Highlight, Product News, Value of LeagueApps

 

When you’re running several programs through your organization at a time, it can get overwhelming to keep up sometimes. We’ve made it easier by implementing a program summary feature in our software that includes a Top 20 programs dashboard.

Now, it’s simple to keep up with registrations, invoicing, deadlines, payments, and more. It’s basically a snapshot of all your programs so you can see how they are all performing in one view.

This type of raw, up-to-minute data is important when it comes to running your sports program. Having this information at your fingertips leads to more informed, data-driven decisions for your organization.

Lee Miller, Director of Elite Hoops Basketball, calls the Top 20 and Program Summary among his favorite LeagueApps sports software features.

“We’ve got anywhere up to 40 programs going on at one time. I have my program summary just sitting on the flat screen on my wall at all times. For me, to just come in and refresh that maybe once or twice throughout the day, it’s really convenient and super nice. I think it’s really something that helps us separate from competitors.”

Watch the video below on a short tutorial on running a Program Summary report.

Learn more about how to optimize Top Programs and Program Summary for your sports organization.

Drive Registration For Your Sports Program With the Small Group Feature

Best Practices, Feature Highlight, Product News, Rec, Value of LeagueApps

Written by Senior Sales Consultant Michael Bindelglass.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. “I would have signed up, but we didn’t have enough for a full team.”

Or maybe, “My best friend and I want to play together, but we don’t know if we will be put on the same team.”

Social and adult rec leagues can be made or broken based on finding enough teams to make it work.  It’s even more frustrating to know that there were several free agents ready to join, but weren’t able to form a team.  Small group registration as a whole can be the difference maker between retaining players or shutting a league down for the season.

Earlier this year we published a post about our new tool for small group registration. The key was to provide a more flexible solution to help answer one of the more common challenges in adult sports.

After speaking with over 5,000 organizers in the adult rec industry, it’s quite clear that successful adult leagues offer their players the ability to sign up with all different registration scenarios.  Everyone from free agents to team captains and players have their path to sign up. Now, convert a higher percentage of interested players with small group registration through LeagueApps!

Through this capability you can accomplish 3 key things:

1) Never turn away a group of interested players.

2) Easily combine groups of players to form super-teams!

3) Track your groups and communicate more effectively with them.

 

Dave Draizen of GoVavi likes the feature due to it’s simplicity.

“We use the small group feature and enjoy it. It is very helpful in tracking who wants to play with who without having to run reports.  It’s also helpful in keeping track of groups once they are added to teams.”

Dakota Curling, located in Burnsville, Minnesota, credits the Small Group feature with helping a drastic increase in registration after one weekend of using the feature.

According to President Darcy Ellarby, “We have a lot of couples or pairs of friends that play together, but they don’t have enough to form a team. It’s so great to be able to include them into our programs rather than exclude them and possibly lose out on their registration.”

Read more about implementing the Small Group feature in your program to increase growth.

To learn more about taking advantage of small group or any other features for your adult sports organization, feel free to reach out to me directly at 646-660-9410 or michael@leagueapps.com.

Mobile Registration is Here!

Feature Highlight, Press, Product News, Release Notes, Tech Specs

We’re happy to announce that we’ve rolled out a great new release — Mobile Registration.

Not only does this release provide a great registration experience on mobile phones for your members, it also transforms a number of other features in your member-facing sites to be completely mobile friendly.

Features Overview

Here is an overview of what’s included in this release:

Mobile Registration

Your members can now easily browse programs, register, submit payments, and manage their accounts from their phones.

  • Complete mobile registration and payment collection feature.
  • Includes the same features and program details as your full desktop website.
  • Secure SSL-encrypted payment checkout.

Mobile Site Theme & Homepage

When your members visit your LeagueApps-powered site on their phone, the layout automatically changes to use a specially-designed mobile theme that you can control. This mobile theme ensures that things look great and fit nicely on smaller screens of mobile phones.

You can customize your mobile theme colors and logo, as well as mobile specific homepage content, using new tools included in the manager console (described in our help article here).

Our Thoughts on Mobile

We shared some of our thinking and plans around mobile in this recent blog post LeagueApps Is Mobile-First. Here’s Why. Check this out to learn more about why this mobile release is great for your members, and for your organization.

What Else You Need to Know About This Release

We have crafted a full FAQ and How-To page that explains our mobile rollout plan and everything you need to know to fully utilize the feature: Mobile Site FAQs & How-to

A few important things to note:

  • 1) You don’t need to do anything to activate your mobile site. Unless you want to customize your theme, add a mobile logo, or add in custom homepage content, you don’t need to do anything. Your members will automatically get the updated content.
  • 2) Any color choices you have made in the color panel of the Theme Editor have been carried over to the mobile theme. But, we did not make any changes/updates to your mobile theme. if you want to make any changes, just visit the Theme Editor and on the Colors tab, feel free to change anything you want to. Note: this also will update the desktop templates. (read more tips on how to handle if you are using custom CSS).
  • 3) You can upload a mobile logo. Just visit the Theme Editor and on the Images tab, and you can upload a mobile logo, as well as a mobile app icon.

Have questions, feedback, or need help?

The LeagueApps Hoops Team Supports New England Basketball Tournaments Over The Weekend

Company News, Hoops, LeagueApps Team, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps

The LeagueApps Hoops team had a chance to spend some time at a couple New England basketball tournaments this past weekend.

Enterprise Sales Executive Michael Scott and Basketball Partnership Consultant Nick Sutedjo were at both the 3rd Annual Fall Hoops tourney hosted by our partners from ASA Hoops, as well as Zero Gravity’s NERR Northeast Hoop Festival. The two tournaments gave the LeagueApps Hoops team a great opportunity to reconnect with partners, forge new relationships, and be on-site to assist in any way they can.

“The New England basketball scene is a pretty tight knit community. Relationship building is extremely important. It was cool to see how many tournaments were being held by different people,” Nick said.

The ASA Tourney and ZG Hoop Festival are two of the most premier fall basketball events in the New England area. With hundreds in attendance at these tournaments, a lot of the hard-working organizers and volunteers sometimes need an extra hand. Michael Scott was eager to help set up on Saturday with ASA.

Tournaments and events like these are a great way for our partners to showcase their organizations. Both ASA Hoops and Zero Gravity received high praise from participants throughout the weekend and after.

“It was great to see that much organized basketball being played at the younger ages. It’s definitely different from when I was a kid growing up, when we just played pick-up in the park or for the church team,” Michael said.

He continued. “You can see the effect that an athlete like Steph Curry has on the younger kids by the amount of three pointers taken or 7-year-olds trying to do a euro step instead of just finishing with the left. My support guys out to the coaches trying to get these young kids just to learn the basic fundamentals.” Michael said.

Nick and Michael were on hand to see both partners Evolution (EVO) Hoops and Rise Above chalk up wins on an amazing 8 court facility in Hanover, dubbed “The U.” EVO actually took home three championships over the weekend!

As an added bonus, new partner Central Mass Swarm pulled out a W as well.

One of the highlights had to be when High Hoops Director Dean Hirtle invited Michael and Nick to help in skills training at The Hab. The young athletes of the High Hoops Elite Skills Clinic were more than happy to get some advice from the veteran basketball players.

Michael was happy to help teach the fundamentals.

Click here to find out how the LeagueApps Hoops team can support you at your next tournament or event. Or, call the number below to see how you can get started.

Team Esface Athletics Is Changing The Game of Youth Basketball

Best Practices, Company News, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps

October 2016 Partner SportsDog Award: Team Esface

SportsDog Value: Student of the Game

Award Winners: Oladele Sobomehin, Olatunde Sobomehin, and Carlos Villicana

Previous Winner: Rich Klares of Go Big Sports

Team Esface Athletics is changing the game of youth basketball.

Founded by brothers Oladele and Olatunde Sobomehin, Esface has evolved from a clothing company, to an entertainment and marketing agency, to now one of the most premier youth basketball programs on the West Coast.

Before that all started, Olatunde was the first walk-on to the Stanford Basketball program. He played under Mike Montgomery during the 2002-03 season and was voted Most Inspirational by his teammates.

After his playing days, Olatunde and his brother Oladele teamed up to start Esface. It started as a clothing company, evolved into an entertainment agency, and is now Team Esface Athletics and Basketball. The youth basketball program consists of skills development training programs, AAU teams, camps, clinics, and tournaments. They are based out of Palo Alto, California.

In the upcoming year, Team Esface will service between 800-1,000 youth basketball players throughout their programs. The staff is always looking to develop partnerships and learn more about how they can improve not just the skills of youth basketball players, but their quality of life as well.

One way they’re doing that is by teaming up with Lucid. Carlos Villicana, Director of Basketball Operations for Esface, explained a little more about the partnership.

“Lucid is a renown sports psychology company that trains a lot of NFL and NBA athletes. One of the ways we’re excited about working with them is how they can really help make our coaches more well-rounded. In turn, this will ensure our athletes are seeing development in the mind, which in turn will lead to on-the-court development.”

He continued. “You want to follow steps in coaching. Control your controllables- attitude, effort, and focus. It’s not about how many points or rebounds you record, but how you feel at the end of the game. That’s what we’re teaching.”

This fall they launched the ReaLeague, a fall basketball program dedicated to the development of the youth athlete through skills, IQ, style, and coach interaction. Carlos is excited about this new Bay Area community initiative.

“The ReaLeague consists of 300-400 young athletes that is based around the idea of attacking your weaknesses. First, we have the kid identify what his or her weaknesses are. Then, we create smart goals surrounding those weaknesses.”

Everything that Team Esface does is methodical. From creating amazing YouTube videos, to running off-season training camps, to implementing sports psychology in developmental leagues, everything the staff decides to do all comes back to their mission.

“Our mission is to develop athletes through the mind, the body, and the skill. It’s impossible to have the third without completely realizing the potential of the first two. That’s what makes Esface different,” Carlos said.

#stayhungry

A photo posted by Team Esface Basketball Academy (@teamesface) on

Esface’s ReaLeague has seen amazing feedback from both parents and athletes. Carlos understands the capability of the power of the mind and how it relates on the court.

“Kids are so afraid of failing or not meeting their goals that sometimes this can led to frustration. We have a saying here. ‘Failure is necessary to succeed.’ And one of our plays that we have for our mental strategy coaching is to get that through early and often.”

Carlos admits that it’s fun to see when that idea finally gets through to players. “When you see that risk and that breakthrough on the court, it’s just the most amazing feedback you can get from a visual standpoint.”

This holistic approach to basketball is rather new. However, it has seen Team Esface Athletics and Basketball rise to new heights.

“LeagueApps has been amazing over the past year. We’re spreading out to San Jose, the North Bay area, and some other locations as well. LeagueApps has been a big part of that.”

Carlos, Oladele and Olatunde have made a point to continue to learn from anyone on how to grow the game of basketball. True Students of the Game.

Contact the administrative staff if you have any questions for Team Esface.

5 Ways Sports Management Software Can Help Implement NBA and USA Basketball Guidelines [infographic]

Best Practices, Hoops, Sports Community

Basketball is the most popular youth sport in the country. In 2015-16, there were 9.8 million boys and girls that participated, according to the Sport and Fitness Industry Association.

Youth basketball remains strong in the country. However, there is historically been a lack of organizational structure at the grassroots level.

The NBA and USA Basketball have come together to develop the first-ever national guidelines for youth basketball. These guidelines have been developed by leading experts to promote player health and wellness, on-court skill development, and a lifelong love for the game of basketball.

LeagueApps endorses the NBA and USA Basketball’s healthy guidelines. With better sports management software and technology, basketball organizers can easily implement these guidelines and start securing the future of youth basketball. With easy-to-use communication, registration, and scheduling tools, more short- and long-term injuries of youth basketball players can be prevented, ensuring more life-long ball players and fans.

Here are 5 ways sports management software and technology can help implement the NBA and USA Basketball guidelines and decrease the number of injuries to youth athletes.

 

 

 

The One Thing All Lacrosse Coaches and Organizers Need To Do

Best Practices, Lax, Sports Community

Former Major League Lacrosse player Chris Rotelli has one major tip for all lacrosse coaches and organizers out there.

“You gotta be able to evolve, man.”

In 2003, Chris led his Virginia Cavaliers to the NCAA Championship while capturing the Tewaaraton Trophy as the nation’s top lacrosse player. He was also awarded the McLaughlin Award as the nation’s best midfielder, the ACC Player of the Year, and was a first team All-American. He has since been named to four MLL All-Star teams.

But if you ask Chris, it’s the work he is doing with ADVNC Lacrosse in northern California that he is most proud of. After starting other youth lacrosse initiatives to grow the game in the state, Chris founded ADVNC in 2012.

Chris and ADVNC joined with LeagueApps in early 2016.

He had “an itch” to move to California in 2004. Over the last 12 years, he has seen the game grow exponentially in the state. Now, there are much more players and they are much more talented. And like players from his home state of Rhode Island, California players have something to prove.

“It’s like we all have a chip on our shoulder,” he said.

Growing up in Rhode Island, I was always told that only people from Baltimore or Long Island got to play at the top programs. It’s the same here. When lacrosse programs think ‘hotbeds,’ they don’t think of California. The players love playing with that chip.

Aside from the overall growth in numbers, Chris has noticed that the game has changed in another way since his college days in 2003.

“The game has changed and evolved. Suddenly, you see a lot more picking, which looks a lot like basketball and indoor lacrosse.”

There was less of that when I played. Defenses are better. Teams are better. It’s way harder to beat someone one-on-one now so you have to use the team. Whereas 10 years ago you had one guy scoring all the goals, now you have a lot more guys that are capable. It really makes the game more fun as a fan, but a little more challenging for coaches.

Chris and ADVNC know what it takes to evolve. Since 2012, nearly 90% of all players that play through ADVNC have gone on to play at the college level. To put that in perspective, roughly 13% of all high school lacrosse players continue to play in college.

“We are constantly learning and evolving as the game has evolved. As we teach our players on how to improve, we ourselves have to improve and learn. We then teach our coaches these new drills and philosophies.”

Chris and his staff recently created the ADVNC Training System in order to create the ideal learning environment for young athletes. ATS consists of up-tempo practices designed to increase awareness, decision-making, athleticism, and overall enjoyment of the game.

“The game has changed a lot in the last five years. You gotta be able to evolve,” he said. “We’re pretty excited to evolve with LeagueApps as well!”

This Volleyball Club Has Figured Out How To Get Athletes To College At A High Rate

Press, Sports Community

During the 2014-15 academic school year, an estimated 6.2% of the 429,634 female high school volleyball players throughout the country went on to play volleyball at the college level. One in sixteen female volleyball players will go on to play at the collegiate level.

That year, sixteen females from the Carolina Union Volleyball Club committed to playing at the next level, good enough for nearly 30% of all their athletes that year. During a three year span, 43 of their female athletes have committed to play at the collegiate level.

And with the way our volleyball partners from Charlotte have been able to scale and grow over the last decade- they now consist of 30 teams that offer five levels of play in their own facilities- they will continue to be industry leaders in giving young athletes the opportunity to compete at a higher level.

John Brannon, Director of Carolina Union, says the secret is actually a lot easier said than done.

“It’s all about finding the right fit for the athletes,” he said. “There’s more to it than that, but the process all starts and ends with finding the right fit. What may work for one athlete, may not work for another.”

That “right fit” includes what is most important to the athlete, whether that be academic pursuits, athletics goals, or even campus life. John and his staff work with the kids to figure out what is best for them.

Congratulations to Maddie Grace Hough for committing to be a Carolina Tarheel!

A photo posted by Carolina Union Volleyball Club (@carolinauvc) on

As a former college and high school volleyball coach in the state, John has been able to form strong relationships with numerous collegiate coaches throughout the region and the nation. He’s also able to build relationships from scratch through another unique procedure: surrounding himself with smart people.

“I like being surrounded by smart people. It just makes the entire process so much easier than it needs to be.”

Those smart people are some of the most experienced volleyball coaches in the region. The Carolina Union coaching staff has combined over 40 years of collegiate coaching experience. Their connections and extensive knowledge of the recruiting side of the game is something that John considers “invaluable.”

Another good portion of those smart people are Union alumni themselves. According to Tara Spurgeon, Club Administrator and Travel Coordinator, five former players are now coaches themselves.

“We really are a family here. We treat each other like family because we are one big one,” Tara said.

The club’s Instagram account features several pictures of weddings, trips, marriage proposals, and newborns just entering the world. It’s almost like a digital family photo album.

We weren't kidding….this club is a big FAMILY!!! Congrats to Nic and Taylor!!

A photo posted by Carolina Union Volleyball Club (@carolinauvc) on

“From the moment they sign up, they will forever be a part of this family. I think that’s part of the reason a lot of the girls come back and help out whenever they can- whether it’s for one practice on their spring break or as a full time coach.”

Tara has seen Carolina Union grow at an incredible rate since she became a part of the program.

“When I joined [Carolina Union] in 2007, ’08, there were between six and eight teams. We shared facilities with a basketball program up until 2011. Now we’re at 30 teams, including a new boys team, as well as our own facilities.”

Tara understand the importance of technology in growing her program, but she also has a quick word of advice on growing your sports program.

“We have an amazing coaching staff, we have amazing people in the program, and we have amazing players. It really makes it easy when you have the right people so that things like growth and recruiting are really the by-product.”

That also means they work with the right people.

“My favorite part of LeagueApps is the staff. They’re always there to help me, no matter what I need, and at any time!”

Find the right fit. Surround yourself with smart people.

 

The Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership Benefit Proves That Impossible Is Nothing

Lax, Press, Sports Community

When you think of Harlem, one of the last things you think about is probably lacrosse. Get ready for that to change.

The Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership program is literally doing the impossible. And the program is showing no signs of slowing down.

Harlem Lacrosse’s mission is to empower the children who are most at risk for academic decline and dropout to rise above their challenges and reach their full potential. Harlem Lacrosse inspires children to dream about tomorrow while working hard on the field and in the classroom today.

In just five years, the program has expanded from one team of 20 students into 11 programs stretching across three cities, from Harlem to Boston to Baltimore, and now includes over 550 boys and girls. HLL students have maintained a 100% on-time middle-school graduation rate, have passed their classes at a rate 20% higher than that of their peers at their schools, and have earned over $15 million scholarship offers to independent schools and colleges.

Now we're really here! #harlemlacrosse2016benefit

A photo posted by Harlem Lacrosse (@harlemlacrosse) on

Vice President of Sales Cameron Goldberg and Enterprise Sales Executive Roy Kohli were lucky enough to attend last week’s HLL annual benefit. Suddenly, that event’s ticket is harder to get than a Yankees box row seat.

The event attracted some top names in sport, including ESPN Anchor and Master of Ceremonies Lisa Kerney, Mike Jones, the Thompson Brothers, and several of the top lacrosse coaches on the East Coast.

“To see the things they’ve been able to accomplish, not just on the field but off as well, in such a short time is truly inspirational,” Cameron said.

On the field, the HLL program is attracting top Major League Lacrosse talent like Drew Snider. Off the field, the HLL students are some of the top students in their class. The below graphic shows that since 2013, HLL students are in the top of their class in the four core subjects.

Read the full impact report on the Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership program.

The LeagueApps team is excited to see just how far the Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership program can go in another five years.

 

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