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The 3 Reasons The American Baseball Coaches Association Convention Proves Your Program Will Change In 2017

Best Practices, Company News, Dugout, FastPitch, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps
Photo Credit: ABCA

Photo Credit: ABCA

Since 1945, the American Baseball Coaches Association has held meetings every year with the NCAA with the idea that college baseball needed organization and direction. What started as a 29 man convention has spawned to an 8,000 member association spanning 20 countries.

This year’s convention was held in Anaheim, California from January 5th-8th. More than 4,500 coaches and 300 exhibiting companies made the 73rd annual ABCA Convention the largest ever on the West Coast.

LeagueApps was lucky enough to be a part of the annual tradition this year as CEO Brian Litvack and Director of Enterprise Sales Rohit Kohli were on site with some off the game’s industry leaders.

As the game continues to evolve, different aspects of the youth baseball industry are also changing. It’s important to recognize some of the trends happening in the game. Here are the three reasons the ABCA Convention proved the game and your baseball program will change in 2017.


Technology Is Taking Over

It’s clear now more than ever that technology is changing every part of the game. Everything from tracking a pitcher’s release to gauging bat speed or torque is being monitored. Companies like Diamond Kinetics and HitTrax are paving the way for coaches and directors to analyze all details of a player’s swing.

“The baseball world has completely changed,” Rohit said. “Without a doubt, Diamond Kinetics and HitTrax were the biggest draws at the event. Everything revolves around tracking efficiencies for recruiting more so than ever.”

With all this technology and data, kids are able to receive their scores faster. They are then able to assess how they stack up with everyone else. Tweaks such as lowering their hands on the bat or raising their release on the mound are now easier than ever before.

“It’s almost like these companies are gamifying baseball for the kids,” Rohit said. “Like a video game, kids get instant results and make changes right then and there to get better.”

The 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Getting Recruited To Play College Baseball


Programs Are Getting More Specialized

From pitching camps in Texas to hitting instructors in New York to catching schools in California, there seems to be no shortage of specialized training. And the market seems to be expanding.

Across the country, facilities are being built for this very reason. Having a field is no longer necessary. Instead, program directors and organizers can use technology to open a camp focused on players’ bat speed.

LeagueApps partners from Ohio, Sports Force Parks, is one example of facilities built on specialization. Located near Cedar Point Amusement Park, they specialize in hosting tournaments for all skill levels. However, they maximize their growth through a niche market in youth sports tourism. By marketing one special asset of what they offer, Sports Force Parks has grown from hosting tournaments into one of the premier players in the youth baseball industry.

Custom Gloves at the ABCA

It’s not just programs or facilities that are specializing. Equipment is being altered every day to optimize a certain part of a player’s game. There’s a science behind how specialized hats can help prevent concussions. Gloves are being built everyday to conform to a player’s tendencies at shortstop or centerfield.

With the addition of technology and improving software, these evolutions are leading to more and more specialized players. The result is personalized pitching coaches and clinics for infielders on turning double plays.

As long as kids want to be the best and play for the best, there will always be a market for specialized camps.

Baseball Organizers Cannot Miss These Conventions

The biggest and most important takeaway is also perhaps the most simple. You have to go to these youth baseball related events.

Aside from the possibility of meeting Tommy Lasorda or Bobby Valentine, conventions and events like the ABCA allow for not only an excellent opportunity for other youth baseball leaders to network, but the potential to grow your program through a 3 or 4 day event is enormous.

That fact is not lost on Rohit.

“All the big name sponsors are here,” he said. “Every organization is here to capitalize on how to grow their youth baseball business in 2017.”

Big names like Rawlings, Easton, and EvoShield, to name a few, have a heavy presence at these events. Just as college teams are looking for partnerships with these baseball goliaths, youth clubs and teams are finding more ways than ever to get sponsorships.

With over 4,500 college coaches and recruiters at the event, baseball directors and organizers are keen on getting the inside track on how to get their players recruited for college.

“Being on site just gives these program directors a competitive advantage in understanding what college coaches are looking for. Sure, the opportunity for sponsorships and technological advances are here. But the real advantage is in knowing how to get your kids recruited,” said Rohit.

If a baseball director is looking to grow their program in 2017, start by attending these events.


Going to to the Mohegan Sun Convention? Sign up to win a FREE customized Fungo Bat!

How A Hall of Famer Is Delivering Great Experiences To His Youth Baseball Programs

Best Practices, Dugout, FastPitch, FC, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps
Via CoachUp Inc/coachup.com

Via CoachUp Inc/coachup.com

January 2017 Partner SportsDog Award: Dirt Dawg Sports

SportsDog Value: Grit

Award Winner: Alex Santiago

Previous Winner: Team Esface Basketball

Alex Santiago’s baseball resume is quite long.

  • Catcher of the 1982 Puerto Rico Big League Team World Champions
  • 18 years in the Puerto Rico Semi Pro Baseball League
  • Three Puerto Rican Semi-Pro Championships (1989-’91)
  • Eight All Star Selections
  • Manager, Puerto Rico National Big League Team
  • Manager of the Year, 2009
  • Silver Medal w/Women’s National Team in 2009 Pan-American Baseball Tournament
  • Inducted to Carolina (his hometown) Hall of Fame of Sports in 2013
  • Inducted to Puerto Rico Semi-Pro Baseball League Hall of Fame in 2009
  • Oldest Son of Former Red Sox Great Jose Santiago

Since 2012, Alex has been manager, instructor, and trainer of Dirt Dawgs Sports. He also serves as the program’s Information Officer.

Based out of Canton, Massachusetts, Dirt Dawg Sports is a premier baseball and softball training facility offering year-round indoor and outdoor top-notch professional baseball and softball instruction. Their mission is to work with all players to instill, cultivate, and nurture the love and passion that they have for the game.

“Dirt Dawgs is like a family,” Alex said. “You’re not just another customer. You’re treated like family. We are an all year round facility so you’re always welcome. We offer soccer, softball, we sponsor a cricket team. So everyone is welcome.”

Alex moved from Puerto Rico to the Boston area four years ago. He has been involved with all levels of baseball since he was eight years old. He even began his managerial career at the age of twelve while he was playing on the Puerto Rican teams.

He also comes from a great baseball family.

“I don’t like to brag about it, but if I don’t mention it my father will be mad. I am the oldest son of former Red Sox pitcher Jose Santiago, who pitched the first game of the World Series versus St Louis Cardinals’ Bob Gibson and lost 2-1 that game. The only run for the Red Sox was a homerun he hit over the Green Monster.”

In 2012, he took advantage of the opportunity to continue a career in baseball at the youth level. What started as a trainer and coaching position evolved into taking over duties as the program’s information officer.

“We were doing a lot of things manually. And almost everything was done separately. So, I tried to consolidate everything.”

Holiday Champions 2017 Coupal and his 16 Gold

A photo posted by Dirt Dawg Sports (@dirtdawgsports) on

With his background as a website designer and a “lit bit of programming,” Alex gave a lot of his time to install account packages such as QuickBooks and analyze several Excel spreadsheets.

“When I ran into LeagueApps and saw the product for the first time, I was really, really satisfied. It eliminated so much manual stuff we were doing like a lot of paperwork, a lot of forms, and spreadsheets,” he said.

“We weren’t even collecting any payments online.” All registrations were done on paper.

Within two months, all of the Dirt Dawgs’ 21 club teams were conducting 100% of their transactions online. His efforts to deliver the best service possible to his clients and the Dirt Dawgs family is just but one reason why he is held in such high regard.

Discover the  technology that helps power the Dirt Dawgs’ 21 club teams by seeing a free demo.

It’s with that grit, determination, effort, and hard work that Alex is able to deliver amazing experiences to his program’s players, parents, and members.

“Alex is the best! Not only does he spend his time training young baseball players, but he is always looking for new ways to take advantage of all the features offered. He even answered my call and got in front of a computer with me while he was on his vacation,” Launch Manager Stephanie Vera said.

He believes in having an open line of communication with all of his players and members of the Dirt Dawg family. Parents around the Boston area flock to Alex and the Dirt Dawgs so that their kids will become better players and more importantly, better people.

Alex lives by the advice he gives to all sports organizers and anyone who has a drive to succeed in their youth sports business.

“You have to comply on what you offer to your clients.”

Thanks to Alex’s grit and determination, he and the amazing staff of Dirt Dawg Sports are geared for a wildly successful 2017 of delivering excellent service and experiences to their clients.

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What I Learned From the American Volleyball Coaches Association Convention

Best Practices, Company News, LeagueApps In Action, LeagueApps Team, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps
Credit: Columbus.carpediem.cd

Credit: Columbus.carpediem.cd

An Interview With LeagueApps Director of Volleyball Michael Scott

Last week, some of the top names in the game of volleyball attended the annual AVCA Convention. This year, the convention was held in Columbus, Ohio.

Also in attendance this year was LeagueApps’ very own Michael Scott, the company’s resident Director of Volleyball. We had a chance to sit down with him while he served up a few pieces of advice on the AVCA, the future of the game, how volleyball directors can reach a new market, and that oh-so-beautiful late December Columbus weather.

Read the interview below.

(more…)

Major League Lacrosse Star Ned Crotty On Why Playing Multiple Sports Will Help You Get Recruited

Best Practices, Lax, LeagueApps Team, Sports Community
Credit: Sarah Michaels / Pretty Instant

Credit: Sarah Michaels / Pretty Instant

This Post Written By Rochester Rattlers Attacker And LeagueApps Director of Lacrosse Ned Crotty

“Play multiple sports.” Something almost all youth athletes are told, often times directly from college coaches themselves, and yet most players and parents today ignore the advice. Coaches aren’t just wasting their breath—the advice is based on a common thread among almost all great lacrosse players.

In short, playing multiple sports makes you a better athlete, and ultimately a better lacrosse player. But it’s more than that. Whatever the sport is you’re choosing to play, care about it, work really hard at it, and don’t look at it as a secondary sport.

The key is not trying to do it all at once. These days, athletes play other sports to stay in shape for lacrosse, but if you’re not focused on the sport at hand, are you really going to get better? Is it going to make you a better athlete?

One of the great things about lacrosse is that there are so many similarities with other sports – basketball, football, soccer, hockey, etc. As a professional athlete, coach, and someone with several years of experience in the sports industry, I’ve often attributed my success in lacrosse to my years playing hockey. In hockey, you have to constantly play with your head up, make quick decisions and develop soft hands – all critical skills to my development as an athlete, and I wouldn’t have become the versatile player I am today without those experiences.

Want to talk to Ned about your lacrosse program? You can! He is opening up his calendar for lacrosse organizers like you. Learn more.

Are college coaches speaking out of both sides of their mouth when they say this? Arguably, yes. Coaches say that they want multi-sport athletes, yet they’re recruiting at events year round, causing players and parents to anxiously assume that they’re going to miss out on that one opportunity to be noticed if they skip a recruiting event or two.

Ironically, that couldn’t be further from the truth. And I’ve heard this first hand from coaches. In fact, you’d be surprised how many coaches like getting an email from a player saying they’re unable to make a recruiting event because they have a HS football game. It’s actually a good sign about a player, and shows commitment.

Another pro tip: In that same email, attach a highlight of your football season up to that point. While it may feel strange, coaches love watching their recruits play other sports.ften times, it can give them a better idea of the player’s athleticism and instincts.

There’s a saying that “you recruit what you can’t teach,” and the truth is you can’t teach athletic instincts. Back when I was going through the recruiting process, schools that were recruiting me for lacrosse used to come and watch me play hockey. I remember one coach in particular telling me he liked watching the recruits who played hockey because he could quickly figure out whether or not they were tough. “You can’t hide in the boards” he said.

 

Credit: Jim Rogash / Getty Images

Credit: Jim Rogash / Getty Images

My love for lacrosse is undeniable – but I think it’s important for young lacrosse players to know the consequences of limiting their athletics to only one sport. If lacrosse is your only focus, you’re missing out on the chance to become the best player that you can be.

Adding another sport to the mix will not only make you a better athlete and lacrosse player, it will also help you appreciate the game even more. It’s healthy to take a step away from the game for a little bit, similar to how it’s important for adults to take vacations away from their jobs. If anything, it will allow you to miss the sport and have more appreciation for your next time on the field holding a stick.

And remember, college lacrosse coaches get excited about well-rounded athletes. They would even tell you to engage in different sports while you can, because come college enrollment time, they’ll want lacrosse to be your sole focus.

Read professional baseball player Tyler Wood’s 5 tips on recruiting.

ebookblog

 

The 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Getting Recruited To Play College Baseball

Best Practices, Dugout, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps

Tyler Wood Locker

This Post Written By LeagueApps Baseball Partner Representative Tyler Wood

I’ve been through the college recruiting process before and it’s stressful. I was once an aspiring high school pitcher looking to play college baseball. I had the opportunity to pitch at Furman University and go on to play professionally in the San Diego Padres organization. There is no magic formula to getting a scholarship, but here are five things I wish I knew when I was a high school baseball player.

 

Put Together a Realistic List of Schools

There are many things to account for when looking for a great school to play for: geography, academics, coaches, campus lifestyle. Put together a list of schools you are confident you will achieve academically and athletically. If you struggle academically, you won’t be allowed to play and if you struggle to get on the field you won’t enjoy your time off the field.

 

Don’t Post Without Your Grandma’s Approval

Be smart. I’m sure you’ve heard this from your parents, teachers and baseball coaches but take it from a 25-year-old who has seen lives get ruined from one dumb post. BE SMART about what you post on social media! If you don’t think college coaches are looking at your Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you’re lying to yourself.

 

Be Honest With Your Ability

This one might sting, but not all of you reading this are going to play Division 1 and let me be super clear, that is ok! If you want to continue playing this beautiful game of baseball after high school, there are plenty of opportunities. I’ve played with some very talented players that have gone on to have wildly successful careers at the Division 2 and NAIA levels. I would rather be a weekend starter on a Division 2 team than a bench warmer on a D1 team.

Tyler Pitching
 

Go To A Place Where You Are Wanted

This one really hits home for me (pun definitely intended). I am from St. Louis and I wanted to go to the University of Missouri more than any other school on my list. I emailed them so many times I should have received a restraining order filed. They saw me throw in 28 innings and I only gave up 2 runs! 2 runs!

Throughout this entire process, the coaches at Furman University stayed persistent and continued to make me feel like Furman was the place for me. Turns out it was the place. I was a four-year starter and went on to play professionally. Moral of the story is go to a school where the coaches make you feel like you are wanted.

 

Make The Most Of Your Time Playing

News flash: you will stop playing the game of baseball at some point, no matter how talented you are. There are hundreds of games I don’t remember playing. I have no idea what my stats as a junior in high school were. But I will never forget the friendships I gained over my career. Baseball is temporary but those friendships last a lifetime!

This is likely one of the biggest decision you will be making in your young life but it’s exciting! Do your research, make your campus visits and make the decision that fits all of your needs as a future student-athlete!

You can reach Tyler at tyler@leagueapps.com for more recruiting tips for your baseball program. And be sure to check out his other tips on his blog The TWood Shop.

ebookblog

Four Reasons LeagueApps Is Excited For Our Holiday Hackathon

Best Practices, Company News, LeagueApps In Action, Product News, Value of LeagueApps

dedicated hosting reviews

Nothing says Happy Holidays like a good old fashioned hackathon! At least, that’s what the LeagueApps development team is saying.

Next week, the LeagueApps team will be participating in their annual hackathon. These events have been valued as a source of creativity, innovation, and collaboration.

To get a sense of a LeagueApps hackathon, watch the above video to see our summer “LeagueAppathon” in 2014.

The core concept of a hackathon resides in the root word “hack,” which essentially means a clever solution to a tricky problem. Here’s the easiest explanation of a hackathon that we found from the people at SendGrid.

At LeagueApps, these projects we tackle during hackathons can be an engineering challenge like processing data at scale, an innovative product idea that makes sports organizing even easier, or a crammed brainstorm session that tackles what websites will look like in the future.

But no matter what the project, the spirit of hackathons remains the same – try something new and walk away having learned a valuable lesson, even if you didn’t accomplish your goal.

With that in mind, here are four reasons why this year’s holiday hackathon will make LeagueApps a better company.

We Will Learn Something

Athletes have tournaments. Developers have hackathons. No matter what happens, we will learn something.

“This is a great way to solve a problem or research new technologies,” Director of Product Management Gautam Chowdhry said.

Teamwork On A Grand Scale

From the development team in the DC office to the Union Square headquarters in NYC, everyone will have a role to fill that will make LeagueApps a better company for our partners. That includes brainstorming tasks for mobile apps and WordPress widgets, to writing personal holiday cards to our partners.

“I’m pretty excited to share my holiday limerick with our partners,” Senior Launch Coach Emily Mumford exclaimed.

LeagueAppathon Javie and Belt

It’ll Be Fun, But Competitive

In honor of the development team hitting their 2016 goals by creating great features and products every four weeks, they’ll be pitted against each other in a project battle royale.

The dev team will be split into three teams. Each team will have a SportsDog theme to their team goals and names.

Team Openness will brainstorm around optimizing WordPress widgets with our open API so sports organizers can deliver even juicier content to their members. The Results Squad will be in charge of developing a high-level scoreboard for the company that displays live metrics- a sort of running scoreboard. Our Students of the Game team will research and lay the groundwork for mobile apps.

You Can Join Us!

Got a great idea for 2017? Want to know more about the product? Let us know! We will be sharing live videos and photos all day Monday, December 19th, and we want to hear your thoughts!

So be sure to like us on Facebook to contribute to our live feeds and follow our Instagram account so you can have access to all the behind the scenes photos we will be sharing. Use #HolidayHack.

See you on Monday!

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How to Start, Scale, and Grow a Youth Sports Training Program [video]

Best Practices, Dugout, FC, Hoops, Lax, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps

Former Johns Hopkins University, National Lacrosse League, and current Major League Lacrosse player Mike “Pop” Poppleton is the founder of All-American Faceoff (AAFO). Founded in 2015, the goal of AAFO is not only to teach athletes how to dominate at the faceoff X, but to instill skills that will help the players succeed in the classroom and in life.

AAFO has scaled up tremendously over the last year, growing from one specialized training program, to a now bi-coastal enterprise that is looking to focus on different aspects of lacrosse training.  Currently, Pop is looking for quality draw and goalie coaches/directors.

Pop was in town recently for the Paul Rabil Foundation fundraising event in NYC and decided to kick it with a few of his friends and partners at LeagueApps.

In fact, when he walked into the LeagueApps office last week, he made himself right at home! You’ll see that he enjoyed some of our funky hats laying around the office…

ebookblog

We were lucky enough to be able to pick Pop’s brain a little bit and get some advice for other youth sports entrepreneurs and organizers. There’s really no one better to give sound advice to sports organizers on starting a youth training program, especially for a niche or specific role program.

In part one above, Pop gives some great tips on starting a niche or specific youth training program, the importance of technology, scaling, and properly using social media to expand a training program’s reach.

In part two below, watch what drove Pop to start AAFO, some of the challenges he faced, and why he says “sixth graders in Tennessee” could beat him.

Four Easy Rules For Running a Successful Tournament or Event From a Leading Expert

Best Practices, Dugout, FC, Hoops, Lax, Sports Community

How difficult is it to run a successful tournament? What is the most important thing about choosing a venue for your next event?

Running a great tournament or event ensures that your participants will return to your sports programs. They are also more likely to refer your program to others and help drive registration.

We reached out to our partners from NXT Sports to get some insight in running a great tournament. Based out of Philadelphia, NXT Sports has been delivering some of the best tournaments on the East Coast since 2009. What started as a youth lacrosse club, NXT Sports now offers amazing experiences for youth athletes in the sports of soccer, field hockey, and basketball.

In this article, you’ll learn tips from Ryan Long, Director of Events for NXT Sports, on how to run a successful tournament for your sports programs.

Safety Is The Top Priority

Everything revolves around player safety.

“Our number one goal is to keep players and kids safe at all events,” Ryan said “Honestly, that should be the number one goal of all sports organizations.”

To do this, NXT employs trainers to be on-site at all times, not just for tournaments. During practices, tournaments, and games, there is one trainer for every two playing fields.

One initiative that Ryan and NXT is proud of is its safety initiative. Through a combination of full-time trainers, quality training of coaches and staff, as well as a partnership with the Datalys Center, NXT is at the forefront of youth sports injury research.

“Everyone on our medical staff keeps a binder at all times. We keep track of all injuries at all times, whether that be at practices, touraments, or other events. We then forward that information to the Datalys Center for proper research,” Ryan said.

To learn more secrets in how leading experts in the sports industry like Ryan are successfully growing their sports programs, download this FREE eBook today!

Location, Location, Location

“It’s one thing to have a great venue, but if it’s in the middle of nowhere, then no one will want to come back next year,” Ryan said.

One of Ryan’s main tips is to always remember that tournaments and events consist of not just the players and coaches, but of the families and friends of all participants. With that in mind, be sure to choose a venue that will offer off-the-field activities as well.

“It’s not just about the on-the-field experience. Make sure there are plenty of activities and things to do. When families come to Philadelphia, we make sure that we inform everyone of all the great things to do in this city, like visiting the Liberty Bell for instance. When we host beach events, we want to know where the go-karts and mini-golf venues are so that we can tell parents that in advance,” Ryan said.

Stay Organized

Parents want stability when they visit these events. Everything from having the correct schedule, to communication, to being able to register participants should as as smooth as possible.

“It’s so easy to be able to organize effectively with LeagueApps. Parents want organization. If you think about it, they’re on vacation when they visit our events. The fact that we’re able to easily organize everything gives them the opportunity to enjoy a no-hassle vacation,” Ryan said.

He continued. “There’s a lot of companies that will kind of start up and flounder because they’re not organized. Get organized with LeagueApps.”

Stay True To What You Do Best

One common theme shared by several of our partners, such as Lee Miller of Elite Hoops or Carlos Villicana of Team Esface, is to stay true to yourself and your mission.

Ryan shares a similar thought. “Stay true to what you do best. Learn the things you do well and build off of that.”

After you stick to what you know best, then you can make the step to a multi-sport event. When you do, Ryan gives this tip as well.

“Just stick to what you do and what you do best. Use that blue print for the other sports and make the minor adjustments that are necessary. Stay true to what you do best.”

 

 

3 Tips On How To Run A Successful Basketball Camp

Best Practices, Hoops, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps

What goes into creating a solid basketball camp? How do you create a great experience for your participants so they can return to your program(s)?

There’s no one better to give some insight into running a great camp than Lee Miller, Director of Nike Elite Hoops Basketball. Lee founded Elite Hoops Basketball in the summer of 2004. That summer, he bought 300 shirts, rented three gyms, and wanted 100 kids at each facility.

“Only 29 kids showed up. I was left with 271 tee shirts,” he said. Now, he hosts 56 Nike camps across eight states over 11 weeks, and with over 3600 players.

He’s giving three quick tips on how to run a successful basketball camp.

Have a Checklist, or a “Rider”

Whatever the size and wherever the venue, Lee says that following a checklist, or “rider” is pivotal.

“We have, for lack of a better word, sort of our own rider. We have a similar schedule for getting each and every camp up and running,” he said. This scripted rider is the same for every camp, whether it be 100 players or a massive holiday invitational.

The rider includes everything. That means time must be spent emailing parents to confirm dates and directions of travel. Rosters should be all updated and segmented down to each individual group. And creating a publishing schedule on social media, like Instagram or YouTube.

The checklist also ensures somewhat simple tasks aren’t forgotten, such as washing all the jerseys, making sure all the balls are pumped up and the courts are all lined for drills. There’s also a staff meeting schedule so that coaches and staff are all lined up on the same page.

 

Perfect Your Model

“It’s so important to stay small until you’ve perfected your model,” he said. “It’s so crucial in the short and long-term success of your business.”

That was the first lesson Lee learned in that 2004 camp. Before his 271 extra tee-shirt camp, he was integral in working with and helping coach several camps with the University of Georgia. He figured he could host a similar camp without having to worry about spreading the word. In other words, he had not yet perfected his model.

“One example of the way we’re perfecting our model now is through coaching. We won’t let coaches give private workouts until they’re 100% ready. We make sure they are able to get whatever drill they coach, running, energy, whatever, up and running each camp before we feel confident in having them run their own workouts.”

 

Be True To Who You Are

Are you a defensive coach or an offensive coach? Are you high energy or more methodical?

“Don’t try to be someone you’re not,” Lee said.

“As an offensive coach, don’t try to teach drills at a camp to improve a player’s defense. One, you’re not doing the kids any help. And two, you’re not going to get players and parents to keep coming through the door.”

Stick true to who you are and what you do best.

Lee also understands the importance of technology in being able to run so many camps and programs at one time.

“In 2004, we had to market a lot with flyers and letters. Now, there are so many more resources with technology. Social media, for instance. So it’s easier than when I started to get the word out.”

Technology and sports software is also the reason he is able to keep up with over 3600 kids registered for his camps. With LeagueApps, Lee is able to easily streamline all of his camps and programs’ registrants into one easy-to-use tool.

“These LeagueApps features are perfect for me and what I want to do with my business,” he said.

“I have my program summary just sitting on the flat screen on my wall at all times. I think it’s really something that helps us separate from competitors.”

 

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.

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