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How 3 Entrepreneurs Convinced an NBA Star to Invest in LeagueApps

Company News, Hoops, Press, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps
Credit: Wikimedia/Keith Allison

Credit: Wikimedia/Keith Allison

Shane Battier And Why He Started With LeagueApps

This story appears in both the January 2017 edition of Entrepreneur magazine and online at entrepreneur.com. You can read the full article here.

In February 2015, Shane Battier attended a dinner for sports-tech companies, hosted by the professional development company Gerson Lehrman Group. He especially loved meeting Jeremy Goldberg, the president of LeagueApps, which makes tools to manage youth sports leagues. The two bonded over how poorly run those leagues are — Battier has two kids, so he knows — and they kept in touch after.

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MLL All Star Ned Crotty Wants to Host a Clinic For Your Lacrosse Program

Company News, Lax, Sports Community, Value of LeagueApps
Credit: Sarah Michaels / Pretty Instant

Credit: Sarah Michaels / Pretty Instant

It’s not every day that one of the top lacrosse players in the world offers to host a free clinic at your lacrosse program’s location. But that’s just want LeagueApps Director of Lacrosse Ned Crotty wants to do.

Starting today, you can enter for a chance to have Ned Crotty host an official one day clinic for your participants. That means that one of the game’s superstars will fly out to your location, teach your players his skills and recruiting tips, and set aside time for photo-ops and questions. And it’s all free.

The contest runs through January 22nd to coincide with this year’s US Lacrosse Convention. The winner will be announced on Thursday, January 26th.

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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!

The Jr. NBA Wants To Give Your Youth Basketball Program A $1,000 Under Armour Gift Card

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

Jr. NBA Program of the Month

If your youth basketball program is focused on growing the game of basketball through sportsmanship, fundamentals, and team work, then you deserve free marketing and Under Armour apparel and equipment for it. Now you actually can, thanks to a new initiative launched by the Jr. NBA to recognize dedicated organizers like you.

The Program of the Month presented by Under Armour will reward you and your basketball program with a $1,000 Under Armour gift card, a live workshop for coaches, parents, or league administrators from our friends at the Positive Coaching Alliance, and will be featured on the Jr. NBA’s social media platforms and website.

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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.

ebookblog

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.

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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

LeagueApps Finalizes Stellar 2016 Free Agent Class With Three Superstars

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

Ned Crotty, Alison Edell, and Chris Motley Finalize 2016 Class

An Interview With Ned Crotty, Alison Edell, and Chris Motley

Now that the free agency season is coming to a grinding halt, LeagueApps has had a chance to catch its collective breath. In striking succession, the startup based out of Union Square in New York City was able to recruit and sign three highly touted big-name players to the LeagueApps team.

Ned Crotty, Allison Edell, and Chris Motley, three of the top available superstars on the market, have all signed with LeagueApps, topping the 2016 recruiting class. Each will be directing the lacrosse, softball, and soccer partnership teams, respectively.

The additions remind sports organizers everywhere of the NBA’s versions of three headed monsters, such as the 2008-09 Boston Celtics (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen) or 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers (LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love).

This move is sure to bring even more value to sports organizers everywhere from the LeagueApps team.

CEO Brian Litvack had this to say about the additions:

“We’re excited to welcome Ali, Ned and Chris to the LeagueApps team. They share many of our core values and are already displaying the passion to help our partners create great sports experiences in their communities. Plus, all three are great athletes that will help our intramural teams!”

“When free agency begins, the phone won’t stop ringing with all the agents pitching us.  But we had our eyes set on our targets, and went out and got them.  We’re excited to welcome them on the team,” President Jeremy Goldberg said.

We had a chance to sit down and talk with the three stars from this year’s top-ranked recruiting class.

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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.

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