On The Road With LeagueApps: 2018 NFCA National Convention
To truly understand the youth sports landscape, you need to be out in the field listening to those living these sports on a daily basis. As convention season hits its stride, we’ve been racking up the frequent flyer miles in the hopes of connecting with the most enterprising and inspirational youth sports organizers and stakeholders around the country. To that end, the LeagueApps’ team headed to Chicago last week for the softball event of the year. The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) National Convention, known simply as “convention,” brought youth and college coaches, players, organizers, and tournament operators together for an unprecedented celebration of the game. The four-day event was chock full of spotlight presentations, networking and professional development opportunities, and an impressive collection of entrepreneurs introducing their products to the softball community.
The NFCA has come leaps and bounds in its 35 years of existence. In 1983, the organization supported just 40 members. Fast-forward to today and the NFCA supports over 5,500 organizations from all 50 states and nine countries overseas. The NFCA’s annual convention aims to aid as many of its members as possible with robust educational offerings. Topics ranged from coaching tactics and techniques to college recruitment and player safety. The NFCA packages these topics in a variety of ways and tailors their content so that it is relatable for veteran members and first-time attendees alike.
We were fortunate enough to speak with most of the attendees at the event last week. As softball continues to expand, it remains clear that the sport’s greatest strength lies in its tight-knit community. The convention facilitated the sharing of ideas and best practices in an open and honest manner, demonstrating the softball community’s desire to grow the game the right way. ESPN’s Holly Rowe was one of the convention’s keynote speakers and she echoed the sentiment of being a great teammate. Whether you’re trying to win on the field, attempting to grow your organization or the game itself, relying on the community and giving back to the community is the way to get there.
Great start to the @NFCA Convention! Great message about the growth of our game and our responsibility with it! Holly Rowe hit one out of the park with the keynote! Showing up with passion and purpose – you will be rewarded! #nfcaplayball pic.twitter.com/AzGNajrvh1
— Amanda Reckamp (@CoachReckamp) December 6, 2018
One of the common themes throughout the convention and on the exhibitor floor was the role technology will play in the growth of the game. From the latest apparel and equipment trends to smart tech geared towards player performance and safety, the influence of spirited sports-centric entrepreneurs cannot be overstated. Just as baseball has embraced advanced analytics over the past decade, so too has softball. We left the Windy City confident that the future of the game is good hands with the NFCA serving as a guiding light for the community.