How Three Youth Sports Leaders Led Their Organizations Through the Pandemic: Recapping our Discussion with ProSkills, NJ Colonials, and HEADstrong Lacrosse
This week, the LeagueApps team gathered in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania for our 20th OTAs. OTAs (Organized Team Activities) are a time for team-building, a space to reflect on and reconnect to our values, and a chance to recommit to our mission — helping organizers create amazing sports experiences for parents, players, and coaches.
It’s been a while since we got to spend time with our partners in person. So we invited three of them (Tom Sinnot, Director of Sports Operations at HEADstrong Lacrosse, Callie Smith, Director of Hockey Operations at NJ Colonials, and Logan Kosmalski, Director of Pro Skills Basketball) to safely participate in a panel designed to give our employees an inside look into the day-to-day life of the people we support every day. Team members were able to ask questions about how these partners use our product and engage with our community — and explore ways in which we can improve our platform to better serve their needs.
Read on to find out what we learned from the OTA20 partner panel.
- Organizing looked a little different over the last eighteen months.
To kick off the session, our panelists shared the ways in which they pivoted during the pandemic to keep programming alive and keep their members engaged. Tom Sinnot of HEADstrong Lacrosse shared how his organization reevaluated their health and safety procedures — since keeping kids safe has always been their #1 priority. Logan Kosmalski of Pro Skills Basketball explained that his organization leveraged virtual training to keep members engaged and connected to the community through Famer (a virtual training platform available in the LeagueApps integration center). Callie Smith of the NJ Colonials talked about how the pandemic helped her sharpen her member management skills–particularly communicating with parents and players in a productive way.
- But, LeagueApps made things a little easier.
“LeagueApps is our trusted partner and they proved it during COVID. We knew we could try new programming and get registration up on our website quickly (and get paid quickly!).” Logan Kosmalski shared this positive feedback with the audience when asked how LeagueApps helped his organization continue to run during the pandemic. Our other panelists echoed this sentiment — pointing to the flexible nature of our platform and the exceptional customer service that backs it up.
- Like any good team, we can always get better.
Panelists were given space to share feedback with our team: providing ideas for future products and features and sharing thoughts on their members’ experiences. They each shared that parents increasingly do everything on their phones, and pointed to the importance of a powerful app. It was great to get this real-time feedback from the people that use our product every single day. Our engineering, customer success, and product teams left the session with valuable takeaways (and a long to do list!).
- Our community is a valuable resource for organizers.
All three of our panelists have attended NextUp — our youth sports industry conference. Organized by LeagueApps, NextUp is the only conference designed to provide youth sports leaders with opportunities for professional development and networking. They described how NextUp has helped them make connections and form partnerships with other leaders in their sport — and in other sports! “It was great to meet people working in other sports and adopt some of their strategies that we hadn’t thought of at our own organization,” said Tom Sinnot.
Callie Smith of NJ Colonials Hockey talked about her experience at a recent Women’s Leadership Roundtable. She described how eye-opening it was to hear from other female leaders in sport — particularly young female leaders with fresh ideas — and how great it was to have a place where she could discuss the challenges of being a female organizer in a predominantly male-dominated industry.
Being a student-of-the-game is a core LeagueApps value. We are constantly looking for new ways to improve — and new ways to provide value to our partners through our product or community. Since our customer success managers are the people who get the most face-time with our customers, it was great to host a session in which our entire team could connect with our partners face-to-face, hear their feedback directly, and ask questions about how they can use their specific skill set to improve the partner experience. The partner panel is a core part of the LeagueApps OTA agenda and it’s here to stay.