Price Increases Hit Youth Sports Management Software Market

Price Increases Hit Youth Sports Management Software Market

Within the Youth Sports Club Management software market, price increases from one particular provider are sending League Board Members and Club Directors racing for alternatives. As a result, SquadFusion has enjoyed a substantial increase in requests about our software's capabilities and prices. What happened behind the scenes to cause all of this frantic activity in the Youth Sports industry?

If you're not the customer, what are you?

Who hasn't enjoyed “free” services on the internet? Google, YouTube, and Facebook each have a billion users taking advantage of their “free” email, video, and social media services. The internet has hundreds of articles explaining those business models – that you’re not really the customer, you’re the product. It's common knowledge that Google, YouTube, and Facebook earn billions in advertising revenue by targeting you with deep knowledge about your demographics, behaviors, preferences, and intentions. Those revenues are paying for the "free" email, video, and social media services. Rather than "free," a more accurate term might be "subsidized."

There are other ulterior motives besides selling targeted advertising at you. Other business models subsidize the price of a system to allow a sister company, or parent company, to sell you other stuff – sporting uniforms, equipment, and supplies. Building targeted marketing databases can be an expensive and time-consuming task. One shortcut might be to buy a software company that sells to the exact target market that you want to reach providing immediate access to the contacts that you want to sell all of your sports-related items. What happens when the software division gets sold and the new corporate owner has a completely different business model that has zero interest in subsidizing the price? Price increases on aisle 8.

What if this new owner expects the Sports Club Management Software division to earn a profit without any advertising revenues or athletic apparel revenues? Without subsidies, will they need to implement price increases to make a profit? Will this new business model require several price increases over the next few years? Are you going to receive more product features for these higher prices? What about better customer service? All of these questions are the root cause of why Sports Clubs are scrambling for management software alternatives.

What if we can't afford price increases?

At SquadFusion, we've built a software business to help Sports Clubs and Leagues manage their registrations, online payments, and communications. Our business model is not some kind of trojan horse with hidden motives. SquadFusion doesn't sell your members' personal information through an advertising business model. We offer the industry’s best-in-class Sports League Management Software at a competitive price.

If your club has been frustrated by recent price increases and/or declining customer service with your Sports League Management software, we invite you to learn more about us at

Communications Improvements to Reduce Youth Athlete "Retirement"

Communications Improvements to Reduce Youth Athlete “Retirement”

There are numerous articles posted across the internet discussing the unfortunate reality of kids quitting youth sports. Many of these articles share the reasons driving those “retirements” – the primary culprit is that it’s not fun anymore. Youth athletes receive pressure-filled communications from self, teammates, parents, family, and coaches. Early retirement decisions are also linked to cyber-bullying, recurring injuries, or specialization in one sport. Youth athletes also experience changing focus around high school from social life, and for some, intense academic preparation for college.

The purpose of this article is not to debate which valid culprit is more prevalent or does more harm. The purpose of this post is to discuss solutions – culture and communications. How to create positive behavior environments where kids have such an enjoyable experience, they're excited to play again the next season.

The secrets to a positive behavior culture

I enjoyed 15 years coaching my two daughters on competitive travel teams at Mustang Soccer. As a coach, one of the most educational experiences was participating in the Positive Coaching Alliance's "Double-Goal Coach" seminar. Each year, Mustang would invite PCA in to teach a Coaches seminar explaining poor behavior challenges and their root causes. The entire Coaching staff was provided with new communications techniques to help us be better coaches. A separate seminar series was organized for parents addressing communications with their child athlete. Looking at the bigger picture and reframing some of the challenges in youth sports was an eye-opener. PCA offers excellent programs, more information is available on their website:

While I would imagine all Boards of Directors are committed to creating a positive behavior culture, do they appoint a leader dedicated to that particular outcome? Are they partnering with industry leaders to educate the various constituent groups on positive behavior standards? Does leadership offer communications about positive behavior on a consistent basis? Is the club's community regularly challenged to live up to those standards? Has the Board developed a more formalized Code of Conduct? Is that policy, and consequences for violations, clearly communicated during registration, team kick-off meetings, and throughout the season?

Lessons learned improving club communications

One of the key challenges that Club Presidents, General Managers, or Executive Directors share with us is regarding communications. We understand the difficult challenge of broadcasting the right message out to the right group in a timely fashion. Not just once, but consistently over the course of a season without overwhelming the audience. How do you best juggle training and game communications with positive behavior standards, codes of conduct agreements, and education sessions? Are you missing opportunities to shape culture when someone goes above and beyond the positive behavior call of duty?

At SquadFusion, communications is a keystone of our League/Club Management solution. Clearly and consistently communicating behavior goals is critical to creating a positive club culture, customer experiences, and returning athletes. We strive for seasons when youth athletes had so much fun, 100% are excited about playing again next season. If your club has challenges re-registering youth athletes, we invite you to explore new tools that will improve communications with your members. More information about our communications platform is available at

Simplify Sports League Registration

Simplify Sports League Registration

SquadFusion’s mission to build a powerful yet easy to use League/Club Sports Administration solution has two fundamental goals: simplify Sports League Registration, Payments, Website, and Communications, and reduce system administration time so that you can attend to other important activities like coaching teams or growing your business. Consistent with our mission, SquadFusion has worked with our customer community to develop significant features and functionality that simplify Sports League Registration processes consequently reducing your system administration time commitment. We are pleased to share information on a select subset that might help your organization.

Cloning” – SquadFusion supports the ability to “Clone” a past Registration to significantly simplify Sports League Registration set-up. By quickly Cloning a successful past Registration, setup time is reduced to making minor adjustments like fee changes, early-bird discount dates, etc.

Installment Payment Plan Flexibility
· Installments can be calculated on a percentage % basis in addition to the flat dollar amount calculation method.
· Additionally, Installment plans can be established by End Date, letting the system automatically calculate the number of payments and periodic payment amount.
· Lastly, the first Installment payment can be set to a future date, rather than immediately.
These Installment Payment Plan options can reduce time spent manually adjusting member payment plans, or managing communications with members negotiating their financial constraints.

Screenshot - Simplify Sports League Registration with easy Installment Payment Plans
Easy Installment Payment Plan setup

Register on Behalf of Member – Administrators need the ability to complete Registration on behalf of Members, whether over the phone, at a Service Kiosk/Window, or during onsite events. Administrators have the flexibility to complete that Registration ensuring Member satisfaction and confirming payment.

Appointments Directly Booked – For Coaches or Trainers needing to book personal sessions with their players, or book particular courts/fields for special practices, scrimmages, etc., Appointments can be booked directly against designated calendars eliminating the time required for Administrators to personally manage those logistics.

Squad Level Links – lastly, squad/team specific links can be published allowing Coaches to invite their players to register directly to a team thereby eliminating the time required by Administrators to Roster registered players onto a specific team.

Screenshot - Simplify Sports League Registration through Squad/Team level links
Squad/Team Level links Simplify Sports League Registration

We hope your organization can take advantage of these features to simplify Sports League Registration duties and reduce system administration time to focus on your truly strategic and important projects. Or maybe even spend a little more time with friends and family over the holidays.

Wishing you and your Squad(s) a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Youth Sports' Influences

Youth Sports’ Influences

A viral video has surfaced recently, where in a little league baseball game, a catcher throws to third base, and clearly said something to get thrown out of the game after not getting a favorable call. The manner in which he left the field caught the eye of many, something I won’t recount or share here. Its safe to say a referee is one of the toughest professions to have, considering the constant and borderline endless criticism they face, but this conduct is definitely not acceptable. This got me to think about the influences on youth sports.

Where did this come from?

A quick concession, one incident that went viral isn’t a reflection of the entire system or of all kids. Another concession, social media has drawn more attention to the negative aspects of society as a whole, let alone a kid acting out towards a ref who is universally criticized. However, its no secret this increased attention and scrutiny has changed the way we all act.

The NBA is known for many things, but some of the biggest storylines have to do with scenes like in the images below:

Draymond Green arguing with a ref
A man known for his conduct with refs, Draymond Green sets an example for kids. Link
NBA refereeing reactions
Fans haven’t stayed out either. Link

In baseball, some of the most popular “highlights” are of scenes of players getting thrown out or managers coming out and getting thrown out after yelling at referees. Take the video I mentioned above for example, all the times it has come up, you never see what the reaction of the coaches was to the young man, just the disrespectful action. Controversy, ridiculousness, and negativity are what sell these days.

Player ejections in baseball, may transfer to youth sports
A common scene players looking like they are about to fight a ref. Link
Manager Ejection in Baseball

Youth Sports and the Pros

Not to harp on player conduct with refs, but you can’t doubt the influence star athletes have on kids. Kids mimic professional players in youth sports all the time. In basketball, we see kids wearing the newest shoes by their favorite player, shooting sleeves, and jersey numbers in honor of professionals. This is a mere observation, but is it such a leap to think that their conduct will rub off on kids?

It is unreasonable to expect grown men and women to not let the emotions of their livelihood impact their conduct. Emotions are always high, especially at the highest levels of sports. The only noteworthy point, is how susceptible kids are to what the pros do.

This brings to light, the importance of parents and coaches in the development of youth sports and young athletes. It is safe to say, conduct like the conduct of the young man towards the referee is completely disrespectful. Its not like the referee will change their decision based on your reaction right?

The Main Point…

The nature of society today is that the negative and the controversial get the most attention. It is up to parents, coaches, role models, to emphasize the right ways to do things. Respecting opponents, treating referees with respect, and playing to the best of your ability, are habits that need to be practiced. It is always said that kids are impressionable, and while it is harsh to point this out, the pros and media aren’t putting forth the best of examples.

The Long-Term Impacts of Youth Sports Participation

The Long-Term Impacts of Youth Sports Participation

In the current climate of school, tests, and college prep, youth sports amongst other activities have taken a back seat. Youth sports are seen as a distraction to the educational grind in some families. Increasing in communities nationwide amongst kids and adults alike is the level of competition for opportunities. Parents, justifiably, have been enrolling kids in various educational classes and standardized test prep classes. Education is the highest priority for kids, as it should be, but there is a need for youth sports.

My former teachers always recommended doing some type of school related work during the summer, because the time away leads to a loss of focus and practice in what is taught in school. This time off forces teachers to spend a majority of time early in the school year to review time. On the part of students, coming back to school becomes rough because the demands of adjusting to a routine of going to school.

Youth sports is the fact that youth sports give kids exposure to skills that greatly help in school. According to an article on, college admission officials heavily consider time management skills, as well as the ability to set and work towards achieving goals, as big plusses in an application. The qualities are instilled while participating in and continuing with youth sports.

basketball league management software - youth sports

Image source linked here.

The Intangibles

Apart from time management, other benefits of team sports exist that aren’t talked about as much. As pointed out in, (University of Missouri) team sports at any level require effective communication, teamwork, and problem solving. Especially true during tough situations during games to try and pull out a win. Becoming better in a sport requires the interest in learning, repetition for practice and improvement, and adaptation to various game conditions. Awareness and adaptability are hard to teach, but youth sports are a unique place to practice those skills. The application of these skills are greatly valuable in future jobs, college admissions, and picking up new concepts in school.

Getting exposed to team sports as a child gives more time to pick up skills like these and put them into habit. This can correlate to success in school. More importantly, especially at the youth level, seeing your hard work yield results or positive individual performance can reinforce the idea that hard work can pay off. A consequence of this can be higher self-esteem and a familiarity with this feeling that can greatly help in incentivizing putting in effort in school.

baseball league management software

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Real World Benefits of Youth Sports

It is widely pointed out that exercising is a great way to ease tension and stress. In my own life, I used workouts I learned as a kid. The habits I developed while playing youth sports paid dividends in my ability to adapt and cope with my homesickness during college in a different part of the country. An added benefit was that playing sports was a great way to meet new people, and take your mind off things.

Apart from adapting to tough situations, former student athletes tend to display more leadership characteristics and self-confidence. This creates a better chance to have an impact in a working environment, according to a Cornell professors study highlighted in It was also found that former student athletes tend to earn higher salaries. The National Federation of State High School Associations ( highlights that students who participate in athletics tend to perform better academically than peers who don’t participate in athletic activities. They specifically highlight school attendance, time on homework, and educational aspirations. They also point out how participation in multiple sports greatly benefits kids especially as they are developing physically and educationally. Building on that, some theories highlighted above return. Participation in extracurricular activities, especially sports, are linked to better cognitive functioning.

Some Data

Their follow up study showed that students who participate in two sports have higher GPA’s than those that only play one sport, and the same goes for those that participate in three over two and one. This also applies to graduation rates according to the study by NFHS. Those participating in three, two, or one sport graduate at a higher rate than on athletes. A study conducted at Northwest Missouri University show that the mean GPA for athletes was 3.25, while for non-athletes was 3.01, and the median was 3.35 vs 3.15. While GPA isn’t the only measure of success, it is one that colleges analyze.

All in all, participating in sports from a young age has more benefits than meet the eye. Getting exposure to skills that translate to college and beyond is a great benefit. The opportunity to put those skills into practice and turn them into habits is a substantially beneficial one. Creating good habits at a young age means more time to see the rewards of those habits. More time also makes it harder and harder to lose those habits as well. As they say, old habits die hard. Actively engaging in sports at a young age, regardless of wins and losses, create those habits. Crucially, encouragement and support go a long way in making the learning process easier, whether it be in school or in sports.

game scheduling software

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Sportsmanship’s Different Forms

During the US Open, ESPN did and interview with Roger Federer, after a match he won. The interviewer, John McEnroe, observed that Federer, when the result seemed inevitable, began playing a bit differently. He pointed out that Federer was experimenting during the game with different shots than he would normally play. He transitioned into a question of sportsmanship.

McEnroe compared Federer’s match to another tennis player, Nick Kyrgios, who gave the impression that he didn’t seem to care about a match he played. It’s not just in tennis. I thought about other sports where respect for an opponent came into question. It got me thinking about sportsmanship and the examples professionals set for kids.

League Administration

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Role models

Ultra-famous athletes such as Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimović, and Bryce Harper, are role models to kids. Kids mimic their favorite players however they can.

Growing up, I played lots of basketball and my favorite player was Steve Nash. I tried to shoot free throws, pass, dribble, and act like he did. Other kids probably imagined last second shots while saying, “KOBEEEEE!”

These days, kids shoot from farther and farther away like Steph Curry. They dance and and celebrate after made shots. They try to cross over other kids like James Harden and stare them down before shooting. On one hand, that can be seen as a player trying their best and getting caught up in the moment, but it could be seen as disrespect.

league payment software

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s critics say he’s arrogant. They point to times when he doesn’t celebrate with his team when someone else scores a goal. As if he is annoyed he didn’t score it. His supporters say it just shows his passion. Others say it demonstrates his arrogance. Regardless, how people perceive actions is subjective.

War and sports

Many sports use violent metaphors: go for the kill, be ruthless, it’s a battle, this is all-out war, etc. War is a violent aspect of society which leads to many well-documented problems. With the higher stakes of war and battles, you can’t regard opponents the same as a fight for sport, not to mention even less violent contests.

So is war the right mentality for a sport at young ages? Of course not, to any extreme. Most coaches and parents will tell you education and taking care of one’s self are more important. But they do not always act as if that’s true. They use the same metaphors as professional athletes and coaches.

In fairness, parents and coaches may do this to emulate how the pros get in the best mindset to perform their best. This type of talk motivates and brings the best out of professionals.

Kobe Bryant’s so-called, “Mamba Mentality” expresses the idea when playing, you have to be ruthless to be best. You could say the need to play hard and with intensity, at your best, is a form of respect.

On and off the court

Professional athletes talk about how they are different on their field or court than in real life. Whether this idea of separating how you act while playing and how you act outside the game is right or wrong is a separate debate.

For kids, their attention is on professional athletes during their games for the most part. This is where they see their actions and mimic them. Parents and coaches have a big role in making sportsmanship become a habit on AND off the court.

Conduct outside the field of play is starting to get some more airtime. Not only does television cover more off-field activity, but players’ own social media highlights it. Actions such as jersey swapping, where players of opposite teams sign their game worn jerseys and exchange them, get more notice. We need more of this, and these actions must be emphasized and given the positive credit they deserve.

soccer league management software

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Broader implications

Sportsmanship is a habit. The sooner you start acting with it, the better. However, what one sees as being a good sport, others can perceive differently. It is a tough line to navigate as parent, coach, or role model.

I can’t say what is right or wrong in how to deal with this. There is something to be said for not worrying about what others say.

I can say is that sportsmanship takes many forms due to perception. Being aware of that, and acting based on how you would want to be treated, can go a long way. For me, being a good sport meant always having respect for those around you and treating others the way you would want to be treated.

The job for parents, coaches, role models, and mentors, is tough. But there are plenty of examples of great sportsmanship to expose kids to. The goal is to explore these topics of how to treat others and understand what consequences actions can have. Hopefully it goes a long way in a society where bullying is so prominent.

Being a good sport, encouraging others for being themselves can be a factor of this. All in all, the goal is to have kids enjoy what they do, on the court/field, in the classroom, or anywhere, and sportsmanship, and by extension respect, goes a long way in making this possible.