Is your youth basketball club or group interested in Hosting a Youth Basketball tournament for the first time, and you’re looking for helpful information that will get you organized – and save you time and money? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
The first time that I attempted to host a youth basketball tournament, I thought that it would not be a difficult task at all. Well, it turned out to be pretty time consuming, and there were plenty of mistakes made. If I had a little more experience before jumping in, I feel that it could have gone a lot better. After the 3rd and 4th year, I had it down to a science; I had everything all spelled out and organized. I look back and think about all the time I spent trying to figure things out and trying things that didn’t work, etc. I am making this information available to others so that hopefully they will be able to skip the mistakes and run a smooth tournament correctly – right from the start (as if they have been running tournaments all along).
The main thing you must remember is that your tournament needs to be a “quality” tournament. You want teams to come back again and again. And, you want teams that attended your tournament to let other teams know what a great tournament you put on. The little extra things that you do or make available to the teams are critical to the success of the tournament. Teams that come to your tournaments are expecting the “host” to run a “quality” tournament. You must ensure that you do everything possible to make this happen. With the right information you can run a very successful tournament right from the beginning. Obviously, all the information that is needed to run a youth basketball tournament cannot be covered here, so a short summary of the basics will be covered.
Information on Running a Youth Basketball Tournament:
If you have never run a youth basketball tournament before, or have run a few but could use more information on the subject – the information below may be able to assist you (or at least get you going in the right direction).
What’s involved with running a youth basketball tournament?
1. Planning the Tournament: How many teams, which age groups, gym space, etc…
2. Gym Time: Securing Dates and Times.
3. Preparing the Tournament Flyer.
4. Promotion of your Tournament.
5. Volunteers Needed: Start recruiting volunteers early.
6. Trophies / Medals / Awards.
7. Referees: Are you paying too much?
8. Hotel rooms for the teams.
9. Sponsors / Donations.
11. Tracking, Follow up, etc.
12. Preparing the game schedules, brackets, tournament packages.
13. Fundraisers, top money makers.
14. Posters / Programs / Tickets / Signs, and so much more to do…
As you can see there’s a lot more to Running a Tournament than can be covered here.
Here are a few sample tournament forms related to some of the items listed above – Take a look!
Tournament Flyer (#3) Click here to view a
Game Schedule (#12) Click here to view a
Championship Bracket (#12) Click here to view a
Half Time Raffle (#13) Click here to view a
Admission Tickets (#14) Click here to view a
Tournament Signs (#14) Click here to view a
12 Common Mistakes to Avoid
Want to avoid making costly mistakes that could waste time and money? Check out the list below of what we believe to be the most common mistakes made when running a tournament.
1. Doing it all yourself / not enough Volunteers: There will be lots to do, and you need volunteers to do get the work done. Don’t cut yourself short – make sure that you solicit enough volunteers (in advance) to make your tournament run efficiently.
2. Teams saying they are coming, but have not paid yet: There is always a team or two that begs you to save them a spot, and claim the check is in the mail. Then, at the last minute they give you an excuse as to why they cannot make it. A team that pulls out at the last minute causes all kinds of chaos (you will have to change the schedule at the last minute, and call all the other coaches). Have a few teams on the waiting list as a back up plan.
3. Not enough till money: You can never have too much till money at your tournament, but it is such a pain when you run out. Have more till money than you need, so you don’t have to spend time searching for change, making a trip to the bank, etc.
4. Did not charge enough for concessions / admissions: Teams coming to your tournament should understand that it takes a lot of effort and there are a lot of expenses in running a tournament. Don’t allow a few “complaints” to sway you into changing the prices you are charging. Keep in mind that your team will have to pay these prices when you attend tournaments.
5. Ordered the trophies too late: If you order the trophies too late, it will cause you headaches later (you will have to mail the trophies to the teams). You also don’t want to miss seeing the younger players eyes light up when they are looking at the trophies on display, do you!
6. Information to the teams too late: There is nothing worse than having all the coaches calling you for the game schedule. Teams also have to make their plans. They need the tournament information as soon as you can get it to them so plans can be made.
7. Not getting the game schedule to the refs on time or not following up with the refs: Bad mistake! Get the game schedule to the referees ASAP! Follow up as much as you feel is necessary to ensure that the refs are going to show up, and that they also know the times to show up. Have an emergency phone number available for the referees so they can contact you.
8. Did not track the $$ correctly: This can cause all kinds of problems within your group. Always have more than one person handling the money, and use the 2-person rule to count it.
9. Putting your teams against the best teams that are coming, because you want to be fair: You are the home team; it’s your tournament, to an extent you should put yourself in a position to move on to the championship round (without any doubts).
10. Used the wrong bracket / pool play format: There are certain bracket / pool formats that teams are not particularly fond of. Playing one game against the best team there, and then not getting the chance to advance to the championship game (due to this one loss), is not very fair at all. There are tournaments set up this way (where the some very good teams do not advance, and some weaker team’s advance, all due to positioning in pool play).
11. Running clock used instead of regulation time: This is annoying to teams. It is hard for coaches to coach while staring at a running clock trying to get all their players in the game. At times you will be forced to use a running clock (slaughter rule, games are getting too far off schedule, etc.). Try not to use the running clock just to use it – there needs to be a good reason.
12. Not having a Concession Stand: If you plan not to have a concession stand, then you must make sure that the teams know this in advance. The least you should provide is bottled water. Tournaments that do not offer concessions are not as popular, and are an inconvenience to the teams attending.
If you are serious about running a youth basketball tournament and would like more information – consider the AVCSS Basketball publication “Running a Youth Basketball Tournament – From Start to Finish.” A comprehensive Booklet and CD-Rom that details a Step-by-Step process of Running a Youth Basketball Tournament. All of the items listed above (What’s involved in Running a Youth Basketball Tournament 1-14) are outlined in detail and simplified for ease of use (check out all the diagrams that also help simplify the information). The CD-R0m is packed with forms and files that are ready to use (simply modify them and start using them right away).