When I started a recreation based field hockey organization, I used my old American Express brain to measure player retention. The thinking behind it was are we keeping players coming back year over year. The score is called a net promoter score. It has one question but tells you a lot.
Definition: Net promoter score is a widely used market research metric that typically takes the form of a single survey question asking respondents to rate the likelihood that they would recommend a company, product, or a service to a friend or colleague.
The focus was how do we continue to keep players in the program and then we had to know what we did well and what we needed to improve. I wanted to ask our club admin and coaches the question.. Does player retention matter?
Why should you care about player retention?
As in business, it is easier to keep the customers than get new customers. In the case of club sports, it is easier to keep players. When you keep players, it helps in three areas.
- More revenue in the long term
- Lowers cost
- You already know the player and family
Player retention keeps players not just for 1 year but many years to come. More years equate to more revenue. The other intangible benefits are your ability to keep families that are positive to the culture of the team.
Based on our Club Switching Survey: Over 41% said that they will stay with their club for 3 or more years. While 59% said they will stay with their club for less than 3 years.
Player Retention Tips
The easiest way to find out what is important to your families is to ask. And with all of the technology available, it is easy to do a quick survey to find out. We have surveyed many of our customers and have some consistent nuggets of information.
Tip 1: Focus on Your Coaches
The coach is one of the important factors in the players’ youth sports experience. How many times did you hear a player say, “I didn’t like the coach”. While we can say that the parents are to blame or make some other excuse, the coach is important.
From our Club Switching Survey: 60% of the respondents said that they left a club because they didn’t like the coach.
Tip 2: Over Communicate
When players and families receive communication from the coach or club admin, it means something. The more you communicate the better. It keeps your club top of mind too.
From our Youth Sports Tech Report: 93% of our respondents said that they want technology that gives them the ability to communicate digitally between players, coaches and parents. And they want coaches to interact with players and families regularly – not just at practice.
Tip 3: Focus on Player Development
Parents and players want to know that they are getting better over time. The best way to do that is focus on your training.
From our Youth Sports Tech Report: 70% of the respondents said that it was important to have a good player evaluation platform tool, and more than 75% wanted evals that are both qualitative (subjective) and quantitative (objective).
Player retention matters but how to keep it matters the most. Provide the best value for your players and families. This means ensuring that players improve over time. Track their progress, evaluate players, focus on training plans and make sure you have the best coaches.
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