We sometimes forget that we need to continually promote our sport besides the traditional box score or quick blurb in the local sports section of the newspaper. In the last two seasons our coaching staff and team has made it one of our team goals to promote our sport and the college. I want to share a few things that we do to help promote our sport and the college.
We have our college team travel to local junior/high schools and demonstrate certain softball skills like throwing, pitching, hitting, ect… Take the game to them not have them come to you. Parents, players and coaches love this because they want to see what it takes to play at the next level plus they may see one of their past players on the team. Camps are great for fundraising but this will help you increase your numbers for future camps.
Local Radio station
We have built a great working relationship with our local radio station. The stations sport director is constantly providing us the opportunity for live interviews and has even had us on their Saturday morning radio show. Do not discount the power of a local radio station; more people listen then you think. We have had several fans come up to us after a game and mentioned they heard us on the radio and decided to come out and watch.
“Kids in the Dugout”
At all our home games we invite young players to come in the dugout and sit with the team for an inning or two. At first I thought this might distract our players but it has done just the opposite our players talk to the young ones about what just happened and they seem to be more relaxed and focused on the game. We forget sometime that our college players can be great teachers of the game.
These past two seasons we have volunteered our time to help move library books from a storage unit to the local library for a book sale. The local people in our community applauded our efforts and the college received numerous phone calls commending our softball team for supporting the community. This year we will do two projects each semester each in a different community. HS Sport Night – twice a semester the team chooses to go support a local high school or junior high girl’s team. We all wear our college softball apparel and sit together in the stands. Each time we do this we always get some parent asking, “ why is the college softball team watching a girl’s volleyball match?” Bingo…now we are having a conversation about the college and our softball program. The team usually goes out to eat together and talks about school, softball and everything else. It is another way our kids stay connected during the off-season.
I have seen more excitement from our team, coaching staff, community and administration by doing these simple activities. Our team uses this as a bonding experience and a great way to build team unity. I use this as another way to promote our college and our program. Our attendance levels have increased with younger players and older active adults filling the stands. The administration loves to hear from community members (tax payers) on how wonderful the campus looks and how lovely our student/athletes are to work with. By the way….we don’t win every game and some years we are just a .500 ball club but it is nice to see that all the hard work you and your student/athletes put in pay off when that young 12 year old player leaves the ball park with a smile on her facing saying “she will never forget this day”. When the fan (not a relative of any team member) comes down to say “nice game” we will see you again at your next home game.” I try constantly to promote the sport I love and the college that has been so good to me. I encourage you to promote your sport in creative ways and I will guarantee that you will be more than satisfied with the outcome.
About the author
Known affectionately as “PC,” Perry Clark enters his 14th season coaching the Chiefs. Clark has helped over 60 student/athletes at Waubonsee continue playing at the NCAA and NAIA institutions, most notably Abbey Ruff (University of Iowa), Heidi Schmitt (Georgia Southern University), last years’ sophomore standout Bridget Kennedy is on a academic/athletic scholarship to Rockford College. Clark now has two former student/athletes that are coaching high school softball in the area Brenda Morris (1997) Yorkville High School and Lindsey Hejtmanek (2003) Head Coach at Oswego High School. With Clark’s assistance, the Lady Chiefs have been nationally ranked in the top 25 two out of the last four years and the 2006 team set a school record with 33 wins. Coach Clark reached a milestone this past summer when coached his 1200th game. Perry can be reached at 630-460-1426.