Ask yourself: what makes a successful tournament? Is it having the perfect amount of referees? Or preparing the schedule weeks in advance? Hosting a tournament involves a lot of details and it's important to make sure you have all your bases covered. Here are six must-haves that will make any tournament a success.
- Get a head start. Submit your tournament packet as early as possible - once it is approved it will be posted on AYSO.org and attending teams can start making plans.
- Be prepared. Make sure you are fully set-up and ready when teams start arriving at your tournament. The first impression at check-in is important, and if the parents, players and coaches sense that your tournament is a well-organized event, you are off to a good start.
- Volunteers. Having plenty of volunteers makes everything run smoothly - from a team's first experience at check-in to field monitors who can help visitors if they have problems or need directions.
- Be aware of your fields. During your tournament, there may be a situation in which a player needs medical assistance. Be sure to have communication with all of the fields at all times - assigning field monitors with cell phones and/or radios to areas of fields is a good option.
- Schedule, schedule, schedule. There are several really important components involved in scheduling that can have a great impact on a tournament's success:
- Schedule local teams and teams that have a short distance to travel for the early games and teams that have a longer travel time to the tournament for the later games.
- While teams do need recovery time between games, they should not be scheduled more than 3 or 4 hours apart.
- Getting the tournament schedule completed and posted on your website at least a week before the tournament is a must.
- Reserve a sufficient amount of referees. Having enough referees to cover all the games keeps the games on time and helps things run smoothly. Be sure to have stand-by referee crews to fill in if problems or injuries occur.
Referees should not be scheduled on back-to-back games unless that is your only option, and if so, both games should be on the same field. Also, referees should not be scheduled on games involving teams from their home Region. Get the referee schedule out at least a week before the tournament to allow the referees time to plan, and yourself time to make corrections if they become necessary.