Suggestions for Organizing and Promoting a Youth Competition
ORGANIZING COMMITTEE This committee should bring together a representative cross section of a community or area - track and field leaders and coaches, newspaper and radio, business, service clubs, Chamber of Commerce, industry, civic officials and labor - to present the idea.
Items to be discussed include type of meet, date of competition, facilities available, tentative list of teams and available athletes, tentative budget and the recommendation for selection of a chairman. After a chairman is selected, the committee should choose a meet director-someone who has a thorough understanding of track and field and has a good relationship with schools, colleges and clubs of the region.
MEET DIRECTOR In the smallest or the largest meet, the Meet Director is the key to the entire presentation. He must be a person who not only understands the sport but must also be able to direct the efforts of others and have a general understanding of all aspects of the undertaking. He must be able to foresee everything that must go into a meet in the way of planning. He should be flexible and creative. He is the coordinator of the total event. In turn, the Organizing Committee should create and select a Games Committee as the working organization for the Meet Director.
GAMES COMMITTEE Many of the members of the Organizing Committee will desire to serve on the Games Committee. The primary purpose of the Games Committee is to give the Meet Director assistance and guidance in specialized areas of track and field promotion. This committee should have as members individuals who have experience in finance, housing, transportation, publicity, radio and television, advertising, printing, community leadership, etc. This group will offer much technical know-how as well as contacts and personal relationships for the overall meet promotion.
CHECKLIST OF HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS
SANCTION: Obtain sanction for participation of athletes and teams as required by the local Association of USA Track & Field. Remember that your competition must be conducted exclusively under the auspices of USA Track & Field. Additional information on sanctioning appears in Rule 245(1).
DATE: Notify athletes, schools and clubs through proper channels of date of meet. This should be done many months before the meet is to be held.
ENTRY SHEETS: Prepare a proper entry form to comply with requirements of your USATF Association.
ENTRY FEES: Determine fee, if any, to be charged. This should be in line with fees charged by other meets and in accordance with national guidelines.
PROMOTION: Select a publicity director who is well versed with the sport and who has a good relationship with local newspapers in sports and general news. Early releases relating to the planning and progress of the meet are important.
TENTATIVE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: As soon as the format of the meet has been developed the Meet Director should organize a tentative schedule of events. The best guidance for this task is knowledge of the events and the rulebook. The schedule must not only follow a proper order but the interval of time between each event must allow for the completion of the previous event and the calling of the next event. Other details should acknowledge the variety of events to maintain spectator interest.
AWARDS: The Games Committee should appoint an awards committee early in the planning stages to determine appropriate awards for all events and places.
PROGRAM: The program is one of the strongest aspects of a meet. A good program brings spectators back next year and is also a document which athletes' prize. Advertising sales program editing, and program sales are all important. An editor should be selected. The Games Committee should take on the task of personal contacts for advertising. Sometimes a local service organization such as the Junior Chamber of Commerce will assist with the task for the public service recognition.
OFFICIALS: Working with your local USATF officials association is very important. No meet can be properly conducted without competent officials. The supervisor of track and field officials for your local Association of USA Track & Field's Officials Committee should be notified of your requirements at least three months before your meet is presented. All officials, including the referee and starter, should be requested.
INFORMATION FOR ATHLETES, TEAMS AND COACHES: Make certain that detailed information is mailed in advance to all persons concerned with the actual competition.
TRANSPORTATION AND HOUSING: If out of district athletes are participating in your meet, a sub-committee should arrange all arrangements for their arrival and departure. Again, local service groups like to assist with transportation. Your convention bureau or motel-hotel association is a great help, too.
STADIUM: Preparation of stadium and track should be arranged sufficiently in advance to permit modifications and improvements of facilities if necessary.
CEREMONIES AND PAGEANTRY: The Games Committee should determine what ceremonies and pageantry should go with the meet. Remember that the most important aspect of the affair is the competition.
POLICING: A local police representative should be invited to serve on your Games Committee. With this relationship you may avoid off-duty officer charges. They will assist with traffic and crowd control.
TRAINERS: First aid, medical and training facilities for athletes are important. Local school and club trainers are often willing to assist if supplies and facilities are provided by the meet. You should also have a doctor on your Games Committee.
PRESS BOX SERVICE: Have a competent person in charge of the Press Box during the meet. Results from the field should reach the press box immediately after each event. The press steward should have sufficient secretarial help with duplicating equipment to get results to all press as soon as possible.
ANNOUNCER: Do not select someone who likes to talk for the job. Get a genuine authority on the microphone, one that is impartial and has a good voice. He will help your meet. He should have adequate assistance.
PARKING: Plan ahead for special parking for officials, press competitors and spectators. This is your problem to work out with the local police officials.
SURVEYOR'S REPORT: Have your facilities surveyed before your meet. Have starts and finishes properly marked, as well as staggers for relays. Check elevation and levels of field events areas and runways.
BRIEFING OF OFFICIALS: Immediately before start of meet. The meeting is important because they are the persons who carry out the dictates of the rulebook. They should know all about your facilities as related to the assignment.
MEET MANAGER: A meet manager should be appointed to direct the mechanics of the meet on the day of competition. He should have three assistants: equipment supervisor, field supervisor and track supervisor. They are concerned with the equipment and mechanics of their assignment, which is determined by the Meet Director.
MEET EQUIPMENT: The Games Committee, through the Meet Director, shall determine that all equipment specified in the USA Track & Field Competition Rules be available and in proper working order at the time of the meet. This includes starting blocks, standards, finishing tape, public address system, jumping pits, lap scoring cards, lights, etc.
RESULTS: Compile meet results for prompt distribution to all competing organizations and the press. If necessary, personally deliver results to local media if they cannot attend the meet.
NAME OF MEET: Finally, always refer to your competition as a USATF Junior Olympics or USATF Youth Athletics meet to avoid confusion. The proper title should appear in all written correspondence, press releases, etc.
QUESTIONS AND INQUIRIES
From time to time there are many unanswered questions or simply a need for clarification. Most of your questions will be answered after studying the USATF Youth Guide, USATF's Competition Rules or the USATF Governance Manual. (The Governance Manual includes the Bylaws and Operating Rules of USA Track & Field.) In the event your questions are not fully answered by these three publications, contact your Youth Athletics Association Chair. You may also direct your question to your Regional Coordinator or to any member of the USATF National Office Youth Athletics Liaisons.