Expert Tips to Increase The Success of Your Next Tournament

Recently we had the opportunity to sit down with Ruth Nicholson the founder of GO! and tournament expert for over 30 years. To deliver an excellent event that people want to keep coming back to, Ruth spoke of three things that every tournament owner or manager should do!

Define Your Tournaments Success

One of the first elements of holding a successful tournament is knowing what you are trying to accomplish or what objectives you are trying to achieve. For any sports tournament, we recommend you focus on the 3 C’s: Competition, Customers, Cash.

  • Competition – What does healthy competition look like? Not like this.  No team in a tournament wants to walk away losing 30-3. To keep your teams coming back year over year,  you should define what level of competition you hope to see.
  • Customer Service – Your tournament’s success is ultimately defined by the experience of the players, coaches, and families attending.  Your volunteers are the face of your tournament and have a direct impact on the level of customer service you deliver.
  • Cash – Your organization may be looking to the tournament as a major source of annual fundraising, or it may be that the event is held to raise money for a charitable cause.

Avoid Common Failures

The most common reasons why a tournament fails often to the experience of those who have “paid to play”. To avoid common failures we recommend building a top-notch volunteer program for your event which includes:

  • Planning on extra people, a “floating staff” team of volunteers who can fill in when demand for services is high or there is a shortage of other scheduled volunteers
  • Establishing well-informed volunteers and points of contact
  • Collecting feedback when your event is over, or as it is ending is extremely valuable
Build a Great Volunteer Team

Your volunteer team is the backbone of the tournament. The better their experience is, the more likely the tournament will be a success. Building a great volunteer program is 3 parts planning, 1 part execution, and 1 part gratitude.


  • Create the Plan- Figure out what you will need, the responsibilities of each job, and what skills are needed to get each job done.
  • Match skills and experience to the right people – When a potential volunteer sees the hours and role that looks right for them, that job description empowers them to say “I could do that.”
  • Empower your Volunteers -Empower your volunteers with the right information and tools necessary to both be successful in their jobs and enjoy the experience.

Execute:  Take all of that preparation and make it happen. Your volunteer network is in place, communication is available, and supplies are where they need to be.

Gratitude:  When it is all said and done, start with a thank you and handshake for attendees and volunteers.

At the end of the day, tournaments have the potential to build your brand and make a significant contribution to the bottom line but doing so requires a top-notch volunteer management program.

To learn more from Ruth’s experience in delivering highly successful tournaments, join us on October 24th for a free webinar hosted by InitLive. Register here.

Julia Frame
(613) 271-5983

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