10 Points to Consider in Planning a Sports Banquet
Tips on Planning a Sports Banquet
A winning season is time to celebrate, but only a few team make it to the top so how can you reward the hard work for trying? A sports banquet is the ideal forum to say thanks for the effort and help build spirt for the next year. The sports banquet should be designed as the top reward, a chance to exchange stories, recognized the heros and enjoy some good food. The following are the top points to consider in planning a successful sport banquet.
Top 10 Points
- Start the planning process early. Three months prior to the end of the season is not too early. This way you can find a date that avoids conflicts with other school events and if you are trying to secure the facilities at the school, such as the school cafeteria you will need to get this in advance.
- As you develop the invitation list be sure to consider not just the players, but significant others as in parents, players friends, coaching staff and even certain members of the school administration to help remind the importance of the program. Having an idea of the potential number of guests will help in the next step of securing a function room location.
- If your plan is to use school facilities, such as the cafeteria, an inexpensive catering route is using the school’s Culinary Arts Department to plan and cook the meal. This has the benefit of extending the involvement of the school, but depending on “local school politics” could present problems of it’s own. If using school facilities not feasible, or this is a city league, you may need to find a function room at private hall locations.
- Secure early a function room that will be the right size for team and all of the associated guests. If you have a favorite location that has worked before there is nothing wrong with staying with what works. It will be very likely that some movies have been taken over the season so finding a room that can host an audio/visual presentation will provide ideal entertainment for the event. An ideal example of this is movie restaurant chain in New Hampshire and Massachusetts (www.Chunkys.com) that offers private room function for sports banquets where the equipment setup is readily available.
- Plan a memorable catered meal, if possible. Don’t forget if it’s a football team they tend to be big eaters so plan accordingly. A standard American menu is always safe and if you are on a tight budget, consider pizza, as it appeals to most guest, and is inexpensive. You just don't want your players to leave hungry.
- Start early organizing groups of volunteers who will be needed to set up the room/cafeteria if using the school facilities, otherwise volunteers will be needed to manage guest registration, audio/visual setup, format of game film clips, securing trophies and awards, and of course who will manage the overall program flow.
- In mid-season send out to coaches a standardized awards form for collecting data that will be used to present certificates and award to various team players. Ask them to complete it as soon as possible, and no later than two weeks prior to banquet date. The athletes' names, grade levels, awards, and all of the other information are then entered into the computer. The awards program is produced from this data.
- Make sure a draft of the banquet program is then sent to the respective coaches to enable corrections and revisions. Don’t forget there will be public presentation to individual and you want to avoid embarrassing name misspellings or omissions.
- Handing out certificates and awards. The “entertainment” of a sports banquet is the recap of the season, both the highs and lows. Have the coach take to the microphone to present the team's highlight film and offer “arm chair coaching comments”. After the highlight film present the awards and certification with a positive statement about each player's contribution and hard work. Typical awards are for the team's most valuable player, best offensive player, best defensive player and most improved player.
- Enjoy, reward, thank and plan for next season. Ending the banquet is a time for the coach to send out thanks to everyone for their contributions. As today’s sports budgets are tightened more is being asked of players, assistants, and parents. Treat the sports banquet as a celebration of their efforts and take the opportunity to prepare them for the next season.