The beginning of fall means the start of a new school year, the close of another summer, and a brand new season of sports, both professional and recreational. The number of amateur and recreational teams in every sport is continually growing. For professional businesses, sponsoring a company sports team can boost morale and enable the employees to get to know each other better. The important thing to know is where to start.

1. Go online - Information about sports leagues in your area can be found online, particularly for softball and kickball. Select a sport you think your employees would like to participate in and look at the available size for a new team to join. Depending on the size of your company, some sports leagues allow up to 25 players to participate as a team.

2. Create teams - Perhaps the fastest and easiest way to get the word to your employees is by email. Send a group email with the details about signing up, including the days and times when practices and games would occur and the overall length of commitment. If interest is overwhelming, you may consider holding tryouts or creating two separate teams. Try to avoid simply cutting team members since this would partially defeat the purpose of boosting morale. If your player roster is filled up, consider creating alternates or a roster rotation to allow everyone to participate.

3. Register - Once you’ve created your employee team, sign them up by the league’s registration deadline. If the specific league does not provide uniforms, you may want to consider creating custom T-shirts. Just be sure to requests correct sizes from your team members.

4. Practice - Remember that fun is the goal, but practice is the key. Try to gather everyone together for an additional hour every week at a local park or public field to practice. If every week creates a strain, try twice a month. The extra time to practice without the focus of a specific game will help them grow as a team and as employees as they become better acquainted.

5. Have fun - It’s a good idea to follow games, or even practices, with a meal or appetizers at a local restaurant. This allows the players to unwind or relax and can even provide opportunity to strategize or simply learn more about each other. You may also want to consider prizes after a win like gift cards for a night out with their spouses or movie tickets. But mostly you want to think of ways for your team to spend time together outside of the work environment to improve their camaraderie and confidence.

6. League Awards - The individual league may give out trophies or awards, but consider individual achievement awards that you could have custom-made or personalized. You could give an award to your MVP or your Most Inspiring Player. Get creative and give awards for Silliest Skills or Craziest Rallying Cry. Anything that you can do to recognize the efforts your employees are giving to the team and to the company is a win for you.

Able Recognition has an assortment of customized, engraved corporate awards, promotional items, and giftware that has helped businesses, corporations and organizations of every variety acknowledge and encourage their staff and volunteers. Contact us by calling toll free at 866-612-0383 or FAX toll free at 1-866-229-4755. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or through our website at or email us at [email protected] We would love to help you recognize your team with excellence.