This is probably one of the most difficult subjects to approach in clubs. While some adults will view participation rates at underage level, others will use only the scoreboard in (non –competitive) games as the barometer for success.
A question that I would ask coaches at some of our in-house coaching days that we run is ‘How do we define success?’ it is something that a lot of clubs and coaches have overlooked. While every coach is looking after their team there may be no joined up thinking and this can lead to frustration among coaches, parents and players. To define success within your club overall you have to look at the resources you have available (financial, volunteerism and playing) at a set point in time and aim to maximise these.
From an underage point of view, up to 12 years of age if you are retaining and recruiting players and they are learning and developing skills and enjoying doing so then this would be broadly viewed as a successful underage section.
I would also recommend checking in with parents (future coaches, ticket sellers/club administrators) to make sure they feel welcome and at ease. A cup of tea can go a long way. From speaking with different clubs a very important piece is to take a roll and notice when a child is absent and a phone call to a parent at this time can build a lot of goodwill towards the club.
Irrespective of how things are on the scoreboard, creating an environment where parents and kids feel at home and a sense of belonging but also a sense of ownership will only serve to strengthen your club for years to come and achieving this environment should be viewed as success.
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