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Driving Off-Field Success - Should Club Events be Compulsory for Players?

In our last blog, we touched base on what events your club should host in order to build club bonding while also generating copious amounts of revenue. For these events to prove successful, you need as many people as possible attending, which leads us to the ultimate question regarding operating these functions.

Should club events be compulsory - our take on the matter.

All local clubs work the same way, the committee and volunteers work tirelessly and endlessly behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly so that the players have a game to play on the weekend. Part of committee and volunteer work includes planning and organising events for the rest of the club to attend. This is done for a variety of reasons, with the key reason being to raise money for the club, which then gets invested into resources to help both the club and its players.

The bottom line of this is that if the players want the modern resources and equipment to train with and all the benefits that go with it, then the least they can do is show up behind the scenes and put some time in with the people that make it all happen.

A lot of players these days are from out of town, and are paid to go and play outside of their hometown. Sometimes the travel time to get to training and games for these players can be well over an hour travel time total. For these players, they may have partners and families to go home to, meaning they would have to leave straight after their game to get back home at an appropriate time. For players in this category, it seems tough to make them hang around or attend events when they may just be looking to play sport.

Different people will have different opinions when it comes to this, but from my perspective, nobody is demanding that the players stay all night, but rather stay back for an hour or so to show your face around the club for the event can make more of a difference than you might think. That is just our personal view, and we respect that other people will see this situation differently. Especially if the club is paying you to play for them, the least you can do is return the favour and show that you want to be a part of the club off the field.

What it means to some people.

Locals that have stayed at the club for a long time, possibly their entire lives are the backbone of every club and the ones that you can rely on to stay in the long run. Usually this type of question won’t apply to them as they generally do attend club events and functions, and are usually the first to arrive and the last to leave. However, many reasons can lead to locals not attending these events frequently, or simply stop attending them altogether. This situation is obviously one that you as a club want to avoid, so constant communication with the local players ensuring that they’re happy and will keep attending events is vital.

In the long run, these people are the ones you can count on to continue raising money for the club, but loyalty goes both ways, and as a club, and it's meaningful to show them the same courtesy by making an appearance at events. For these club volunteers, seeing the social and competitive aspect of their clubs (and so often their hard work) be enjoyed is a hugely important part of why a lot of volunteers commit their time to local sport.

Every now and then, emergency reasons for people being unable to attend a function will come up such as family matters and emergency work issues. These are obviously acceptable reasons for people to not attend, and as a club, doing everything you can to offer people as much support as possible during these times is vital.

The last area that we think is worth mentioning is part time or fill in players. The players that are only available to play once every few weeks, due to many reasons such as FIFO work and it being their turn to look after the kids or whatever situation they may be in. This is probably the most difficult situation to be in, and at the same time the most difficult argument to make. When the term “player compulsory” is used, it is usually only interpreted towards full time players that are committed to playing for the entirety of the season, and this is also the way that I see it. For part time players, if they can make it to a function, then yes, they should attend as they have technically signed up to play, and are part of the club, but obviously you can't expect them to be at every club event.

To summarise, we believe that club functions should be player compulsory to full time players, with the exception of emergency reasons obviously. Part time players should also be expected to attend events whenever they’re available. While some people may think this is unfair on some players, at the end of the day the club’s volunteers have taken time out of their busy lives to put in hard work behind the scenes just so you as a player can play, and the least you can do is return the favour by being at attendance at the events that these people plan. It is also up to the committee to impose penalties on players that do not attend an event without an emergency reason.

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