Setting goals within your club is an important exercise for all organisations. Some clubs may be chasing a premiership, whereas other clubs might be looking to build a strong community around their club. On and off the field, there are many ways to dictate whether or not a season has been successful, and how to reassess and improve for the upcoming season.
The following eight tips are what we consider to be pivotal when setting your clubs goals and expectations:
How did you perform last season both on and off the field?
In sport it can often feel as though you’re only as good as your last season, and the season prior provides a good indication on where you need to build if you want your goals to improve for the coming season. Were last season's performances up to what was expected by the club? Were last season's expectations unrealistic or do we need to keep the same expectations again, or potentially even set higher expectations?
Some questions to ask yourself before dictating expectations:
Is the club building a culture that reflects our values?
Have we gained more volunteers, players, and coaches in the offseason that should help us towards our goals?
Do we have the resources to achieve our goals and recruit more people?
How much overall depth do we have in terms of players, coaches, managers, and volunteers?
How optimistic are we about achieving high expectations?
What challenges has the club had in the past?
Addressing challenges from previous seasons may seem like an obvious thing to do, but often it's easy to fall into the same habits after off season. If the same, or similar methods have been tried for a while to no avail, then it is a sign that it is probably time to try something new and make a change. As Einstein once said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results”.
Success is never encountered by being afraid of making changes, and sometimes all it takes is a few minor tweaks, but if the dice needs to be re-rolled, someone, or a group of people need to be willing to make the big calls, otherwise as stated before, expect more of the same.
What changes are needed to address these challenges?
Dictate where the problems lie, and like I said in the last part, more often than not all it takes is some minor tweaks and fine tuning. The committee can always sit together and thoroughly discuss what can potentially be done to bring change into where it is required. Allow everybody to have their say as together, many voices can be the pivotal difference between success and failure.
If things get worse, don’t be deterred from progress, as nothing would’ve improved if nothing changed. Sometimes, you need to take 5 steps back, in order to take 10 steps forward.
Usually, most committees change somewhat on a yearly basis, meaning that every 12 months there are new voices ready to drive their respective clubs forward.
What sort of resources can the club utilise to achieve goals and grow?
This question is best answered prior to the beginning of the season, as the offseason is the time where resources are often changed. Resources refers to training equipment, people, fields or courts, and technology.
While resource availability will always vary club to club, it’s paramount that clubs prioritise the acquisition of quality resources where possible, namely equipment and people. The small differences do matter - and players and coaches do notice them. Take for example the price difference between a good quality football and an average quality ball. Making the decision to spend a bit extra on high quality footballs for senior men's and women's teams might cost the club an extra $500 - $2000 a year, but when players begin preseason with high quality, new equipment it can be a great way to set the tone for the season.
The same goes for players beginning pre season with old footballs or balls that are mixed and matched from the previous year - it can have a ‘here we go again’ feeling to it that isn’t always a good thing.
Other training resources include: additional field lights, cones, poels, bibs, and pop up/portable goals.
When it comes to goals, we definitely think that Bownet portable goals are always a great investment, check them out here (this isn’t a paid ad - we just think these are great goals):
In regards to off the field resources, you can’t look past good platforms to manage members, teams, and grounds. Our platform SportsBlock covers all these bases if you’ve faced some challenges in these areas.
Preseason and off season competitions are also a great way to increase financial resources if the club has access to fields. Check out our article on how to run a great summer competition here.
Is performance on the field a priority?
While many clubs prioritise enjoying the game and player engagement over results, it’s important for clubs to be realistic about their goals and ambitions if they haven’t prioritised recruitment of good quality coaches or players, especially in teams from 16’s to seniors.
If looking to set goals for on field results, it is essential to compare your club's players and coaches to that of your competitors in order to keep expectations realistic. Different clubs are at different stages in terms of performance, e.g. some teams are in a premiership window, whereas other teams might have a younger team with the goal of developing players in order to obtain long term success.
Talent is not all that makes a good team, you also need squad depth, good coaching, dedicated backroom staff and volunteers, and a high level of respect and trust in each other, in order to achieve your club goals. Team morale needs to be high, otherwise your club can fall apart very quickly.
Separate your short and long term goals.
Both short and long term goals need to be set, so the club has both a foundation for upcoming fixtures, and also a sustainable future. These goals need to be separated, as every sporting club is different in 3-5 years time compared to what they are now, especially around coaching staff, players, committee members and club resources.
Separating their short and long term goals gives the club the best chance of knowing when their time will be to push for ultimate success. Long term plans give these new members a foundation of objectives, letting them know exactly what the expectations are going forward.
What do the members want?
The loudest voice in any club are the fans. Without fans attending games and passionately following the club they love, these clubs can't survive. While most fans want to see success as much as possible, they also tend to be very understanding and supportive when their club is going through a rough patch.
Conducting surveys regarding what fans want is an extremely effective way to understand the wants and needs of a club, and should be conducted in the off season, so that there is time to set up for the upcoming competition. No club can reach any goal without constant support, and the bottom line is that the amount of time and money that fans and sponsors put into the club will dictate the resources that your club can utilise to succeed on the field.
If minimal time and money can be invested, then everyone needs to understand that the club will most likely enter a rebuilding phase, therefore constant communication between the committee and the fans is essential in ensuring continuous support of any local club.
Time to finalise your goals and objectives.
Now that everything above has been addressed and worked on, it is time to use the resources given above to finalise the expectations for the upcoming season. Ensure that these goals are clear to the coaching and playing group, as well as all members and fans so that expectations can be easily understood by everyone.
If the goals have been thoroughly utilised using every step above, there should be no room for excuses and it’s time to go out, perform and put your club on the map!
*No part of this article is a paid advertisement, these are just our insights.