Summer Football - How to Get Ahead of the Game
Is it time to start planning for Summer Football?
As the east coast of Australia endures yet another drenching, taking with it yet another weekend of football, it’s no surprise that clubs across the country are already looking to the second half of the year as the contingency plan for this turbulent season. That contingency plan is of course summer football. Two beautiful words that are music to the ears of every local football nut - whilst also sending a shiver down the spine of administrators already bogged down with endless “is our game still on this weekend” calls.
With the majority of administrators likely to have been inside this weekend, we decided to put forward a few unexpected tips for planning summer football competitions, and have listed some painful approaches to summer competition management that we’ve seen. So without further ado, let’s look at the best way to plan out summer football.
If you’re running summer football competitions make sure to check out our competition planning tool, which you can download for free above.
1. Crunch the numbers.
Usually the responsibility of: Club Treasurer or Secretary
Believe it or not, managing summer football competitions comes with a fair bit of number crunching. Whether it's calculating the cost to run your competitions, assessing the registration revenue you can expect to make, or breaking down scheduling and team numbers against court and field allocations - there will always be numbers involved.
Luckily, most clubs are well equipped with treasurers or committee members that live for number crunching - but nonetheless, the risk of overlooking a good old cost breakdown isn’t worth the hassle later on.
SportsBlock Tip: Using a planning tool provides a basic starting point to breakdown some of the per round costs of running a summer football competition. You can download our basic competition planning tool above. We've added a screenshot below of some of the information you can easily obtain using this tool:
2. Book or secure your grounds (or courts) as early as possible.
Usually the responsibility of: Club Secretary of Registrar
Yes, we are aware that some clubs do have it easy when it comes to booking their own grounds, but for the unlucky few that don’t have their own grounds this can be a hassle to work around if left too late. Many clubs that operate from two or more grounds during the season will have to compete for fields during summer. Get ahead of your rivals and get that booking in ASAP!
SportsBlock Tip: We recommend playing each competition at just one location if possible. We’ve seen a single summer competition run across multiple venues and when it comes to scheduling a competition with this setup you’ll probably need Paracetamol on hand for the guaranteed headache.
3. Get your canteen (or bar) ready to be open and pumping!
Usually the responsibility of: Committee & Volunteers
We recently heard from one of our State League clubs in WA, Forrestfield United, about just how good the summer football season was for the club bar - and we love to hear it. Watching clumsy tackles and surprisingly clean first touches from over 45’s players is only going to be better if there’s a BBQ going - and gives the club a great opportunity to generate some additional revenue away from registrations, leading right into pre season.
Making sure you've got volunteers ready to work the bar on competition nights is essential! Don't overlook just how much value this can add to the atmosphere of your competitions either.
SportsBlock Tip: Give players and parents an incentive to make their way to your canteen or bar after their game with Player of the Match awards or winners discounts that can be redeemed for food or drinks. This is something that can be the responsibility of the referees to award as well, meaning no additional work for your volunteers.
4. Don’t rely on one off scheduling tools to manage a whole competition.
Usually the responsibility of: Club Registrar or Secretary
There’s nothing worse when it comes to summer football than having to enter information into a scheduling tool, generating it, sharing the information with your players, only to then have to go back in and make changes and do it all again. What’s more, this costs the organisers serious time, and with the majority of summer football competitions being run by volunteers, time wasting should be avoided as much as possible.
SportsBlock Tip: For anyone looking for a one off scheduling tool to get an idea of field allocation, one of the ones we used to use is FixtureList. This super easy to use tool can generate a schedule for you with absolute ease and can give you an idea of what your competition schedules could look like based on team numbers. You can check them out here: https://www.fixturelist.com/createlist.
5. Market your competitions as early as possible.
Usually the responsibility of: Club Secretary or Socials Coordinator
This last point might seem pretty obvious but we’ve seen all too often that organisers who leave it late lose out to other local competitions. Get the word out early, establish just how busy the competitions are likely to be, and get everyone excited about playing summer football with you!
SportsBlock Tip: Get your socials posts and email content started from today! If you're having trouble putting together social media posts then definitely have a look at a platform like Canva to get started. Canva is super easy to use with a huge number of templates on offer, and can be used for free - we've added a screenshot from our Canva post set up below:
Check out our favourite examples of avoidable approaches that we’ve seen with summer football...
1. Managing the competition on 'Note Pad':
This one is my personal favourite. An organiser running the competition entirely through the ‘Note Pad’ app on their computer. It looked like an amateur journalist taking notes on local 5 a side games.
2. Ignoring the idea of 'competition structure':
We stumbled across a competition that pooled 22 teams into an eight week competition, with teams only playing seven round games and top four only making finals. No comment here.
3. Competition Cashies:
The organiser communicating to everyone that they were only accepting cash registrations up front at the start of the competition, and were then charging teams different rates. Interesting approach.
Ready to get your competitions set up and ready to go?
If you’re past the planning stage and would like to start crunching the numbers, you can download our planner below. If you’d like to go a step further and get your competitions up and running today then click Get Started to watch our starter video on using SportsBlock!
Here’s some videos on how to get set up on SportsBlock and how to get that first competition created: