Last season I took over my pub football team and have been putting together some ideas as to how we can improve both on and off the field. I’ve known the lads for a while now and I’ve only just decided to retire from the game due to my legs feeling like lead weights after every Sunday morning run out.
There’s much more to take into consideration than just turning up every Sunday and trying to win a match. From kit washing to corner posts, paying referees to attending FA meetings, I’d never truly understood what was needed before I signed up.
Our old gaffer still comes along to watch every week and he laughs when I tell him that just playing the game is the easy part of running the side. Anyway, if you’re about to take over a football or other sports club and you wondering what you can do to improve the side and keep your squad happy then I’ve written a few hints and tips that I hope will stand you in good stead for next season.
My lads are all into Twitter and Facebook these days but I’m old school and still prefer to email or phone when I’ve got a message to pass on. Communication is the key to any successful organisation because everyone, from the tea lady to the star striker, need to know what’s going on. I find if you keep everyone in the loop as regularly as possible with regards to: team selection, training schedules, match day arrangements etc. then you’ll have a tighter unit and any hearsay and gossip can be nipped in the bud.
Everyone has their own methods but I feel it’s important to train at least once a week so we can keep fit and, hopefully, improve on the weekend’s performance. I’ve done my FA coaching badge so feel happy to take a session however, I do like to get the lads involved too so I pick someone to help me out each week when we’re going through the drills. Developing and building confidence is a great way to keep the team together and if the lads can get something else from being part of the club then all the better.
Christmas, mid-season, end of season, birthdays, you name it and the excuses are there to do it. I find a good night out often allows people to relax and voice exactly what they really think so I try to get round and speak to each of the lads in turn whilst I have the chance. Getting the wags involved too is another great way to become a tighter unit and once the girls feel like they’re a part of the team then they’re more than likely come out to support us on a Sunday morning too.
You can’t beat an awards night for getting together as a team and having a good time. It’s all about celebrating the season and no matter whether we’ve won or lost it’s always good fun and encourages plenty of banter. I tend to present about 10 different categories so nearly everyone gets an award or at least a nomination. Of course, you can have your serious awards in there but throwing in a few light-hearted categories such as worst dress sense and silliest hair-cut have to be included too.
Going on tour
The fundamental best thing about being part of a sports club is to go on tour and in the close season this is an excellent chance to either relax and unwind or get training for the first match of the season. Whenever we’re away we like to meet up with a couple of local sides and organise some friendlies which is a great way to test ourselves against new and exciting opposition or at least have fun in the bar afterwards. Organised tours to watch a live sports event are another fantastic option and we use Gullivers Travel who always ensure we have tickets, accommodation and a fantastic time away from home.
Biog: Chris is the football manager of the mighty Hove Lawns in Sussex and is eagerly looking forward to a cheeky cup run and mid-table mediocrity.