From casual lunch time games of squash to serious regular training sessions, organizing sports can be a headache. You are putting yourself in a position of responsibility and are not likely to get the thanks you deserve and if your not careful you could find yourself a few pennies shorter than when you started. Still, you have good intentions and it can be a genuinely rewarding experience for yourself and the people that you get involved and if you are willing to follow a few simple guidelines then you could come through it all with some well earned respect and some new friends not to mention to be involved in the sport that you love.
Questions before you start
Before you start making efforts organizing your choice of sport, lets run through a quick check to see if you are prepared. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
Can I commit to a regular time?
You are always going to get a more successful showing on the day if you make the time of play consistent. People are habitual creatures and they will often turn up at the usual time even if you change the time one week!
You are setting an example to the rest of the players and your ability to turn up regularly as possible and punctually is going to be very important to the quality of turnouts from the rest of the group. So avoid planning anything before games that may run late; such as meetings with your manager at the office.
How many person(s) do I know that might be interested in playing ?
You should start fishing around for some public opinion – see if there is some interest already. If you are at work then you can use the notice board to attract some attention. Start spreading the word in social circles down the pub/gym/library etc. If you are organizing sports for a large group of people like 11 a side football then you ideally want a core base of committed people that you can build upon. The more people you find the more easier it will be to attract new people. Keep in touch with the group by sending update e-mails. We want to build a steady momentum of gathering interest until you are ready to start playing.
You can also use the web to find people in your area who are interested in playing the same sport. I recommend you register at http://sports.evumeet.com – a website that promotes local sports.
Where I am going to be playing?
Do you have a venue in mind? Is it available at your preferred time to play? Can you find a venue that is convenient for you and your players to travel to.
Ask about the chosen venue’s cancellation policy. In some places if you cancel well in advance there will be no penalty but if you leave it too late then chances are you will have to pay a penalty and in some cases the total cost.
It will be worth checking if you can block book the venue in advance. This could save you money if you get a discount but more importantly it will prevent anyone else from taking your regular slot.
Money is the aspect that can cause the most problems. You must have firm rules and they must be clearly stated to all those in the group and to new players as and when they join.
Here are some suggested provisos to avoid being out of pocket:
- Players who drop out are still responsible to pay for that session
- Do not pay for anything until the minimum number of players have confirmed their attendance or the players have agreed that they are willing to share costs if you do not get enough players. If you book the venue before getting confirmation from the players that they can attend then it’s a risk that you are taking – probably not worth it.
- If possible collect money in advance – at the latest collect it on the day.
- Round-Up the money you charge to your players, for example if the cost is £9 a week and there are a total of 4 players then charge £2.50 a week instead of £2.43.
- Keep a kitty where you can put surplus money and to use to pay for unforeseen costs. If things are going well then you are likely to have surplus money at then end of the season. In some cases you may have to use the kitty to cover unexpected costs such as the hiring of equipment.
- Keep a record that shows the costs, payments and kitty status. This can be made public using an on-line website like http://sports.evumeet.com
- Always keep coins (money) with you, so you can return the correct change when people pay you
If you have a reasonable amount of money in the kitty at the end of the season then why not use the money to pay for a free game or a round of drinks for all the players. The rest of the money can stay in the kitty ready for the next season.
People usually appreciate an up-front policy regarding money so don’t feel embarrassed talking about it or asking for it.
Ready to play
You are ready to organize your first game. You are main tasks are to ask the people involved to confirm their attendance and then to book the venue.
Usually communication will be done by Phone, Email or the World wide web. Firstly, lets have a think about the kind of details you will be communicating on a week to week basis:
- Who can play this week? (Get responses / RSVPs)
- Game confirmed (venue, cost & time)
- Cancellations (not enough players, unable to book venue)
- Reminder (The game is tomorrow – don’t forget your kit!)
- Make group decision
Email is the most common one-to-many communication tool we use. You can create an email group that contains the name and e-mail addresses of all the players that can be used each time you need to send an email. It’s simple and effective.
Telephone is perfect when you are planning a game with a small number of people, say 1-4 players alternatively sending an e-mail may feel unnecessarily formal. However, using the phone to arrange sports with a large pool of players is not going to be practical – it’s too much like hard work. It’s time consuming and a lot of effort.
Internet provides some useful and in some cases free web services. Find the right one and it will harness the power of e-mail while centralizing organization and social interaction. I recommend http://sports.evumeet.com/ it is free and is designed specifically to assist the organization of sports played on a regular basis. Some of the many advantages that are available using an on-line tool like this are:
- Create a deicated group with all the players and event details
- Sending of invitations,
- Players can reply on-line,
- Easy to send messages to the group
- All members can be sent notifications automatically when changes are made to the event
- Create a community spirit where your players can post comments and join in on Forums and Polls and upload pictures
- Share documents with the group such as: Policies on payment, Expenses and Payments, Kitty, directions to venue
- Set automatic reminders
Now you can Relax! You have covered all the bases. If things go wrong then you have the backup plans and everything is well communicated. So enjoy the game!