“Those that fail to Learn from History are Doomed to Repeat it”
Toward the finish line of the season, it is recommended that club directors run some checks and balances to evaluate if your club is running on all cylinders, and identify the changes that can be made before next season.
Here are five signs your club is ready for a significant change:
- Club has Grown a Lot Over the Past Year
Growth in participation numbers means more work load on your staff and more bodies in the gym. This may result in the need for more gym space, and potentially your own volleyball facility to run your programs. In addition, you will need to take into account the growth in the number of athletes and coaches as you forecast your club’s uniform order for next season.
- Your Club is Consistently Losing Athletes to Another Club
If you are losing athletes each season, you need to make some significant changes to the product and service you are offering. Clubs located in dense junior volleyball markets will naturally face some recruiting battles before, during, and after tryouts, and it is important for clubs to continue to strive to improve your club’s service to retain your members. It is also critical for clubs to identify and understand your target market. Survey your parents and athletes, both during the season and at the end of the season, to receive valuable feedback before making changes. It is critical to retain this year’s athletes and put together a plan to sell to new ones.
- There is Uncertainty About your Club’s Mission, Direction and Goals Among Players and Staff
Your club cannot be all things to all people. It may be time to create a new 5 year plan. Before you take steps to plan ahead for next season, survey your staff and members. Then sit down with your club leadership to review feedback and identify how your club can better meet the expectations of your members. Communication and consistency are important in identifying your club’s mission and direction.
- You Are Losing Money
Unfortunately, not every club is able to sustain and stay afloat. Majority of club directors are running a club on the side while working their full time job. Some directors decide to go all in and lease a facility, and then realize there is a whole other side to running a club. If your club is losing money, identify where, and start seeking solutions. It is important that you run your club like a business if you want it to thrive and stay in the green.
- You have Lost Valuable Coaches/Staff for a Variety of Reasons
Coaches are the livelihood of every volleyball club. Coaches are the connection to the athletes, the difference makers, the x factors, and the ones who provide your service. It is important to lead by example, and keep your great coaches coaching. Find great coaches, and then do everything in your power (that is realistic) to keep them. Is it salary? Is it parent conflicts? Is it difference in coaching philosophy? Don’t keep letting the great ones go without making some changes. Personal reasons, moving to another state, career changes, are unavoidable. As a club director, find ways to attract and retain your quality coaching staff year after year.
Steps to Evaluate the Current Status of Your Club
- What is your club’s niche? Are you serving that niche?
- What is your club’s primary mission now? What do you want to be? What actions or changes are you prepared to make to get where you want to go.
- Understand the current state of club volleyball in your area: Is there an opportunity to fill a gap? Is there an opportunity to work with another club? Host a new event?
- Reach out to at least one other club outside of your general area that you believe is doing what you are trying to do or maybe already doing it. Determine if you can share ideas or strategies with them.
- Establish a one, three and five-year plan if you do not have one yet. If you do have one, review it to make sure you are on track and following through with execution.
Steps to Execute a Plan
A plan is important, but the execution of the plan is more important. The nature of planning is not about having a lot of action Items. Often times clubs have long lists of actions. Before having a bunch of actions or a long to-do-list, build the action items based on an approach that is focused on the big picture and 5 year plan. The process is based on a top down view that is executed bottom up.
- Set Goals. Do the Goals Support where you want to go as a Club?
- State the Objectives: To accomplish a goal, there needs to be objectives for each one. How does each Objective support one or more Goals?
- List the Actions: For each objective, key actions will be needed to executed. How does each Action support the one or more Objective?”
It is recommended that clubs update your business plan on an annual basis. Seek outside help such as an advisor or third party that is not directly impacted by the changes or does not operate within the club on a regular basis. This will help you create a plan that everyone involved can buy into.
About the Author
This article was co-written by Briana Schunzel, JVA Director of Marketing, Education and Partner Relations, and Phil Bush, a Sales, Marketing and Strategic Planning Consultant with MavRen Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia.
Briana has been with the JVA since August 2011, helping the JVA membership grow from 250 clubs to 1,300 junior volleyball clubs today. Bri enjoys interacting with passionate junior volleyball club directors and coaches on a daily basis, as well as building relationships with partners who share the same vision and goals of the JVA, and are all about giving back to the juniors.
Phil was one of the Founders of A5, a JVA Member Volleyball Club catering to young players from age of 8 to 18. The Club grew rapidly in the Atlanta area to become one of the Premier Youth Sports organizations in Club Volleyball anywhere in United States. To contact Phil via email click here.