Club Development Day – November 2015

OAC held a Club Development Day in November to consider the current health of the Club and to consider how best to develop and structure the Club to ensure a secure and sustainable future. Here now is a quick overview of what was covered on the day.

Coaching Structure

One of the main discussions on the day was the issue of the coaching structure both now and in the future. The fundamental work of the club is the provision of athletic coaching and competition opportunity for all and in order to achieve this, a clear athlete pathway and coaching structure is essential.

In order to facilitate the desired athlete pathway and future growth – a need was identified for more coaching team members, increased coach training and mentoring opportunities and the development of more event specific coaches.

Costed coach development plans and targeted coach recruitment efforts are now planned with the aim of improving the range and depth of the athlete coaching offer in the future.

Membership Survey 2015

The feedback from the Membership Survey informed all parts of the day’s discussion and gave a welcome insight into the wider view of the work undertaken by the club. The response rate was 33%, from which the club was given an overall rating of 8 (out of a possible 10).

Respondents felt the club did well at:-

  • Engaging and encouraging athletes
  • Competition Organisation – both home and away
  • Coaches – knowledgeable, organised and approachable
  • Communication with athletes/parents
  • Well run sessions
  • Involving parents
  • Awards Night

Respondents felt the club could do better at:-

  • Competition Information – Selection criteria, more advance notice
  • Range of events offered eg. Throws
  • Awareness of annual Membership Fees in addition to Term Fees
  • Communication – too much reliance on Facebook, more PR opportunities. General Club Information
  • Training Sessions – Term Dates/Times notified in advance. Information to parents on session content
  • Competition opportunities for older athletes
  • Links with the community
  • Length of time required in order to get a club vest!

Many of the issues identified through the survey were discussed during the day and will inform the ongoing development work.

Huge thanks to all of you who took the time to complete the survey, your input was hugely valuable.

Club Governance

The club committee had a busy day looking at risk management and identifying ways in which these risks can be addressed and mitigated against. The committee also considered the best legal structure for the club and are now considering changing from an unincorporated association to that of a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation).

Committee members also took a look at the current committee structure and considered its suitability for the more ‘business-like’ direction in which the club is moving. Further work is to be undertaken to replace the existing committee structure with that of a Management Committee, informed via specific sub groups. These sub groups will be responsible for undertaking specific aspects of the club work and will allow the workload to be spread over a larger number of people.

Discussion was also held in relation to volunteer recruitment, retention and reward with agreement being reached on a need for greater clarity on the various roles, awareness of expectations, greater sharing of workload, training and an improved system for recognising and rewarding the efforts of all volunteers.

Communication both within the club and with the membership and wider community was also touched upon during the day, with a recognition that greater open-ness and awareness of the structures, policies and procedures is required. A communication plan is to be compiled to ensure that all relevant club information is conveyed and clear systems are in place to ensure that queries and feedback are dealt with effectively and promptly.

Coaching Issues

The coaching team were also busy, initially looking at the information and resources required by both new and developing, athletes and coaches. The feedback generated as part of these discussions will inform the development of a number of issues including; the coaching structure, athlete and coach information handbooks, athlete intake arrangements, competition selection arrangements and coach development plans.

Club coaching team members (and a number of club athletes) also took advantage of a great opportunity to gain some new practical coaching tips from experienced Edinburgh Athletic Club coaches John and Ann Scott. An increased focus on securing the fundamental movements in athletics was supported by a range of exercises aimed at improving core strength and flexibility.

Both coaching team members and athletes alike appeared to appreciate and benefit from this session – a lot of which has already (and will continue to be) incorporated into the training sessions, with the aim of ensuring that our athletes minimise the chance of injury, gain skills at an age and stage appropriate to their development and maximise their performance.

Round-up and Social Gathering

At the end of the afternoon sessions all committee and coaching team members gathered for a final round-up and shared information about what had been discussed, learnt and experienced.

The Development Day was a first for OAC – and also (we understand) for Scottish athletic clubs! I think it was safe to say that the day was a resounding success, providing a fantastic opportunity for all club volunteers to get together and discuss the current health and future direction of the club.

A short informal gathering (featuring drinks and nibbles) concluded the day and even attracted a couple of folk who hadn’t been strong-armed into being there on the day!

Speaking of those who were ‘encouraged’ to attend! Huge thanks are due to all committee and coaching team members who came along – especially to those who made all of the lovely soup, sandwiches, homebakes and cups of tea and coffee throughout the day. Also to those who moved, carried, promoted, transported and tidied-up both before, during and after the event and a mention should also be given to the KGS staff who did a brilliant job in accommodating our needs in a great venue.

For those of you who missed it – don’t worry – we hope that this was just the first of such days and would plan to run some similar form of open event annually. More on that over the coming months!

Feedback from those who attended the day is detailed below and please be assured that full details of the planned developments and ways in which you can input into them will be communicated to you all in due course.

One opportunity available to you shortly is the forthcoming Club AGM (notification of date will be circulated soon). As always, the AGM is an event to which you are all welcomed and as well as providing an opportunity to find out what’s been happening in the Club over the last year, it’s also a great chance for you to get involved with helping to shape the Club in the future.

The Club is going through an exciting period of development and there’s been a huge amount of fantastic work undertaken by a number of volunteers over the years to get it to this stage. A number of these volunteers have given a huge amount of time and energy to the Club and it is only right that they should feel able to step back a little. However, this can only happen if others come forward to help out.

So, if you wish to see the Club continue to thrive in the future and have ideas on ways in which this could be achieved, or are interested in helping out with any aspect of the work of the Club – we would love to hear from you!

OAC Coaching Team, Committee and Club Together Officer

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