How to start a sports club

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How to start a sports club

For someone who loves sport and wants to marry their love for the sport and their career, a top career option would be to start their own sports club. Not quite simple to do, but it is something that requires money, patience and a whole lot of passion. But it is possible and you will see the rewards through your athletes and their performance.

So, here’s how you do it.



First of all, you’re going to need to be qualified if you want to be taken seriously and offer viable sporting advice. First aid will be essential,sports club administration skills will definitely help you as you start out, as well as any Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) application or coaching courses required for the sport of your choice. It will be assumed that you already have experience in the sport as a coach at a different club and are an ex-athlete of that sport, so make sure people are aware of the fact.

Alongside your qualifications, networking in the sports industry will prove extremely helpful as you’re starting out. Having people know your name and what you’re trying to do will bring in support from your sport’s community and that can make the whole process a lot smoother. References will also go a long way, so consider working for other sports clubs while you’re in the process of starting your own one. This way you will get experience, insight from someone who has been in the business for a long time, and a reference through which people will be drawn to your club.


Pick a discipline

Next, it’s time to pick a sport and a discipline. Obviously, it makes sense to choose a sport that you’re familiar with and are qualified to coach. There needs to be a correlation between the club you own and the sport you love, otherwise, people won’t trust your skills or judgement and would rather go to a club that clearly specialises in a particular discipline.


Do your research

When you’ve decided on what your discipline will be, regardless of whether you have experience in it or not, you need to do some research.

Research everything you’re going to need to get started (reading this article is a good start), what you’re going to need, the competition and event dates for your chosen discipline, how to hold fundraisers, different coaching approaches, appropriate training programmes for athletes in your discipline, and all the rules and regulations of your sport.

You need to know all there is to know and you need to stay in the loop of any changes or updates so that your club stays relevant and on par with the other sports clubs.



Then it’s time to come up with a name, logo and slogan. Something easy to remember, that will make a statement and will assert yourself as a serious competitor and sports institution. Branding your sports club is the more exciting part of starting a club. And when you design your first draft of uniform ideas you’ll be dying to officially open your doors and train all generations of athletes.

But there are still a few more steps to complete before you can do that.



You’ll need to approach your national sports federation and register yourself and your club. For example, for a gymnastics club to be authenticated, it needs to be registered with the South African Gymnastics Federation (SAGF). From there you will be able to compete with other clubs, provinces and, eventually, countries. You can even take it a step further by registering with the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) for international recognition.

Once your brand is registered, you officially piece your sports club together.


Find a venue

Find a community of people who needs a sports club such as your own and browse around for a venue to call “home”. You’ll need to consider different renting options and venue contracts that may restrict you to certain days and times of the week, with obligatory requests, such as packing up all your equipment everyday or once a week so that the space can be used for another group. Look at your training programme and find a place that doesn’t require you to compromise on the training time your athletes need.

The easiest option, however, would be to buy your own place where you make all the rules and possibly even hire out yourself at the times you aren’t training. But that does require a sufficient amount of funds, which not many people have – especially when starting out.


Coaches and athletes

There needs to be some sort of demand in your area for the sport you bring to the community if you’re going to want to make a profit. So, before you make the large expenses, make sure you have athletes interested in starting with you. And when you have a rough idea of the number of athletes in your club, you can put together a timetable and start recruiting more great coaches to help you with the numbers.



Now it’s time to go shopping for equipment, which is usually more ridiculously expensive than you thought. But it’s definitely a necessity for most disciplines and not something you can skimp on with regards to the safety of your athletes.

This is where your networking days may come to help you. Many sports club have older (but still safe to use) equipment that they can afford to sell, rent or donate to your sports club. You will also be able to find out from them where the best places are to look for the equipment you need and how to know if you’re being ripped off.

And all that’s left is to construct a fees system and advertise that you’re officially open for business.

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