Developing a positive culture at your local club

By Sports Community
June 27, 2013

Defining culture is actually quite difficult and challenging.  If you Google the word culture searching for the definition you will be able to choose from thousands of options. If we borrow the definition used by

“The values and behaviours that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization”

And then there is Pippa Grange’s definition (Pippa is the author of the Bluestone Report – a review of culture and leadership in Australian Swimming undertaken after the poor results of the 2012 London Olympics of the Australian Swimming Team.

“Culture is a complex, multi-faceted and multi-layered phenomenon that is socially learned and transmitted between people. It is about behaviours, beliefs, symbols, norms and expectations. It grows over time and can be directed and shaped with strong leadership and sound methodologies.”

Great club cultures arise through conscious behaviours that result in members and supporters having a positive and “pleasant” experience at the club.  The following factors should be considered and developed in your clubs attempt to establish a club culture:

  • Clearly defined competitive objectives of the club, i.e. is the club focused on maximising participation, maximising sporting performances (premierships, gold medals etc) or both
  • A safe, non-threatening environment for all
  • A strong sense of inclusion and belonging
  • Welcoming of new players, members and supporters and how they will be inducted positively into the club and its culture
  • Continual flow of positive and negative feedback delivered in a constructive manner
  • A strong communication strategy so club stakeholders are continually informed and empowered with the information they need
  • Strategies for the club to develop its individuals as sports people and also as individuals who contribute to their club and the broader community.
  • A program that develops leaders at all levels of the club, ensuring each understands why the club culture is so important and their role upholding the club values and behaviours.


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