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What to consider before becoming a sports club president

14 Feb 2024

So, you are considering becoming a sports club President, or you have been asked to take on the role.

Congratulations! it’s a hugely important role and a great honour that can make a positive difference to many people.

But before you accept the role make sure you consider some of the challenges that lie ahead.

Impact of the role on your family

In today’s world the role of club president is 24/7, 365 days a year.

The demands on your time can be non-stop so you must consider how this will affect your family.

We strongly recommend you have a discussion with your family and what this will mean to them. Will you expect them to also join you in club activities? Will your potential election mean there will be long periods of time you will not be home? How will your family deal with the late night absences and phone calls that will inevitably come?

It is vitally important you are realistic and upfront with your family on what being president of your local club means to them and allow them feedback on the matter.

Impact on your employer

Likewise, for all the reasons detailed above, you should also consider discussing with your employer that you are thinking of taking on the role of club president and that from time to time this may require a little bit of flexibility to answer calls or to go to the club during work hours.
If you are self-employed, make sure you understand how many hours you can devote to the role as the role has the potential to become all-consuming and can be detrimental to your own business.

Understanding your own motives

Why are you considering the role? Is it to support the club and contribute to your community? Is it simply your turn? Is it a nice feeling to have the title, responsibility and power? Is there something you want to see achieved? All of the above are very valid reasons but to do a good job, you need to understand both your own motivations and balance these off against the needs of the club.

Keep in mind most presidential roles at local clubs are voluntary so you will be giving something up, whether it’s time or money (or both), in order to perform the role, so make sure your motivations are clear and consistent with the needs of the club.

How will you get the information, knowledge and skills you need for the role?

Being a club president can be a very complex role as you need to understand all parts and functions of the club.
Consider how you will empower yourself to be an effective president from day one. Are their past presidents or experienced club administrators that you can talk to?

Do you have friends doing a similar role at another club? It doesn’t matter if they are president of a club participating in another sport, they will have valuable insights on how you can successfully undertake the role.

Of course, one of the most important ways to get the information you need is to become a Sports Community member so you are continually getting the latest news and information. There are also a number of online training courses on the Sports Community website, especially for club Presidents and their committees.

Understanding your objectives for the club

What do you want to achieve upon becoming a sports club President? How will you look back on your time and say whether you were a successful President?

If you are going to take the role it is important to agree with your new committee immediately on what the objectives of the club are for the next couple for years, if they are not already in place.

Keep in mind, you are not just going along for the ride, your tenure and legacy will be judged by others so it is important that you have a strategic plan with goals and objectives in place.

Make this a priority when you assume the president’s role. Communicate your plans to the wider club community so everyone can see where you’re heading and why decisions are made.

Who is going to be in your team?

It is very difficult to be a successful president without a strong committee and a strong team of club volunteers. Who is going to be on your team?

Are you choosing these people for their skills, passion and ability to deliver or simply because they are good people who want to be involved?

Ideally your team should have a balance of expertise and enthusiasm. It is crucial to get your team together as soon as possible so you can hit the ground running.

READ HERE: The process of becoming a sports club president

What sort of President are you going to be?

Will your style be a dictatorial style or will it be more inclusive, seeking people’s opinion and input every step of the way? Are you going to be hands-on or delegatory? It’s very easy to be too much of one and not the other, and most err on the side of too hands-on. In other words, ‘Delegate don’t suffocate”. Delegation means you can trust others to get things done rather than doing them yourself and burning out.

Club rules and responsibilities

Make sure you have read the club rules and understand the responsibilities of the role. It can save you a lot of time and grief if you take the time to read your club rules because we guarantee some of your members already know them inside out.

Are you ready to inspire?

Whether you like it or not, your fellow committee members, your players, members, supporters and the community will be looking to you to lead the club. Do you have the ability to influence people so they come on your journey and contribute to the goals of the club? How will you do this?

Succession planning

The greatest recruit a president can ever make on behalf of the club is the next president.
So from day one in the role you should be looking to identify and prepare the next president. Why? Because if you don’t identify this person then there are only two choices when your tenancy is up; you continue in the role or the club folds.
This a fairly confronting scenario but that is the reality. So, identify and train your successor and this will ensure an orderly and successful handover of your club.
Remember, it is your responsibility to leave the club in a better position than when you took on the role.
It all sounds rather daunting, but if you consider each of these areas prior to taking on the role it will hopefully ensure that you and those around you enjoy your time as a successful club president.