March 15, 2019

Self-Pay Helps Cash-strapped Clubs Provide More Access to Analysis

Written by:
Coach Logic

Among their many virtues, sports clubs are a breeding ground for talented sportsmen and women. Whether it is the local rugby club down the road that serves the immediate community or a club with teams in regional and national leagues, the sports club provides a place where players and coaches go to hone their skills and develop a wide range of technical and behavioural skills and qualities.

And while players come and go – moving to new clubs, moving away from the area, or retiring form the sport – the sports club is a constant, providing a place where sporting talent is bred, reared and nurtured.

Running a sports club is an expensive business. The list of outgoings is endless: equipment, facilities, maintenance, club kit, transport, insurance, league fees – the list goes on. The job of treasurer or financial officer for most amateur or semi-professional clubs across the UK is all about balancing the books and making sure the club keeps its head above water.

One very rough calculation made by a club member connected to a semi-professional rugby club in the north of the UK suggests that it costs between £150-180k per season to run a team. That figure takes into account travel, medical supplies, refreshments, coaching costs, paying the players a match fee and all the other costs of running a team.

The financial costs to a totally amateur club would look very different as the players ‘wages’ could be discounted, but you are still looking at a sizeable amount of money just to get a team on the pitch, let alone paying for the club infrastructure.

A lucky few clubs might attract sponsors. Rugby Union clubs are particularly strong in this area. Town-based or regional rugby clubs have a strong tradition in attracting sponsors from local businesses. It’s the same for local football clubs, where a local company – often with a personal interest in the club, such as a son or daughter playing for the club – will sponsor an aspect of the clubs expenses, such as team kit or travel expenses.

Oban Lorne Rugby - a club who've managed to thrive despite growing costs, especially travel from their base on the west coast of Scotland.

A club might also focus its members’ efforts on fundraising for a specific project. For some clubs fundraising is a means of keeping its head above water but for many clubs, fundraising takes place to raise the money to support a specific cause. Car washes, sponsored events, ‘buy a brick’ campaigns – these are all ways that sports clubs can raise money for improving the club house or investing in a new piece of equipment.

There is also the option of raising finance – i.e. getting people or businesses to invest in the club. This is usually a more long-term process than fundraising and involves some return to those investing their money. Whether it is a traditional finance route or using something such as crowd-funding, by demonstrating that there is public confidence, a club can often build on this particular revenue stream.

Set against the ever-increasing costs of running a club, persuading the organising committee to invest in a training aid such as subscription to Coach Logic is one very large ask. But it is a question of balance and what the club or team is aiming for.

The benefits of using the collaborative video analysis platform are very clear. Improved player understanding and decision-making, creation of an athlete-centred environment, the ability to focus on specific areas with individual athletes; maintaining contact and consistency remotely; providing feedback that can be viewed at a time that suits the athletes – the list of benefits, to both the team overall performance and individual player development is endless.

The cost however, for some clubs can be prohibitive. When clubs are operating on the financial edge, every penny counts and forking out a few hundred pounds for the first XI or first XV may come a poor second choice to paying competition entry fees for the juniors, or teas for the season.

This is something that Andy and Mark at Coach Logic have recognised. Both co-founders come from grass roots sport and realise the financial strain that clubs up and down the country are under. By creating the Self Pay option, a team coach can start for as little as £4.99 per month. This gets the coach ten hours of video upload. They can then invite their team who'll join them for an additional monthly fee of £4.99 per user.

This sets the baseline from which the coaches and players work, then the players, in effect, self-fund their development and learning.

It is a move towards increasing player accountability for their own development of which former England hockey international, New Zealand Hockey Masters coach and sports science lecturer Kirsten Spencer approves.

“As players move from club to club, they take their learning with them,” she says. “It makes sense for them to make some contribution towards that learning, and video analysis, per se, is such an important learning tool. It provides the player with invaluable feedback on their own performance.”

The introduction of Self-Pay means that video analysis is opened to a much wider range of players within the club and it also means that players are contributing towards their own development, without a huge financial burden on the club.

David Harte gives his backing towards player buy-in for analysis. Photo.

The concept of sharing the financial load and encouraging players to take a higher level of accountability for their own learning also meets the approval of one of legends of Irish Hockey, Davey Harte.

The Olympian and twice International Hockey Federation Goalkeeper of the Year is adamant.

“Would I pay to get professional and high quality video analysis? Yes, without a doubt. It makes a huge difference to both my own game and the team as a whole. Paying a small monthly amount for that level of self-knowledge is a tiny price to pay.”

To sign up for a self-pay account, click here.

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