EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

5 ways to boost your numbers

Don’t find yourself short of players for next season. Harness the power of parents to swell your ranks in August and September – these tips will help you plan your recruitment campaign.

1  Plant the seed at school before the break

Most kids won’t be thinking about rugby and certainly won’t be considering joining a team. But you can still plant the seed in their minds. How? By asking your own players to talk about next year to their mates.

More importantly, work on the “school gate” jungle drums. Ask parents of your own players to mention it to their friends at pick-up time or at the end-of-term barbeque.

2  Bring-a-friend training

When the season starts, it’s difficult for new players to pitch up and join an established team. They’ll be nervous enough just trying out a new sport.

So consider holding a special training session where you encourage new players to come along. If you promote it in the right way, you may well attract a new crowd.

A good training session is essential, but parental support on the sidelines is even more important. Assign some parents to act as liaisons to answer questions, chat, or hand out drinks and cakes.

Generally, a good club side creates friendships on all levels and this will keep the players coming, whatever the weather.

3  Twitter and Facebook drive

Are you getting the theme now? The kids are important, but the parents are even more crucial. Keep copying in or sharing posts with parents of potential players.

Upbeat messages during the summer, even on a basic level (“I can’t wait for next season” etc), will provide a drip-drip effect that helps persuade others to join.

4  Back to school

The season starts in earnest once the kids are back at school. Now is the time to work at the school gates and on social media. Lots of small messages lots of the time.

Follow up players with other players. Find out why they’re not coming. And make sure the first sessions are still open, with plenty of support for new players and parents.

5  PE staff

Drop a line to the PE staff at the start of the year, because they’re often keen to help their better athletes get involved in team sport. If not the PE staff, then the head teacher.

A quick call or note to put on the school website – talking about the community benefits of the local club – can help push a player towards your club.

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