31st May, 2021 — Membership and management
How to keep connected online
During COVID-19 lockdowns, many Good Sports clubs were doing amazing work keeping their communities inspired and together, even from a distance.
Despite restrictions lifting, staying connected continues to be important for community sports clubs. People are involved in community sport for many different reasons, but among them is a common thread. Clubs create a space to develop friendships and bonds that can last a lifetime.
Encouraging positive social connections in a club environment can help members to improve and maintain good mental health and manage stress better, particularly if they can’t train or compete.
We know clubs are stronger together - and there are a range of creative ways to stay connected online.
These tips can also help keep everyone in shape and socialising during the off season. Training might not be running, but it doesn’t mean the team has to drift apart!
Inspiration for staying connected
Make your catch-ups virtual
- Schedule virtual committee meetings, quiz nights or team talks. Many platforms offer multi-way video calling, including WhatsApp, Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Houseparty.
- Have a distance movie night. Some streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney+ are offering group watch’ services, which synchronises the video and creates a chat. If your platform doesn’t offer this, counting down to hitting ‘play’ over the phone and texting while you watch will work too.
Try an activity together
- Try a new skill together. Pick an online tutorial for training drills or workouts. This is a great way to keep the team’s skills tip top in the off season. Challenge members to all attempt the same tutorial and share your results.
- Sign up for a fitness class. Many gyms, local leagues or associations and state and national sporting bodies are now offering online classes for home-based exercise that you can sign up for together.
- Learn the rules. Most sporting bodies have online tutorials or webinars explaining the rules and regulations of their game. Now is a great time for players to brush up on their knowledge.
Get competitive (or co-operative)
- Play virtual games. Some club members may have access to sports video games such as soccer or basketball. Get them connected to play against each other online. There are also free versions of classics like chess, dominos and scrabble-type games available to keep you entertained and connected.
- Create player profiles. Club members can interview each other with a set of questions to create player profiles that can then be shared online or in newsletters.
Members without internet access?
- Set a regular time to talk. Scheduling a regular phone call with an isolated person can help give you both something to look forward to.
- Ask new questions. It can be surprising the things we may never get the chance to learn about our teammates or family members. There are many lists of questions online you can use for inspiration. Consider things such as: “What’s the most unusual thing that’s ever happened to you in a match?”, “What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever done?”, or “What’s your favourite memory of playing for this club?”
Creating a social ‘new normal’
We should make sure that staying social and connected to others becomes a habit – remotely and in person. Although it might feel strange at first, be bold with suggesting new ways for your club’s members to maintain the bonds you’ve all worked so hard to make.
Some of the inspiration above is bound to lead to a few laughs together, and you might create a fun new tradition with your teammates.