Challenging the perceptions of sport

People participate in sport for a number of reasons. As a sporting club, it is important you understand what factors assist participation in sport and what factors limit or prohibit it. Below are some of the perceived barriers to sport and how your club can address them.

Welcoming and inclusive:

The perception that sporting clubs are exclusive and only accepting of certain people is common. When advertising your club, ensure that you make it clear your club is welcoming and inclusive of all, regardless of age, gender, culture, ethnicity etc. Another way to address this perception could include incorporating a welcoming pack into your club to make new members feel more included. Below are some resources you may like to consider for your club.



The costs associated with joining a sporting club can be quite high, and are often a barrier to participation for many. Consider what current membership options your club has. Is there a way in which these costs can be reduced or even eliminated? Have you considered flexible membership options? Consider:

  • First time free/come and try events: Opening your club up to invite people to try your sport before they join is a great way of giving them a taste of your sport and who your club is.
  • Pay as you go: If someone can’t commit to frequent sessions, can they pay only each time they participate?
  • Shared membership: Similar to a pay as you go membership, if someone cannot commit to frequent sessions, having one membership to share between two people could also be something for your club to consider.


Modified activities:

Many individuals may be limited (by age, ability, location, time etc.) in what they can do, so introducing a modified version of your sport that can be played by anyone, anywhere might be an option. Modified versions would also be beneficial when introducing someone to your sport for the first time. For example:



A lot of people have the perception that fences around sporting facilities are to keep people out, when in most cases they are actually to keep balls and equipment in! How would you rate your clubs facilities in terms of accessibility? Below are some things to consider when looking at your facility accessibility:

  • Can someone just turn up at a time that suits them and be able to use your facilities?
  • Are up-to-date contact details of a club person available?
  • If the facility does need to be locked, can you open it one hour earlier or later than normal for those coming for a social time?
  • Also consider what costs are associated with using your facility. Can they be reduced or even eliminated?
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