Returning to Play – Is it right for your club?

Sport is the lifeblood of happy, healthy and safe communities. It is fantastic news that community sport is returning and clubs are adapting to the new landscape that COVID-19 brings. Many clubs have already done a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to ready themselves for a safe return to play. 

Sports Focus too has now individually reached out to all of our 233 members. The rich information we have gained during these conversations will continue to inform the support we offer clubs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Something we regularly heard from our members through our discussions however was a feeling of ‘pressure’ to return to play. 

Regardless of whether your club chooses to return to play soon or not, what’s important to consider is what is actually driving your club’s decision? Is the driving force financial or welfare based? Is a return to play the best decision for your club, members and volunteers? Have you frankly and realistically looked at what steps and protocols are now required of your players and volunteers?

Sports Focus want to support your club to make an informed decision about returning to play. One that is right for your club and your volunteers.

Have you asked?

Do you have an accurate, thorough and current understanding of how your players, members and volunteers feel about returning to play? We encourage you to ask and to ask often. Some clubs have done this well through Facebook polls, anonymous Survey Monkey links or via regular empathetic conversations with their members. What are their concerns? What are their expectations? What would they like to see from the club before they return? What do they need to feel comfortable?

It hopefully goes without saying that no-one should feel pressured to return to play. We are all experiencing the pandemic in individual and personal ways. Have you reached out to your club’s most vulnerable? What about your club volunteers? How do they feel about a return to competition or training? What concerns do they have? Has their capacity to volunteer changed now that they have a greater understanding of the increased workload? Do they require more information before they can make their decision?

Likewise, for clubs who may be feeling the pressure to get something happening soon, it’s important to consider that the feedback you received towards the start of the pandemic, may no longer be current. The importance of regular communication with your players and volunteers has only been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you would like further support to help make an informed decision about whether returning to play is right for your club community, please contact the Sports Focus office on 5442 3101 or email covid19@sportsfocus.com.au