Club’s vary wildly in how well they manage people’s health and well-being. There’s a bit of ‘that’s not my problem’, sometimes. Other times, people simply don’t know how to help.
If someone has or is thinking about asking for support, they’ll only follow through if they feel their peers encourage reaching out and are prepared to meaningfully support them in whatever way that person needs.
When a club commits to becoming a place of respect, fun, fairness, safety and success, by definition, it’s committing to an intrinsic involvement in the well-being of its people.
There will always be issues of health and well-being in any community of people. It’s extremely likely that more of your peers than you realise are grappling with issues like anxiety, depression, grief and loss, eating disorders, an abusive relationship, a drink or other drug problem, problems at home with the kids or issues at work.
Sports clubs are no exception. In fact, they’re the place people are most likely to seek support, and so are enormously powerful.
People in clubs need to feel confident that they can have their say and know that they’re being heard and respected.
Members become frustrated if:
Sometimes clubs don’t even bother to provide decent feedback mechanisms. Some people think it’s okay to air their opinions in aggressive and destructive ways, which doesn’t help either.
A club aspiring to be a place of respect, safety, fun, fairness and success will make sure that it has good processes for hearing what it’s supporters and members have to say. These clubs act on feedback in ways that are transparent and meaningful.
They see listening to their members as opportunities for growth.
Some golden rules for dealing with feedback:
Create opportunities for people to give their feedback –
If your club has the capacity, nominate someone who you feel people in and around the club would feel comfortable talking with.
Their role would be:
Most people don’t talk just to listen to their own voice. People want to connect.
By all means be discerning, but trust people when they’re talking about their own feelings and experiences.
Step 2 – Act on it
When someone listens and acts constructively on the feedback, everyone wins. It could be as simple as:
If the outcome is a reasonable response to the feedback, it will usually be accepted in good faith.
Step 3 – Point people in the right direction
Direct people to the most appropriate person to talk to if it isn’t yourself. This ties in with the need to have known processes in place for people around the club to give feedback.
The 10 Golden Rules of working with Volunteers:
Clubs have a wonderful opportunity to create a place that contributes positively to the well-being of people in the local community. A scan of the factors affecting our communities’ health and wellbeing right now, gives us insight into the needs of people in our clubs.
Here are some telling facts:
We can expect these national trends, as well as others, to be reflected in our clubs. Sport mirrors society. So, what role is there for sporting clubs in helping their members who are dealing with these issues?
If you look back at the data, you’ll notice that all of these issues are preventable. That is, with the right information, provided in the right way, clubs could, at a minimum, educate people about the causes and cures of these diseases.
Below are some helpful tips and resources to educate yourself and your members about some of these serious, life changing factors. Most importantly, these resources give you the language to talk about these issues and point people to places where they can access help.
You’re not expected to be an expert in disease prevention. But you can be a vital link between your club members and the information and resources that can contribute to their well-being.
Depression and Anxiety
Member Protection Information Officers
Club members trust the process at the club and know that the club appreciates feedback. In fact, giving any type of feedback is encouraged.
Club members have access to raise an issue and provide feedback, however it’s not well communicated to all members.
Club members won’t know who to contact about an issue, but if the club knows about it they will try to resolve it.
Club members don’t feel a connection to the club and don’t trust issues will be resolved.