Great club culture is the sum of all the parts – and the right actions are key. Club culture is the sum of all of its parts; the values, beliefs and attitudes and the behaviours of all the people in and around the club. The key fostering a deeply respectful culture and shifting it into gear is getting people’s actions right at every turn – all the people connected to the club.

This doesn’t come from the top. It depends on everyone being across their right actions; having support available to them and knowing how to support others in their roles, too. Everyone at your club is in the mix; volunteers, team managers, coaches, parents, players, spectators, supporters, the president and committee. Below, Club Respect places a ‘right actions’ lens over each of these roles.

  • President

    You significantly shape club culture. For good or for bad, that’s your call. We know about the ones who boss, patronise or intimidate people, rule by control and don’t listen. They know it all. They abuse their power. And communication? What communication?

    There are presidents who get their clubs into good positions financially and with plenty of trophies. Yet there are underlying issues with their club. Some coaches abuse their young charges without being pulled up, club resources favour men and boys and women are more likely to be serving in the canteen.

    Then there are the presidents who want to see their club as a place of deep respect, safety, fairness, fun and success. The club is exceptional in its embrace of diversity. Resources are used fairly. Men and women work alongside each other in all aspects of the club.

    These clubs win on and off the field. They are a force within their local communities. Club Respect is for this kind of president and leader.

    Club Presidents need to:

    • lead and enhance the club at all times
    • together with the committee, oversee the club’s strategic plan and shared vision for the club
    • chair the club committee and manage the key people within the club
    • delegate roles to effective and responsible members
    • monitor actions around the club for consistency with club values
    • liaise with outside agencies
    • deal with media as required.

     

    Club President’s responsibilities are to:

    • make sure that club decision-making is transparent and democratic
    • model club values to all members
    • listen to the feedback from members
    • ensure honesty in financial decisions and compliance with legal requirements
    • make sure the club enforces the code of conduct
    • represent the club to the larger governing body
    • deal honestly and fairly with members and the general public when issues arise
    • work for the greater good of the club.

    Here are some important steps to becoming an awesome President, leading positive change.

    Club Respect Tips for the President

  • Committee Member

    Club committees do a lot of heavy lifting for the club. Their impact is powerful – for good or for bad. You can tell when a club is in poor shape when bad behavior is commonplace and not dealt with properly by a club committee.

    Membership falls away. Sponsors and volunteers are hard to attract. Players are not united. Parents leave in droves. These clubs tend to be controlled by domineering ‘know it all’ types who don’t listen, who treat people disrespectfully, and who rely on having a group of cronies around them.

    For a club to become a place of respect, safety, fun, fairness and success, committees need to know how to apply the good governance principles and practice which will get them there.

    Some issues a committee might face rumnlings of discontent:

      • the annual fees
      • the perceived inequality in allocation of resources to different teams, to males and females, to juniors and seniors
      • a lack of transparency as to how the fees are spent
      • reliance on poker machine and/or alcohol sales
      • the influence of sponsors.

     

    Ways you can take action:

      • Just as it is the responsibility of all members to pay their fees, it is equally the responsibility of the club committee to be transparent about the use of these fees by publishing the annual budget and showing exactly how the money is spent.
      • Club members should always be able to find out the financial situation of the club and to see that money is being spent equitably for the good of all members.
      • Members should also know who the club’s sponsors are, and what conditions and obligations are attached to that sponsorship.

     

    Ground Rules for Meetings:

      • Think of the worst meeting that you’ve attended and ask yourself what made it so bad. You’ll probably come to the conclusion that there was no shared understanding of the behaviour expected of those present.
      • Even meetings full of people with good intentions can end up being very unsatisfying experiences. A balanced set of ground rules helps to achieve respectful discussion and productive outcomes.

    Establishing Ground Rules:

      • The meeting leader (eg. club President or other chair) establishes some ground rules for the conduct of the meeting, and;
      • That those present indicate their willingness to adhere to the agreed ground rules at the beginning of the meeting.

     

    Adopt these simple and effective ground rules:

      • We accept that everyone is entitled to have a say
      • We will make the effort to listen to one another
      • We respect people’s right to their opinions even if we disagree
      • We will try at all times to be constructive
      • We will try to stay on track
      • We will acknowledge and thank each other for contributing during the meeting and afterward.

     

    A committee can transform and build a respectful club culture when it follows a Club Respect awesome path.

    Club Respect Tips for the Committee Member

  • Coach

    Taking on the role of a sports coach is taking on a powerful leadership role. You will have an impact on people whether you choose to or not. You only get a choice as to whether that impact is positive or negative.

    The yelling, fist-thumping coach thinks nothing of intimidating or humiliating. It goes with the turf. This coach reckons it gets results. It doesn’t. Importantly, this coach is messaging to others that there is nothing wrong with screaming abuse at the opposition, at referees and at their own players, both young and old.

    Coaches committed to building a culture of respect do things differently – and they achieve greater success.

    • They set a completely different tone through composure and consideration.
    • They communicate sincerely and constructively with everyone in and around the club.
    • They treat everyone fairly, welcoming of all comers.
    • They’re powerful role models, inspiring others to follow their lead.

     

    People remember these coaches. Their impact is positive, and life-long. You can be an awesome great coach. Here’s the formula.

    Club Respect Tips for the Coach

  • Team Manager

    Team managers enable good working relationships between the club, coach, players and parents. In a club aspiring to be a place of respect, this role is integral. You have a unique vantage point, positioned to notice the attitudes and behaviours of parents, spectators, and officials.

    You’re entrusted to look after their well-being and provide honest and accurate feedback on behaviours that do not align with your club’s values and Code of Conduct. You can be an awesome team manager. Here’s the formula.

    Club Respect Tips for the Team Manager

  • Parent

    Sport can be a wonderful teacher of valuable life lessons; humility, compassion, persistence, teamwork and collaboration. Children deserve to be permitted and encouraged to experience these life lessons.

    You know when a club isn’t diligent about safeguarding this ethos. This is the sort of club where abusive parents are not sanctioned. Where coaches treat kids unfairly. Where girls, non-binary and kids with disabilities aren’t given the same opportunities as other kids. Parents feel unable to raise issues about what they see is going wrong.

    As a parent, you can play a huge role in ensuring your club is one where all kids’ sporting experiences, (not just yours,) are positive and life-affirming. Kids need parents, (you and the others,) to show them the way, to act as role models, to teach them to observe life’s boundary lines. To always guide and mentor them towards positive behaviours free of entitlement, disrespect, abuse and violence.

    This isn’t necessarily a time-consuming responsibility. But it does require you to be on the alert, to do your own bit in operating by your club’s Code of Conduct and to be prepared to call out bad behaviours in a civil and constructive way.

    Here is some Club Respect advice for being the awesome parent kids need you to be.

    Club Respect Tips for the Parent

  • Supporter

    Sports clubs simply can’t exist without you. You bring colour, enthusiasm, excitement and atmosphere to the game. You contribute the much needed funds for club operations. But there is a lot more to this than paying your dues. You determine the culture. You know that harm is being done when others around you engage in abuse, shout racist slurs and are menacing.

    Kids are there, taking it all in and maybe even thinking that this sort of offensive behaviour is ok. Lots of people will have felt a quiet distress; and the game itself is worse off.

    When there’s a mass of supporters who appreciate the benefits of a respectful, safe, fair and inclusive club culture, who easily outnumber abusive and disrespectful people, there’s less room for abusive and violent attitudes, language and behaviours.

    Want to be an awesome supporter? Here’s the Club Respect way.

    Club Respect Tips for the Supporter

  • Player

    You benefit most when you bring your best self to your sport, on and off the field or court. When you get it wrong, and your club gets it wrong, like not properly sanctioning you when you cross boundaries in cases of abuse or sexual harassment, the club pays a reputational penalty, as do you and the other players around you.

    Alternatively, when a club’s striving to be a place of respect, it will expect you, along with other players, to observe values built around respect and fairness. In agreeing to act in this way, you and the club enjoy the fruits of a strong, respectful and successful culture. No doubt, you want to be an awesome player in your club.

    Club Respect Tips for the Player

  • Volunteer

    Volunteers affect the club’s culture – for good or bad. You hear stories of volunteers who are hard to get along with, make sexist, racist or other demeaning comments and generally make others feel uneasy.

    But we also hear stories of volunteers who value teamwork, treat people with respect and openness and enjoy the company of others. It’s your choice. Want to be an awesome club volunteer?

    Club Respect Tips for the Volunteer