Oh how the codes fight over our children
THERE are wars going on all the time in the battle for junior sport supremacy.
There are so many codes/sports/recreational pursuits for the kids and only enough money and time to choose a couple at best.
Offers, vouchers and deals are all added to registrations to not only convince little Jess or Johnny, but also the 'taxi driver' and financial guardian of the household.
It would seem strange then, with all the other choices available, that teams in the same code do not share a common aim and direction towards making their code the best viable option.
Far too often we see teams and clubs fighting for their best interest to the detriment of the game they love. Association meetings extend into more of a "what about us" then "what can we do to help the association/game grow".
It's a difficult balance because all clubs want to be successful, but if that is at the expense of the game, the end result may be a less functional competition, fewer members and another rung lower on the participation wish list.
Petty squabbling on minor issues can become detrimental to potential members and all for a piece of silverware that can be more important beyond the boundary than it is on the field.
Associations need a three to five year plan and have the clubs with them to buy into that plan. A simple contract with code of behaviour and expectations needs to be part of an ongoing agreement. As difficult as it is, the association cannot be held to ransom by clubs that are paying to be part of their organisation. The only robust discussions should be on future direction, and if not, the guidelines and expectations are not clear enough.
Things like player caps on teams seem unfair but a side that needs seven players and has 20, seems pointless on many fronts let alone if their opponents cannot fill their teams. Combined advertising, association coaching days and strong financial support are all facets of being able to assist in the spread of talent and support to all clubs.
There are plenty of models and successful ideas out there so no one should have to reinvent the wheel. What will work for someone else won't automatically work for your organisation but it gives ideas and frameworks that can be adopted as steps forward on the never-ending path of improvement. The important part is everyone going in the same direction and accepting what is good for the game goes first.
If a club is putting up hurdles rather than rendering assistance, the hard decisions need to be made and the strength of the contract should support those decisions.
It's a bit like cutting off a gangrene limb.
It's a very tough decision to make but the body becomes stronger over time.