From the JVA Office: 3 Ways to Turn the Chapter on this Season


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As your club is about to write the final chapter for the '16-'17 club season, club directors are already planning a new one. While you lay down the blueprint for next season, it's common to reflect, evaluate and raise some questions for next season.

Here are some ways to turn the chapter:

1.  EVALUATE

Being critical when evaluating your club's season is important in making changes for next season. Some components of your club in which you can evaluate are:

  • Club Management: How well did you manage your club

    • Finances: Review your budget and evaluate where you could improve, cut costs, spend more to benefit your business.
    • Structure: The people you have in place to help with daily operations play a large part in the direction your club will go. Are they meeting the needs of your club and members or is it time for change?
    • Marketing: What does the club volleyball community in your area say about your club? Do they know about the programs you are offering? Getting a positive name in your community is important for future growth and marketing is an integral component to getting people in the door.
    • Communication: How well did you communicate with your coaching staff and members of your club? Do you have a system to keep your club connected? You need to consistently give information to the members of your club rather than expect them to find it themselves. Find a communication tool and system for delivering content and news to your members in the most convenient way possible.
    • Scheduling: Review the tournaments your teams participated in this season. Did the teams have a great experience? Was the level of competition good enough for those teams or do you need to find events that are more competitive? Make sure you are placing your teams in quality events that are organized and ensure a great experience for your members. If you host tournaments at your club, it is important to review each event right after it occurs, when everything is fresh in your mind, and make notes for changes you'd like to make next year (dates, age divisions, format, budget, awards, etc). 
  • Coaching Staff

    • Your coaches are in the gym spending the most time with the players, and they are the direct line of communication to the families. Find out how their experience was this season and what could make it even better. Send a survey to your coaches and ask for their feedback. Ask the coaches if they feel they have the proper tools to train the players. Find out what their least favorite part of the season was and what they enjoyed the most. It can be anonymous or not.
    • Follow up individually with an end of the year meeting to get feedback from your coaches. It's a great way to get face time, give them positive feedback, and share ways for them to improve. 
    • Evaluate whether you should make changes to your coaching roster. There may be an assistant coach who is ready for a head coaching role, or a head coach who would be better suited as an assistant. And in some cases, there may be a coach who you prefer to not return next season. These are the tough decisions that Club Directors are forced to make in order to provide the best volleyball experience for your members.

  • Customers

    • What do the parents think of how the season progressed? Do they feel their child(ren) had a positive experience and improved their skills? If you do not have happy customers, you will not keep your doors open.
    • Send out a survey to the families asking various questions regarding the entire season. These questions can include tryouts, financials, practices, coach evaluations, club director evaluation, travel, and communication.
    • Sit down with the team reps as they were around the parents all season. If you have not done so already, form a Parent Council with a team rep from each team. The Club Director and administration can hold monthly Parent Council meetings. This allows you to have a good pulse on how your customers feel all season long so you can make minor changes throughout the year, rather than wait until June and July when many families have decided to try a different club next season.
    • Asking for feedback from the players is also a great idea. Some clubs form a Player Council, similar to the Parent Council, so that representatives from each team can sit down monthly with the club leadership and discuss some ways to improve their club experience.

2.  PLAN

Take the notes and feedback from your evaluation of this season and set your to-do's for next season. Even though this season may not have ended, next season is already in close sight. Take a look at the 12 Month Calendar of a Club Director. Review what is applicable to you right now and what is in your near future to work on.

  • Set the dates for your late summer/early fall programs. Once dates are set you can plan your marketing for each program.
  • Decide if you are adding new programs or changing existing programs.
  • If hosting events, get your dates finalized and up on your website. 
  • Decide on your coaching lineup for next season. Take steps to attract and retain your coaching staff by developing a plan to stand out and make sure your coaches are being taken care of. Put your next season budget together for not only coach salaries, but also training tools that will enhance their ability to train the athletes.
  • Create a short and long-term strategic plan. Budgeting for next season should have started yesterday. Develop a plan, stick to it, and be open to change if something is not working.
  • Sit down and review leases and any other types of agreements you have for gym space. If your club policies and procedures are not clear, this is a great time to make some changes, based on that feedback you received from your surveys and end of the year meetings.
  • Create a marketing plan that involves communicating your upcoming programs to the community, promoting club coach assignment to prospective and returning members, and informing clubs about your hosted tournament dates. 

3. IMPLEMENT YOUR PLAN

Put your to-do list into action by focusing on your short term goals first. Start with what programs and events are taking place in the next 90 days and work backwards to ensure that you have a high participation and they run smoothly. Each month find time to review your long term goals and make sure your short term goals are getting you closer to the big picture.

  • Get returning and new coach commitments for next season. Update their bios, prepare their contracts and make sure they are involved in your camps and upcoming clinics so players can learn their names and develop a position player coach relationship.
  • Begin marketing your programs in the late summer/early fall while continuing to share information on your current programs. Emphasize the accomplishments your teams made this season and your existing members are achieving during the summer. 
  • Begin marketing your hosted tournaments for next season, as well as your coaches for next season.
  • Be ready to make changes. Even though you made a plan, you need to be ready to change that plan, even at the last minute.
  • Enhance your productivity and efficiency of your club operations. In a recent JVA webinar Premier Academy Club Director Jodi Schramm shares6-7 different apps/programs that will help you save time and be more productive so that you can spend more time focused on the court. View the powerpoint for "Workflow Software as Your Secret Productivity Weapon". The webinar video is available for non-members to here and is viewable for JVA members with login here.
  • Although you are making changes, don't lose sight of what makes your club unique and successful. Keep building on and enjoying the successes of each season.

For more educational resources on bettering and growing your business, click here. The JVA focuses on improving the junior volleyball experience for our member clubs, and we are happy to help you plan for next season. Please email or call us with your questions, concerns or ideas. Let's make next season better together.

About the Author

Lisa Wielebnicki is the Director of Member Development at the JVA. Lisa joined the JVA Staff in December 2013. She has a solid volleyball background at all levels. After completing her volleyball career at Purdue University, Wielebnicki served as the Student Assistant Coach followed by three seasons as the Assistant Volleyball Coach at Samford University where her responsibilities included recruiting, aiding in day to day team training, managing community service functions, and coordination of camps. In 2011 she helped guide the program to its first NCAA appearance.


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