Sport Club Conference

Deanna Kennedy


“Defining your club values and expected behaviours are the key to creating your club culture”. For the 80 club and industry representatives who attended the ‘2019 Sporting Club Conference’ organised by UniSA Sport, Flinders One Sport and Fitness and AU Sport; they heard a consistent message throughout the day - culture exists at all clubs, but for those that work on it, THEY are the clubs that consistently experience success both on and off the field. Lucy Sayers, from Cove Tigers Netball Club, a community club representative who attended said, “The day was great and I definitely think that almost all of what was discussed was certainly applicable to our club! I can see how leadership and culture have a profound impact on club ‘mechanics’. I also learnt that leadership is as much about supporting and engaging with those around you, as it is about doing the work yourself”. The day started with a very interactive session from Kelly Vennus from Leading Teams. She got everyone up and interacting with each other to discuss the role of dynamics (culture and behaviours) within high performing teams. It became clear that it is important for teams, committees and groups to define their purpose, their values and what behaviours are accepted so that honest conversations can be had and goals can be achieved. Next, there was a club panel hosted by Vivien Massie, UniSport Australia Board Member and featuring Hayley Kroon from the AU Netball Club, Nat Ziersch from the Flinders Flames Women’s Soccer Club and Sean Davis from the UniSA Ultimate Club. This was an opportunity for the panel to share their experience and tips as to how they do things at their club. Many in-depth questions were raised from the audience and at the end of this session; all participants participated in ‘Share your Tools’ a resource sharing exercise with their tools listed below. The day finished with newly appointed Netball SA CEO, Bronwyn Klei sharing some advice about leadership. In a very entertaining presentation, Bronwyn was able to bring an interesting perspective to the discussion of leadership and culture, at community club level. She shared that even with her experience managing professional sports organisations, at her local sports club, she still has issues like all sport clubs. “It was great to hear from someone with such broad experience in both professional and amateur/community sport environments,” said Martin Southern, Adelaide University Cricket Club. At the end of the day, there was real excitement and you could feel that many were feeling very motivated to focus on the culture at their club. Nat Ziersch said, “I really like what the day is about and what it promotes. Would recommend to others and for more of our committee members to attend in the future”. For anyone wanting to work on the culture at their club, the following framework is suggested: 1. Commit to working on building the culture you aim for. 2. As a club, committee, team or group, define the purpose of your group and write it down. 3. Do the same with your club, committee, team or group's values and expected behaviours. 4. Make sure you hold people accountable to the expected values and behaviours you have agreed to. 5. Have the necessary conversations with those who are not being supportive of the culture - You may have to move these people on. 6. Be transparent communication with your actions and communication. 7. Check in with your culture - talk to your members and other key stakeholders, conduct member survey, observe the behaviours that are occurring in your group 8. Keep working at it. Thank you to all who supported this year's conference including, Vivien Massie, Kelly Vennus, Hayley Kroon, Nat Ziersch, Sean Davis, Brownyn Klei, UniSport Australia and the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing. 


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