The first step in creating our premiership team. How excited are you?
So. Identifying where your club is in its life-cycle. Let’s go.
Every club is constantly reborn. Some life cycles are shorter than others and some stages are longer than others but knowing where you are in that life cycle is the first step in building your premiership club.
The most commonly known life cycle stage is the ‘rebuilding period.’ I mean, is it just me, or is it every time that a club is playing crappy, their fans say that they’re going through a “rebuilding period”? But basically, your club is either rebuilding, in its prime, or aging. How can you tell? It’s actually pretty easy. Just ask yourself one question: who are my best players and how old are they?
Of course, in a perfect world, you’ve got an even distribution and all of your players are great. But let’s be honest: who does that happen to?
You are ‘rebuilding’ if: the best players at your club are young and in need of guidance. You don’t know how they’ll turn out, but with a few drills, some psychological challenges and a LOT of running, they could be ready in a few years. This is a club that, realistically, will become more and more competitive for the next few years and could win a premiership within eight (if they play their cards right) and will be in their prime. Current example: Gold Coast. (Note: this is the best time to start getting kids into your team – they’ll grow with the club’s lifecycle and by the time you’re in your prime, they’ll be the ones with the most buying power)
You know you are ‘in your prime’ when: the best players in your club are in their mid-20s and have been playing at the AFL level for several years (ideally, with the same club and coach and many of the same players). There could still be a few areas for improvement, but this is a club that could win a premiership within the next years and, after that, will be aging out. Current example: Hawthorn. (Note: this is usually where club membership usually booms. This is when it’s easy to sell tickets and attendance is up. Clubs need to work particularly hard during these times to ensure a positive game day experience and establish more than just a superficial connection)
You know you are ‘aging’ when: they best players at your club are about 30, some may even be older, and (here is the key bit) starting to get injured. Another defining characteristic of these clubs is that there is a large age gap between the best players – usually there will be a few older ones, and a few young guns, with not much in between. This is a club that has probably been very good the past few years, but looks like it’s on the decline. Soon, the club will enter its rebuilding period. Current example: Sydney. (Note: this is where clubs lose their fair-weather fans which is why clubs need to establish connections in the previous two stages – to ensure that doesn’t happen)
There can be areas in between these stages, but these are the key ones. As I mentioned, some stages can be short, others may be long, some stages can be skipped altogether and one club may go through an entire cycle while one club stays in its prime. That’s just the nature of the beast. None of these are wrong, but it’s important to know where your club stands on the field.
And why is it important to know your lifecycle stage, you ask? Because it helps you establish your goals – not just on the field, but off it (did you read my notes?!). Tune in next week if you want to know more about that!