Lots of professional sports leagues, teams and sponsors try to involve children in events in the hopes that they’ll become fans who will support the club for the rest of their life. Not only are they hoping the kids will be fans, but in a perfect world, their parents will become fans (otherwise, who will buy the tickets?) and, by extension, the rest of the family. They do this through a variety of avenues: visits to local schools, workshops with clubs, Aus Kick in the case of the AFL, volunteering with child-focused charities such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and sponsorship activation on game days like bounce houses and face painting and temporary tattoos. Great idea, guys. Good work.
But here’s my question: what happens when these kids grow up?
Well known fact: every clubs has gaps. (not as well known: this is a short post. How lucky are you?)
Even if you have a great team, there’s ALWAYS something that can be improved upon. If you’re starting from scratch, you want to have your talent even distributed around the field. You don’t want to have a great midfield at the expense of your back line. You don’t want a great ruck men and no good kicks up front. Keep it even, folks, keep it even (in this case, the best defence is NOT a good offense).
A good starting point? Three great mid-fielders, 2 great forwards, 2 great defenders and 1 fabulous ruckmen.
Confession: I love controversy. I am not one of those girls who denies enjoying drama. I LOVE drama – good if it’s mine, great if it’s someone else’s, and the BEST if it’s public. Probably because I have such strong opinions (shocking, I know) that I love taking sides. And COLA is no different.
If you don’t know (and if you’re reading this post, I’m sure that you do, but just in case…) COLA is the cost-of-living allowance that Sydney teams get because the AFL has decided that the cost of living in Sydney is higher. The cost-of-living comparison has some merit in other industries. For instance, an engineer earning $100,000 in Sydney is doing well. An engineer earning $100,000 in Minsk is a freaking ROCKSTAR. As undergrads, we were taught to consider the cost-of-living when comparing job offers (which was no value to me because I decided to run halfway around the world, but I digress).
You were promised a long post, were you not? Serves you right for having such a short one last time. Full disclosure: this post isn’t that long.
As every club has a salary cap and money is limited (when is money NOT limited?) knowing where you’re spending your money and figuring out how to get more is always important.
Take a look, first, at your current list and their salaries (and while you’re at it, can you make these salaries public because I’m sick of not knowing). Get your rankings and priorities from the previous step and compare them. Who are you paying the most? Does it make sense?
You may think that your best players should be getting the most money. While this thought pattern is logical… it’s wrong.
Short post alert! Aren’t you lucky? I know that these have been brutal. But hey – that’s why not everyone has a premiership club!
After a club ranks/scores their players, they need to prioritise. In general, the ones should trump twos, threes should trump fives, 4As should trump 4Bs. But there is a grey area: your next premiership. Know that you know what life cycle stage your club is at, you’ll easily be able to tell how long it might be until you’re in a position to win a grand final.
Take a look at your list a figure out who is going to be around for your next grand final. There are a few ways to decide if they’ll be around: age, injuries and contract length.
Yes, yes, we sort of did this in step one. But now… we do it FOR REAL.
Get a list of players and rank them on everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING. And give each player a number rating.
Before you build a premiership club, you need to know your club as it currently is. So in this step, you need to understand the difference between your short, medium and long term goals and make sure you have the right people to fight for every aspect of each of them.
Call it a mission statement, a vision, a driving force… you need to identify it and you need people who are going to fight for it. While some clubs may have similar goals (for instance, every clubs goal is to win games, win premierships and make dolla dolla bills, y’all), the time restraints for these goals and how they will be accomplished for each. For instance, the goal of ‘win a premiership’ might be a short term goal for Hawthorn, a medium term goal for North Melbourne and a long term goal for Melbourne. It depends where you’re at in your life cycle.
So first thing: Set some goals. Make it a group thing. Get all the big guns in with you and fight out your priorities. It’s not going to be fun, but it has to happen.
So what do I mean by goals? Here’s a few examples.