Racal Decca RFC are now 2 weeks away from the season starting and the club has had its first training session on a Saturday lunchtime.
However, in the run up to this Saturday session we hit a few brick walls, we tried to change training days to accommodate a larger number of players, summer holidays depleted attendees while trying to coordinate a variety of different training locations has become as much of a struggle as getting numbers for away games during the season.
The Saturday session has proven to be a success with the largest number of players attending and giving us a chance at trying out some set piece moves and working on our weaknesses from last season. This will then let us build towards our first games of the season, but we haven’t been able to follow this up in normal week night training sessions. We still had to cancel our regular sessions due to lack of availability which is a pain when preparing for a new season.
We always take the micky out of ourselves by branding ourselves “The Club That Never Trains”, this pre season that has actually come true!
In terms of recruiting new players we have implemented a few new strategies and initiatives to try to “get with the times” and have started increasing our social media presence in a bid to regain some recognition after the success we had 3 years ago with running the first Smallest Rugby Club World Cup (SRCWC) by using tools such as Instagram, Twitter & new social media tools such as Next Door. While the number of Instagram followers has been ever increasing this hasn’t transformed into increased player numbers.
This lack of recruitment seems to the be the struggle of many grassroots clubs at the moment and doesn’t look like it will improve until the world cup comes round and the whole country is talking about rugby again. What else could we do?
The SRCWC worked as a great marketing tool for our club to both recruit and retain players. However, that success has since dwindled, and we face another season with the same regular player faces coming down and having to plug gaps where players are missing from match days which is where Fill Your Boots was born from. We struggled in the weeks after us putting on the event, which led to Sean, who was Club Captain at the time to have this Fill Your Boots concept where people could get a game anywhere, anytime. This has been so beneficial for us, but we have to find more players that want to play regularly for us, in order for us to survive.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that when that first Saturday comes we will have 15 keen and enthusiastic players (hopefully!), ready and raring to go. They will go out there and put blood sweat and tears into an 80 minute match for one another despite not necessarily having attended training during the off season.
The one thing grassroots rugby still has, the passion to do it for your mates.
Racal Decca RFC play their games in Tolworth, Surrey. Fancy joining them for the new season?
Visit www.rdrfc.com for all the information!