How to Start a Club

Here is a general Checklist for Starting A Club:  Other Considerations are Below

Select a Date, Time, Location for Recruitment Meeting/First team meeting

o Example:  Wednesday January 7th, 7pm Recruitment; 6:30pm Team Meeting

Advertise the Recruitment Meeting – approximately a week before, advertise heavily

o Ads in School Paper – possible discounts for students/staff

o Hand out Flyers – and hit around on campus if weather permitting

o Hang Flyers/Posters – gymnasiums; weight rooms; cafeterias; coffee shops; libraries; study areas; kiosks; anywhere students travel or congregate

o Website/Social Media

o Word of Mouth 

At Recruitment Meeting: 

o Act as an officer of the club

o Describe the club and the sport in the best possible light

o Make sure to describe the sport in detail – Hurling is “awesome” but that word has no meaning to someone who has never seen the sport

o Have a video play, but not while you talk

o MAKE SURE TO COLLECT NAMES AND CONTACT INFO (phone and email) FROM ATTENDEES

o You can have a short session about how to play if facilities permit

Keep good records and maintain organization and communication with new and returning members

Field and Facilities

o You need an outdoor field for summer and late spring, large enough to get a good strike on the ball

o You need an indoor space, large, high and open, for winter activities.  These activities may be reduced because of space limits but work with what you have.

Equipment

o You need at least a few sliotars and enough hurls for one per person.  Beg, borrow, and, you know the rest, for hurls.  Helmets can come later.  

o Helmets may be anything with a facemask.  Hockey works best, Lacrosse will work but is not highly recommended.

o Fundraise money for hurls first, use any leftover funds for sliotars.  A club stock of helmets is nice, but ultimately you’ll want members to buy their own to ensure proper fit and hence, protection.  

o You need cones and at least a bag each or any club sliotars, hurls, and helmets.

o Goals:  you can use soccer goals, uprights may be made of PVC pipe.  If funds allow, you can get custom build, self-standing goals for approximately $1,000.

o As players graduate, inquire if they would like to donate their old equipment to the club

o To save costs, have broken hurls repaired instead of replaced.

Finding a Coach

o You will need a designated coach.  

o It is important to have someone who has completed a coach certification course.  A certified coach will ensure that new players are trained properly, especially to protect themselves, and helps retention and recruitment.

Affiliating with your College or University

o Speak with the Club Sports Director to become a club sport

Club sports generally have funding but more university oversight and regulations

o OR: speak with your Office of Student Activities to become a recognized student organization

This allows more administrative freedom, but generally does not have funding opportunities from the school

Affiliating with the GAA

o You affiliate with the GAA by contacting your Regional Governing Body (RGB).  Contact the relevant RGB and they will instruct you on how to affiliate.

o Affiliation will include Club Registration; Individual Player and Coach Registration; Insurance provided through your school; Payment of Registration Fees/Dues

Approximate Start Up Costs

Registration Dues:  Varies – Budget a few hundred

Numbered Game Jerseys:  $50 (from O’Neills) – may be source locally

Shorts:  $15

Socks:  $10

Boots/Cleats:  $30+

Ash Wood Hurl:  $30-$35

Synthetic Hurl: $60

Sliotar:  $10

Helmet, Hockey: $50

Cones:  $10 for pack of 10

Club Dues:

Low Dues for new members:  $35 per semester/$50 for year

Returning members may pay more

Fundraising Tips

Inquire about funding from your school’s Club Sports Department or Student Organizations/Activities Office, especially grants and the process for applying for grants.

Player Dues:  keep dues reasonable, this is a new sport and people will be hesitant to pay a large sum for something they don’t know

Team Fundraising: Activities the club conducts on its own where the university is not involved.  It is best to consult the club sports administrator/student organization coordinator prior to the activity to avoid conflict

o Sample Fundraising Projects

Game Day/Tournament program advertisements

Merchandise

Alumni Game

Run a clinic

Dine and Donate nights

Sponsorship

o Local Businesses may provide financial support in exchange for exposure at events or club activities

Signage on game day at events and tournaments

Special activities that direct business to a particular establishment

o Parents:  Most teams overlook this opportunity.  Parents are very eager to support sports initiatives and this can be especially useful when traveling to playoffs or to a tournament.  This should be established as a regular y early appeal.

o Alumni:  You may want to appoint an Alumni Relations Committee within your program structure to develop an alumni network and seek out an annual appeal/drive.  Alumni are more likely to donate for a specific project or item such as travel, field equipment of a new field or facilities.  It might be worth a planned visit to your school’s alumni development office.  Many club sports host an alumni weekend that may be planned in conjunction with a major alumni draw (homecoming, football game, etc).  

Preparing Younger Members for Future Leadership Roles:  Be careful not to overload young members with officer work, but appoint them to “assistant” or “vice” positions.  They should work hand-in-hand with older officers.  The purpose is for the club to continue to function once current leaders graduate.  


IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE:  It is best to become a recognized student organization first.  Most schools make a distinction between a 'club sport' and a 'recognized student organization.'  The rights and privileges afforded both distinctions are nearly the same.  Becoming a 'club sport' might allow your club to receive school funding but beware of the strings attached with accepting university funds.  There are many fundraising opportunities available to your organization outside of the university.   

Starting an Organization

  1. Some school administrations may be more supportive than others.  If you meet any resistance, it may come in the following forms, each objection can be overcome.
    1. Their Objection:  “We don’t have enough money for new clubs.”
      1. Your Rebuttal:  “We are not asking for money, just permission to operate on campus and use the school’s name so that we can  represent our school in competitive games against other schools.”
    2. Their Objection:  “This sport looks dangerous.”
      1. Your Rebuttal:  “There are actually more injuries in soccer than in hurling.  Players are trained to protect themselves using their hurl, and the MCHA requires the wearing of protective helmets.
    3. Their Objection:  “We don’t have enough field space for new sports clubs.”
      1. Your Rebuttal:  “We do not need on campus space, we are willing to go off campus and pay the market rates to rent municipal field space.”
    4. Their Objection:  “There are not any local teams for you to play against.”
      1. Your Rebuttal:  “This sport is in the early stages of growth, and teams are springing up on college campuses all over the country.  There are already 12 teams in the Midwest alone.”
  2. Recruit Players
    1. Word of Mouth is usually the best and easiest but do not rely solely on this.  Your enthusiasm for the sport will be infectious.
    2. Start a Facebook page and webpage (hosted through your school for recognized clubs) to promote and invite people to join.
    3. If possible, some schools have free web hosting for recognized student organizations.
    4. Embed this link: http://www.youtue.com/watch?v=TmzivRetelE
    5. Contact the MCHA to get help obtaining DVD footage.  Get the footage in front of as many people as possible.  The game attracts a lot of attention once people see it in action.  Do what you have to do to get it seen; throw a party in your dorm room, attend activities fairs, rent monitors or space to hoop up monitors to have it shown. 
    6. Post flyers and posters on campus with contact information and a little about the sport.  A good tool can be found here, www.sfgaa.org/pdfs/hurling, where you can generate a poster in your school’s colors and customize a message and contact information.
  3. Training
    1. Once you have a core group interested, request assistance from the MCHA.
    2. Once you have equipment, and preferable once you have obtained help with basic coaching, organize an introductory training session.  Make sure you allow a week or two lead time in publicizing the event.
    3. At the first meeting (either a training session or call-out meeting) get everyone’s contact information and let them know where and when regular practices are going to be held.
    4. Hold regular practices on a regular basis.  The more regular they are, the more likely you are to pick more people up.  Informal low keep practices in open spaces with nearby foot traffic can be a great recruiting tool if you have flyers or copies of a DVD to hand out. 
  4. Competition
    1. Once you have a team, contact the MCHA so that we can help you find other teams to play.  If there are other collegiate teams in your area, we can help to get you organized into competitive games.  You will now be on your way to building a championship winning team!
Please see the Club Resources page for additional information club administration, development, and coaching.
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