A college racquetball club in another state has asked me to write an article about them. A college racquetball club in a third state has asked me to donate racquets to them.
I’d like to help both, but first I need to determine that my efforts and money will be well spent.
What kinds of things should a racquetball club be doing to be considered successful by a third party?
- Have a reliable schedule. The club needs to meet at least 2-3 times per week (not every member every session) and that schedule should be publicly available. Posters at the courts, available on the club website, posted on the social media links, etc.
- Have a USAR certified instructor or six involved in the club. (or an AmPro-IPro certified instructor) Not every college can have a Jim Winterton (ASU), but certainly competent knowledgeable coaches are going to need to be available to the club.
- Be officially sanctioned by the school/college/university. If the school lists official recreational clubs that include volleyball, basketball, soccer, etc., then the racquetball club must be on that list.
- Have a social media presence. To reach potential players, or players that played at home that are new to the school, the club has to be on social media promoting themselves consistently.
- Have a Facebook group for discussion of upcoming events, sessions, challenges, etc.
- Find the Facebook group for racquetball in your state and publicize your events there
- Have a website with static information about the club, publicize that as you add events on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Include contact information
- Court locations
- Schedule of regular sessions
- Links to the social media accounts of the club
- Hold clinics at the beginning of every semester to help get new students up to speed and interested quickly.
- Be involved with the available resources at USA Racquetball specifically for colleges.
- Host tournaments. One of the best ways to raise money for a college racquetball club is by holding a tournament that is attended by local players that are no longer college students as well as the members of the club.
- Attend tournaments as a club. If someone else is holding a tournament near you, get the club together to attend. This is another great opportunity to publicize the club in front of potential sponsors.
- Arrange sponsorships from athletic product companies. This could be as simple as a custom shoelace company, or Court Grabbers, or as big as reaching out to the shoe company that sponsors the football or volleyball team or the drink company that provides refreshment to players at the university basketball game.
Here are a few of the responses I’ve received to the article, many taking the point of view of how the players in the club should consider the club successful or grow and maintain the club so that it remains successful:
They have to have a table at every club event on campus, they need to reach out to the rec players that play for fun and don’t know there’s a club. They should try and do a fundraising tournament at the campus gym, my uni let us use the facility for free because it was a fundraiser. They should have member exclusive events with some kind of prizes. They should be trying to attend intercollegiates and share their experience as a recruitment tool. My school allowed us to “advertise” on the TV show at the gym which reaches so many more people than just about any other method can.
Source: former club president
Some form of fundraising by the team, often includes a growing list of alumni/former players. Media/newsletters target these folks to help them still feel like part of the team (I’m assuming ‘club’ status means minimal financial support from the school). When done right, this can be very successful.
You really need to have 2-4 members of the club who are really into the sport and the club who will put the time into promoting and growing the club. Even better to have underclassmen who can take control of the reigns when the acting president leaves. These are the guys you need to be able to rely on to help organize the fundraiser tournaments. Someone to take care of the food. Someone to find sponsors. Someone to do the draws. Someone to run around day of to make sure matches are running on time. Obviously multiple people can wear multiple hats but it won’t be done with a 1-2 man crew. And the all-time greatest tip for attracting more students into your club:
For every girl you recruit into your club, you can count on 4-5 guys signing up. Recruit women who genuinely like the sport and want to stick around and you will find yourself in command of a self-sustaining rball club.
Source: Former LSU rball club President
Have some sort of uniform, even if it doesn’t mention racquetball, so that when you attend off-campus tournaments, the club is publicized. For fundraising, consider parking cars for the football games, working for a local business that has an interest in racquetball, and more quick and easy tasks that bring in cash quickly without needing specific skills or licenses. If you can’t afford a coach or the university can’t provide one, have your best most experienced players help get the others the best practice that they can.
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