Face to face and online: Using one to benefit the other.

Written by Natalie Doyle

September 28, 2022

A birds eye view of a group of people working with laptops and phones

This month’s blog is something that I’ve been considering for a while, both from a sports perspective and a business perspective. 

Being self-employed can be isolating and although technology is brilliant for making it so much easier to work with people remotely, it can mean you go weeks without seeing anyone for work face-to-face.  Don’t get me wrong, as someone that is currently trying to juggle a business, two kids, and selling a house, being able to work anywhere is essential for me.  However, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve also managed to get out and meet some people for work face-to-face.  I find this brings me a different type of energy and you can’t beat the type of conversations that happen when you’re together ‘in real life’.  It also drains my energy after a couple of years of limited face-to-face interaction that I think we’re still adjusting to!

But where does sport come into this?  Of course, sport needs to take place ‘face to face’ and a lot of people are enjoying the benefits of having more time available due to working remotely to engage in sport and physical activity in a way they hadn’t been able to previously.  The positive impact this has on people’s wellbeing is well documented and it is one of the major benefits of using technology to work remotely.

However, there is also an opportunity to utilise online interaction to positively impact face to face interaction.  I’ve certainly found that my conversations online with new people for work have become more personable – chats about the challenges of juggling work and family, how your weekend was, conversations about the pet or child that just wandered into view.  How do we harness these connections online and take them into the real world?  I’ve been part of running a lot of online training over the past couple of years and have witnessed the huge potential for bringing clubs together in a way that would be logistically challenging face to face.  Clubs from Cornwall to Carlisle sharing challenges and discussing ideas to overcome these challenges.  Clubs more local to each other arranging friendly matches for their newly developed teams.  Communities can be built online that bring people and clubs together.  

Often a club’s first contact with a potential new player or volunteer will be online, and technology can be a great way of making that first step easier for new players and volunteers.  You could do a video call before they come down to a session, or send them a video of where to head when they arrive so they know what to expect.  You could send them a photo of the coach that will be running the session so they know who to look for on arrival.

Perhaps you have a player who just turns up for a session.  You can use technology to check in with them afterward to see how they found it, perhaps by email or message.  You can send them any registration forms they need to complete or maybe a link to your fixtures.

Technology can’t replace face to face interaction and a balance between the two is important, in business, sport and all parts of life.  There is still a lot that can be done to utilise one for the benefit of the other.  How can you implement this in your club or organisation?

Read more posts like this…

Download our free guide

8 things to consider to help you engage more women and girls in sport.

Subscribe to the Sport Sister newsletter and get your free guide, plus awesome Sport Sister content straight to your inbox.