How to keep players engaged during the Winter months.

Written by Natalie Doyle

November 24, 2022

A football goal and football on a frosty pitch

I don’t know about you but I’m not a big fan of this time of year.  It’s not quite Christmas yet, and the weather is cold, wet, and grey.  I find myself pining for the warm sun to come back.  This can be a notoriously difficult time to keep women and girls engaged in sport, especially if it’s an outdoor sport, when the prospect of running around in the mud and rain isn’t appealing for everyone!

So if you’re starting to see your numbers drop as the cold weather hits, what can you do to keep your players engaged?  Here are my top tips:

1. Look at indoor options.  Can you adapt your sessions to be played indoors?  If you’re a football team, perhaps you could do a bit of Futsal in the winter?  Or do you mix things up and just bring them inside and out of the cold to play a different sport, or some games like bulldog or a fun assault course?  Admittedly, this might not be an option depending on facility availability where you are but try and be creative and look at ways to adapt.

2. Arrange some social activities.  Yes, we all have busier social calendars in the lead-up to Christmas, but it’s also a great time to bring your players together to socialise outside of sport and explore their other interests.  A Christmas party, wreath making workshop, quiz night, Christmas meal, there are limitless ways to keep your players engaged by showing the social side of your club.

3. Show the value of giving. This time of year is a great time to show players the value of giving.  You could volunteer at a local supermarket to do some bag packing, or do a collection for the local food bank.  It could be a great way to raise some money for the club or for a good cause, whilst also bringing some Christmas cheer to those in need.

4. Keep them warm. If you do manage to raise some funds or have some leftover from an earlier fundraiser, why not invest it in keeping your players warm?  Money can be tight for people at the moment so a gift of some gloves, a hat, or a snood to help keep them stay warm during training and matches is likely to be very well received.  Perhaps you could even have a flask of hot chocolate ready for after the session?

5.  Keep them moving.  Make sure that you plan your sessions to keep them moving around most of the time.  Don’t include anything that involves too much standing around – that can wait until the hot summer sessions.   Get the goalkeepers involved too.  No-one wants to be standing still in the cold for too long.

I hope that helps give you some ideas.  If you have other ways you keep your players engaged once it gets cold I’d love to hear them.

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