Sports clubs – what to look for and how to find the right one.

Written by Natalie Doyle

March 3, 2023

A group of children standing together and holding a basketball

So your child has come home from school and declared they want to start playing rugby/football/basketball/any other sport.  You head to Google to find out what options there are near you, but how do you know which is the right one?  Here are my top tips for parents when it comes to finding a sports club for your child:

1. Speak to the people that run the club.  Ask them what their approach and philosophy are.  Do they give equal playing time to all members of the squad?  Do they value developing players over results?  Take the opportunity to really get to understand their ethos and see if their values align with yours.

2. Check their safeguarding procedures.  Above everything, you want to know that your child will be safe when at the club.  Do all of their coaches have DBS checks?  Have they attended safeguarding and first aid training?  Do they have a first aid kit at all training sessions and matches?  What coaching qualifications do the coaches have?  Is there a Welfare Officer (or equivalent) at the club?  If so, ask them about their safeguarding policies and procedures. The Football Association have some great resources for parents and carers around safeguarding so have a look at these to help you know what to look out for.

3. Go and visit the club.  Watch a training session, and watch a match if you can.  This will give you a real indication of the values and approach of the club.  How do their coaches behave?  Are they encouraging the players?  Do you think your child would thrive in this environment? We have a blog post about what a great first impression from a club can look like.

4. Check out the facilities.  What are the changing facilities and toilets like?  Is the area well lit?  I wrote a blog last year about how to make facilities welcoming for women and girls so use that as a checklist to see what the club facilities are like, and feel free to raise any concerns with the club.

5. Speak to other parents. The best way of getting to know a club is to talk to other parents that have children playing there. Ask them about their experiences. Does their child enjoy themselves there?  Have they ever had any concerns?  How did the club address these?  

Finding a club for your child can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for, or if there are a lot of options in your local area.  Hopefully, this post will help you identify the right one and set your child up for a healthy, active life.

Once you’ve found a good club, have a read of our blog post about how you, as a parent, can get involved in your child’s club. It could be an exciting new time for both of you!

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