We all understand the challenging time for sport at all levels across Australia created by COVID-19. We want and need sport to make it through the crisis. Sporting clubs, leagues and associations need to navigate the rapidly changing environment.
From COVID-19 Safety Officer to working through the AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport and the Sport Australia Return to Sport Toolkit, there is much to do. Then, there is the engagement, safety and wellbeing of members, participants and volunteers along with the really practical aspects specific to each venue and group that has never previously needed consideration.
Some clubs and sports are already making good headway. Stories of innovation and success will be gathered and will updated here. Rather than see it fall apart, let’s use COVID-19 to build stronger and more inclusive sport, with increased participation. After almost a decade seeing many sports prosper through national leadership of Good Sports, I have a keen interest in seeing clubs, leagues and associations succeed through this crisis.
Are you communicating with your members regularly?
Have you nominated a COVID-19 Safety Coordinator?
How are you managing the return to training?
Do you have a plan to be financially viable?
Reboot Sport so that your sports club, league or association can initially survive, then put in place strategies to thrive beyond 2020. If you are not actively engaging members regularly, you are already behind in the game, but it is not too late to start now.
Learn from what is working well for others and simplify your effort for success. A few key areas to consider for community sport to survive and thrive through COVID-19.
Base on Current Frameworks
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment. A comprehensive document released on 8th May - will still take some work to interpret your specific requirements. Watch for updates as States and Territories respond differently to the easing and management of COVID-19 community restrictions. Sport Australia have taken it further with the release of a Return to Sport Toolkit on 24th May.
State / Territory Government decisions are critical to many aspects of how you manage your sport in the next 12 months. Also look out for announcements for funding opportunities. Local Government may impose additional requirements though may also have staff that can assist. Recent announcements by WA Government and VIC Government include new funding for sporting clubs.
Draw off the recommended resources from National and State Sporting Organisations. Hockey Australia launched a COVID-19 Hub on 24th May.
Emerging Ideas and Good Practice
Find examples of what is already underway. You don't have to come up with everything yourself. The news section of the Reboot Sport website will generate links to good practice across sports throughout Australia.
A challenge with broad frameworks and toolkits is that you need to interpret and adapt to produce your specific needs. How can you quickly move to the practical actions? Issues you may have never even needed to contemplate before are now extremely important. Will the club provide tissues, tape and cleaning products or will members supply their own?
Templates and Examples
Sometimes it is great just to be able to copy and paste to get your message up, create a temporary policy or get a new sign for the entrance to a venue. Then you can focus on putting it into action.
Tailored to Local Needs
How is your board or committee functioning? Have members or key sponsors lost their jobs or business? Do you need to bring in some new support? How will the specific venue, member and sport needs be considered for training, return to play and setting up for next season?
Can you use this time to build new strengths - a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment attracts good people - will you be ready? Do you need advice?
Responsive to Change
We must remain vigilant... victory over COVID-19 is imperative. The health and safety of members, families and guests is essential. It will not be a time for complacency, but it can still be a time for fun, camaraderie and regeneration.
Building knowledge and Remaining Current
Consider how to keep across each of the changes required by the sport code, State or Local Government as we progress through the rapidly changing environment. Each change in Government regulations around community activity will have on flow on requirements for you as well as your competitors.
Stay up to date with and contribute to reboot sport priorities at www.rebootsport.com.au