Building a Strong Track & Field Club
A Step-by-step Approach to Building a Strong Club Program
Table of Contents
A) Step-by-Step approach to building a strong club program
Step 1: Discussion
Step 2: Establish a Board of Directors and an Executive
Step 3: Coaching
Step 4: Affiliation / Registration with Athletics NS Step 5: Club Membership Fee
Step 6: Facilities & Equipment Step 7: Competition Program Step 8: Training Program
B) Structure of ANS
1) General structure of Athletics NS
2) Publications / A.V. Material
4) Media / Public Relations
5) Insurance Program
6) A Message from the ATHLETICS NS President
C) Building a Stronger Team: ATHLETICS NS presentation on Board structure and development
The first section of this presentation has been modified to suit the needs of Athletics Nova Scotia from an Athletics Ontario document. The purpose of this document is to assist people in the initial stages of getting a club organized in their community. It is not intended to cover all areas that could affect clubs. Club officials are encouraged to contact the Athletics Nova Scotia (ANS) office if they require information not covered here.
A) Step-by-Step Approach to Building a Strong Club Program
Step 1: Discussion
Before a track club is formed a number of important questions should be addressed.
1) Who will the club be serving? A number of different types of clubs exist in Nova Scotia, including:
- Athletics Club: Track and Field, Cross Country, Road Racing, inclusion of athletes with disabilities
- Track and Field Club: Track and field events
- Track Club (all track, distance only, sprints only, etc.)
- Field Club (umps only, throws only)
- Road Racing Only
- Athletes with Disabilities
2) Who will be members? Some clubs accept membership only from adults, some cater to younger athletes. There are clubs that are primarily interested in developing athletes to national or international levels, while other clubs exist solely for the recreational interests of its members.
3) Who will be managing the activities? Obviously the type of club to be formed will primarily depend on the interests of those who will be doing the coaching. How many coaches will be involved? What is their commitment in terms of time? What events do they want to coach? What type of athlete do they want to work with? It is possible that a club might begin with a single event focus and in time expand to add opportunities for other event groups.
Step 2: Establish a Board of Directors and an Executive:
After these considerations have been dealt with it is time to establish a club Board of Directors and Executive. This development can happen simultaneously. It should be noted that all clubs do not need to be exactly alike. This club structure has a proven history of success and can serve as a helpful template.
1) The Club Executive usually consists of a President, Vice-President, Secretary and
A Past-Presidents position is usually added to the Executive on succession.
2) The Board of Directors usually consists of the above executive members plus head coach, athlete's representative and the chairpersons of some of the committees named below:
- Community and Media Relations,
- Club Newsletter,
- Records and Statistics etc.
3) Board Development: It is best initially to appoint Directors and Chairpersons. After the club is established for a year elections should be held annually to determine the members of the Club Board. It is wise to hold a meeting on a regular basis, monthly is ideal. Board members and Committee Chairpersons who are not active should be replaced.
4) Constitution: All clubs in Nova Scotia are encouraged to have a Constitution which outlines their philosophy and general policies. It is advised that such policy is kept simple to ensure this adds to the management of the club.
5) Contact ANS: If you are considering establishing a club, contact ATHLETICS NSand we will help you present the idea to your community using the presentation at the back of this manual called: “Building a Stronger Team”
Step 3: Coaching
1) Coach Recruitment: When starting a club it is not initially essential to have certified coaches. The main ingredient for success at this stage is for the coaches to be enthusiastic and to be willing to learn. In many cases the personal experience of former athletes who wish to offer their services as coaches can be called upon to get a program started.
2) Coach Certification: Once the club begins to develop it is advisable for the coaches to proceed with their certification. At this point the ATHLETICS NSoffice can be contacted for details with regard to the proper procedure and availability of courses. A list of course offerings are available on the website: www.athleticsnovascotia.ca
3) Coach Membership: All coaches need to register with ATHLETICS NSso that they can be kept abreast of all developments relating to coaching and be fully insured against liability. Clubs should pay the registration fee on behalf of their coaches. Membership can be obtained on the website: www.athleticsnovascotia.ca
4) Coach Mentorship: New Coaches will also have an opportunity to be connected with mentor coaches within Nova Scotia who can offer assistance.
Step 4: Affiliation / Registration with ANS
1) Club Registration: At the beginning of each year the club should send a completed club registration form along with the payment of the appropriate fee to Athletics Nova Scotia (found on the website: www.athleticsnovascotia.ca). Benefits include:
- Voting privileges at the ATHLETICS NS Annual General Meeting,
- Monthly club e letter,
- Ability o enter athletes in competitions under the club name
- Opportunity to host an ATHLETICS NS sanctioned meet.
- Insurance coverage for club
- Additional privileges include: grants to offset travel expenses of athletes attending National Championships and grants for coaches' training will be announced in the future.
2) Full Athlete Registration: All athletes need to be registered with Athletics Nova Scotia. (Found on the website: www.athleticsnovascotia.ca). Membership in the ANS automatically includes:
- Membership with Athletics Canada.
- Ability to compete in ATHLETICS NS sanctioned events
- Ability to compete in Provincial, National and International events
- Insurance coverage
- Additional privileges include: being considered for training camp funding
Persons wishing to compete in road races must register directly with Run Nova Scotia.
3) Limited Athlete Registration: In addition to the aforementioned competitive membership there are currently three additional types of memberships offered to athletes:
- Bantam and Younger: An introductory membership that acknowledges an athlete's club affiliation permits the athlete to be included in rankings and makes them eligible for awards. Athletes in this category are not eligible to make provincial teams or receive funding although they are eligible to set records.
- Associate or Recreational: Provides updates to the holder, permits them entryinto provincial meets at a reduced rate. Athletes in this category are not eligible to make provincial teams, receive funding or to set records. Does not include a membership to Athletics Canada.
- Cross country - effective Sept. 1-Dec. 31: A limited membership that permits the athlete to compete at the provincial and national level in cross-country. Includes a membership with Athletics Canada.
- Masters - 35 and older: Competitive membership that makes holder eligible to compete at events across Canada, set provincial records and enter meets at a reduced rate. Includes a membership with Athletics Canada.
Step 5: Club Membership Fee
1) Club membership fee structure: This should be established keeping in mind:
a. ATHLETICS NSmembership fees b. Club administration expenses
c. Protected travel costs
d. Clubs may opt to pay their coaches honoraria for their services and have increased membership fees to subsidize this expense.
2) Fundraising (optional): A good fundraising program usually me Athletics NS relatively low membership fees. All athletes in the club should be required to participate in fundraising activities.
3) Volunteer initiative (optional): A club may require a separate cheque (not be deposited until the end of the season – approx $100) that will be made void at the end of the season if the parents volunteer with the club. Volunteer opportunities could include:
a. Assisting at meets (event set-up, hospitality, registration, minor officiating)
b. Involvement on the board
c. Coaches assistant (training sessions)
Step 6: Facilities & Equipment
The club will need to secure areas for training:
1) Outdoor location: outdoor track (for spring/summer/ fall use).
2) Indoor location: indoor track/school gymnasium (for winter use).
3) Gaining access to facilities: Usually a club organizer will have to see the local Recreation Department and school board about use of available facilities. He or she should be prepared with a written brief about club obectives and why the club needs both of the above as well as basic equipment. Remember, facilities should be obtained for the lowest cost, or better still for FREE!! If you're lucky your club will have access to an indoor track. However, a great many athletes past and present have reached international status without having an indoor track on which to train.
Step 7: Competition Program
1) Enter your athletes into competitions: Information about upcoming events is located on the ATHLETICS NS website (www.athleticsnovascotia.ca). Registration can be done through the trackie registration site (www.trackiereg.ca). Every club should appoint a well-organized person to act as a secretary. This person has the extremely important function of liaising with club coaches and athletes concerning entries for upcoming competitions. A great deal of club money can be wasted on late entry fees - or worse yet, an athlete may be denied entry into a competition - if this ob is mishandled.
2) Host your own competition: Interested clubs should contact the ATHLETICS NS office concerning sanctioning procedures if they wish to stage a competition. Without the clubs' support there would be no provincial competition program. It is a positive for ATHLETICS NS to host events in various parts of the province – it gives our athletes an opportunity to visit different regions of Nova Scotia.
3) Host an ATHLETICS NS sanctioned event: One sign of organizational maturity in a club is its ability to stage a sanctioned ATHLETICS NS meet or better yet, a provincial championship. Conducting such a competition requires a great deal of work on the part of the club, but the rewards of club members and friends working together and the revenue generated for the club make it well worth the effort. (ATHLETICS NS will help you with this process – contact the office for more information).
Step 8: Training Program
1) Decide on what days and times your team will practice. This will depend on (and in this order):
a. Availability of facilities b. Availability of coaches c. Availability of athletes
2) Create a schedule and keep your members informed:
a. Communicate weekly via mass email
b. Have a website created with an up-to-date calendar that includes both practice times and competition dates.
B) Structure of Athletics Nova Scotia
1) General structure of ANS
The ATHLETICS NS President, Vice President and several others representing various facets of the sport sit on the Provincial Board of Directors. Every club may be represented at the ATHLETICS NS Annual General Meeting and may vote as per ATHLETICS NS policy. A copy of the By-Laws of ATHLETICS NS is available on request, along with the Association Policy and Procedures Handbook. Go to the Athletics Nova Scotia website for details on the structure of the Board (www.athleticsnovascotia.ca)
a) The first step in fundraising is to find out from the local recreational department, the various service clubs and the large businesses in the community if they will support a club in the area. It could be that they will give a one-time only donation to get the club started, or they may provide some funding over a period of time. Note: it is advised that a club prepare a written fundraising request as this is usually required by potential supporters.
b) Most of the better organized clubs have their own fundraising proects, such as raffles, runathons, dances, the sale of boxes of fresh fruit, hockey pools, etc. Many companies wanting to organize road races to help promote their products seek help in the technical aspects of the race from the local track club and will either pay a flat fee or will offer the entry fees in return. It may be possible that ATHLETICS NS will organize a fundrasing opportunity that all clubs could participate in, revenue would be shared.
3) Media / Public Relations
If a club is to become well supported by the community, the local media must be provided on a regular basis with a write-up of the club's activities. This is usually done in conunction with a competition or team selection. Through exposure in the media, people in the community will read or hear about club activities and take interest. Potential athletes, volunteers and sponsors are generally impressed if they can read or hear something in the local press or on the radio or television. This is vital, not only does local media exposure promote your club it will also support our sport in general. Media is currently handled in the following ways:
a) Club initiated: clubs send in press releases to local papers
b) ATHLETICS NS initiated: ATHLETICS NS sends in press releases to regional and provincial media c) Press initiated: local and provincial media pick up on stories.
4) Insurance Program
"All I wanted to do was coach and have fun by being involved. In the past, I had to worry about liability insurance and protecting myself. It has taken the fun out of volunteering and being a part of a sports organization."
To aid coaches in this dilemma, Athletics Nova Scotia has entered into an agreement with the ATHLETICS NS insurer. Our oint obective is to insure members in good standing with a Comprehensive General Liability Policy plus a Sports Accident Package.
The limit of the liability coverage is $2,000,000 per occurrence. Coverage under this liability policy will insure the following participants while participating in sanctioned events:
Coverage under this liability policy for clubs as members in good standing with the ATHLETICS NS will insure the following participants and activities:
- Members of clubs including athletes, coaches and board members
- All activities governed under the Constitution and By-Laws of the Club
- For details of coverage and responsibilities please contact the ATHLETICS NS office or go to the
ANS website for more information (www.athleticsnovascotia.ca)
5) A Message from the ATHLETICS NS President
On behalf of the Board of Directors and all the members, I extend to you my hearty congratulations on your decision to form a club in your area. I am sure you will find this effort both challenging and highly rewarding.
You are now part of a 'family' that is committed to grow our great sport in all parts of Nova Scotia. I hope that as time goes by you will get to meet and know your counterparts in other clubs across the province. I certainly look forward to meeting with you and all on your team.
If at any time you would like assistance please do not hesitate to call the ATHLETICS NSoffice or contact me directly. Once again, good luck and thank you for your commitment to Track and Field in Nova Scotia.
Athletics Nova Scotia
Building a stronger Team
Proposed ATHLETICS NS TEAM Structure
This presentation is intended to be given during the initial community meeting when establishing an ATHLETICS NS club is being considered. The meeting could certainly be initiated by either an existing core group or ANS. Ideally this would be done in partnership to take advantage of the experience within ANS. It is suggested that interested groups stage an open community meeting where they invite a broad cross section of current coaches and athletes, parents, local political leaders, Athletics NS and business people and other interested people. The goal is to begin the process of recruiting a club Board of Directors and creating a club structure. Ideally people will be recruited in advance of the meeting who will be willing to step forward and assume a Board position. Key positions to recruit in advance are the Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.
The Recipe for Success
Build a solid organizational structure
Share the work load
Go after the best possible people, your team deserves this, our athletes deserve the best we can provide
Ensure all members of the Team know each others roles
Recruit other leaders
Targeted recruiting - Recruit with specific role in mind
Build respectful partnersh
- Plan for succession
- Start strong...stay strong
- Provide continual professional development to volunteers
- Empower People, involve volunteers in the planning and decision making process
- Ensure team structure remains transparent particularly relating to finance and program planning
ATHLETICS NS Team Structure
- Team President
- Vice President
- Past President
- Registrar / Secretary
- Fundraising/Public Relation
- Members at Large
- Head Coach
- Team Coaches
Each member of the Team Board of Directors has one vote
The Chairman only votes to break a tie.
A quorum is 50% of the members plus one
A simple majority carries the vote.
- Your Team’s Official representative
- Represent team and report to ATHLETICS NS as requested
- Chair all team meetings
- Vote to break tie
- Ex-officio member of all team committees
- Ensure financial reports given at each team meeting
- Co-signer on team account
- Aware of all team activities
- Ensure ATHLETICS NS policies are adhered to
- Shall encourage open communication both internally and externally
- Lead the annual planning function
- Leads in the process of team setting annual goals
- Ensure that team keeps the eye on the ball
- Evaluates team goal at year end
- Plan for succession in all roles
- Leads partnership with ATHLETICS NS and other teams
- You Lead the Team!
The term of office for a President is 2 years.
In the spirit of succession Presidents would ideally serve only one term. Chairman can serve a second term if 75 % of Board is in support
Team elections are to be held at least 30 days prior to the ATHLETICS NS meeting to allow for the participation of new team leadership.
While a natural succession plan would have the Vice President assume the Presidents role this is not automatic. On the completion of a Presidents 2 year term it is expected that the Vice President would allow their name to stand for the position of new President. Other nominations should be searched for and welcomed. The members of the Team Board would vote to decide amongst multiple nominees. If only one nominee comes forward Team Board must vote to approve the nominee as the new President.
- Assist the President
- Shall fill in the absence of President
- Co-signer on account
- You are partners with the President
- Get ready…You are next!!!!
- Serve as a valuable resource and historian
- Leads the nomination process for the Team Executive
- Records and maintains a record of all financial
- Transactions and correspondence
- Co-signer on account
- Ensures all expenditures are covered by motion
- Shall keep books in order and give a financial report at each team meeting. Minimum 4 meetings a year.
- Prepare annual financial report for the ANS
- Ensures all cheques have 2 Signing Officers
- Ensures all transactions are paid by cheque
- Ensure all members of the team Board are aware of financial condition of team.
- Accounting expertise is essential!!
Registrar / Secretary
- Keep accurate minutes
- Distribute minutes to members within two weeks of meeting
- Conduct all correspondence
- Maintain database of members
- Oversees athlete registration to club/competition/camps
- Liaise with ATHLETICS NS to ensure all athletes are registered properly
- Develops fundraising plan
- Along with Treasurer and President match fundraising and programming expense
- Is aware of all team fundraising activities
- Ensures team Executive is aware of all fundraising activity
- Adheres to ATHLETICS NS policy
- Communicate openly with ANS
- Will promote Athletics and team throughout the Region
- Will submit meet results to local media
- Oversee effective internal and external communication
- Assist with recruitment of volunteers and athletes
- Build relationship with local media
Members at Large
- Maximum number of 5 members at large
- Ideally will bring a valuable skill set to the Team Executive
- This position is ideal for representatives from Sponsors, government, municipal recreation departments, athlete rep, parents or care givers etc.
- May be assigned specific roles as required
- Full voting member
- Oversee all training and competitive activities of team
- Will oversee the assignment of athletes to team coaches
- Recruitment and training of assistant coaches
- Develop short and long term athlete development plan
- Develop annual coach development plan for club
- Develop plan for succession
- Ensure that team Executive is aware of competitive and coach development plans including associated costs
- Ensures sport programs are safe, fun and are in line with the mission of ANS
- Partners with head coach to develop training and competitive plan
- Leads practice
- Oversees the training of assigned athletes
- Serves as a resource for all team athletes
- Strives to continually gain knowledge
- Works towards coaching certification
What constitutes an ATHLETICS NS Club?
- To be considered an ATHLETICS NS club the club must attain the following:
- 5 Executive members
- 3 Coaches
- 1 certified coach within 2 years
- 10 athletes
- Must train a minimum 20 weeks a year
- Must compete at a minimum one provincial championship per year with a minimum 5 athletes
- Athletics NS insurance
- Coach certification opportunities
- Official training opportunities
- Fundraising opportunities
- Opportunity to host Athletics NS sponsored meets