Getting players down for a 5aside game can be a challenge, the unpaid match fees, the complaints about the kick-off time, the last-minute call offs and the frantic search for replacement players. I bet that sometimes you wonder if it is even worth it at all, right?
What if there is a way to get so many players that you have to start turning them down? And what if we told you that the logistics that go into arranging and booking a game could be as simple as clicking a button while you queue for your morning coffee?
Who Do You Want To Play?
Before you start blasting out that weekly email to your usual players I want you to take a moment to think about a few things.
First, consider why you are trying to arrange a game.
- Are you looking to just scratch that itch and kick a ball around a pitch for an hour while having a laugh with your mates?
- Do you want to play regularly to work up a sweat, blow off some steam and lose that beer-belly?
- Or is it more serious – competing in a local or national competition?
How you are planning to play will affect what type of players you should be asking to get involved. You need to consider where and how you want to invest all of your time and effort.
If it’s a casual kickabout you’re going for, then work on building up a list of friends and acquaintances. There’s no point trying to poach that fancy player from the local amateur 11’s if you can’t offer him a competitive game.
However, if you are looking to compete in a league every week then consistency is what you’re after. Stay loyal to the guys that play week in and week out and don’t bench them just because your old college room mate is in town and fancies a game.
Once you have a really good idea of what type of players you need, then it’s time to start building up your player network.
Build Your Squad
Regardless of what type of game you are playing, you’re inevitably going to get people that can’t play every week.
It is vital that you have a large network of players in which you can dip to fill those spots on your team. You should target having a list of people 2-3 times as large as the number you need each week.
So, if you are looking for 5 players to compete in a league, you’re going to need a pool of around 10-15 players to call on. If you’re arranging a regular kickabout with 10 players, then you’re going to have to build up that list to about 20-30 names.
Anything less and you leave yourself vulnerable to playing short.
Now before you start to panic, I am not saying that you need to have 30 players beating down your door. The players in your network should be a nice even mix that fall into 3 categories –
- Die-hard regulars that will show up week in week out
- Guys that enjoy a regular game but due to work or family commitments can’t make it every week
- Back-up players that can play a one-off game to help you out
So, open up a new spreadsheet or take a nice fresh piece of paper. Mark out 3 columns with the following headers –
Now comes the fun part – filling these columns with names.
You’re going to have to tap into as many networks as you can to get these names, and when you do, make sure you find out what kind of commitment they can offer. You need to determine whether they can commit to playing every week, will play most weeks or will help you out if you’re stuck.
If you’re stuck for places to look, try the following –
- Friends/family – this is the easiest and most obvious place to start. Send out text messages, email, get on Facebook or you could even try just talking to some of them.
- Friends’ boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands/wives – even if you’re friends aren’t interested, their other half may fancy a game.
- Work, school, college, university – put up flyers, use forums or message boards or even just send round an email
- LinkedIn – put up a post requesting players from your network
- Classified ads – use Gumtree to advertise for local players
- Meet-Up – set up a group on Meet-Up looking for players in your local area
- 5-a-side league organisers – if you intend to play in a league, most 5aside league organisers will help put you in touch with players that might want to join you
- Local facilities – most 5-a-side facilities will have a notice board that you could stick a flyer up on
With a little bit of directed effort up front it shouldn’t take you too long to get a good list of players.
Once you’ve got all of those players names and contact details, plug them into your spreadsheet under the appropriate column. Make sure you also make a note of the best way to reach them e.g. phone, email, morse code etc.