So you’ve built your squad and have players signed up for your team, the next challenge is getting them to actually turn up and play! I bet you have a fantastic turn-out for those first couple of games. The problem comes when the novelty wears off and you start to see the same old excuses in your inbox. Unfortunately, you can’t force people to turn up. But, you can entice them.
You need to have a team that people want to play for. Anyone can run a kickabout down the local park or leisure centre. So, anyone wanting to play will have their pick of games to get involved in – what makes your game so special?
If you’re going to attract good players that are committed to showing up every week, then you’re going to need to give them a reason to. So, try following a few of these tips to make your regular game stand out.
Choose a pitch that people want to play at
A few strategically placed cones down the local park is not going to cut it. Book a 5-a-side pitch or join a 5-a-side league at a specialised 5aside football centre, they generally have all-weather pitches so at least you know your game is always on.
At an absolute minimum, the turf should be 3G and in good condition, it should be floodlit for night games, the goals should be sturdy and able to take a well struck shot and there should be somewhere warm and comfortable to get changed.
Do your players know where they are going?
Don’t complain if they show up 5 minutes after kick-off if you haven’t told them how to get there. Make sure that you are sending clear directions on how to get to the facility, where the changing rooms are, where you intend to meet and what pitch you are playing on.
It can look a little ridiculous if that ringer you’ve invited along has accidentally joined the game on the next pitch as you didn’t tell him where to meet.
Make it clear who is expected to turn up
Well in advance of kick-off you should send a final confirmed list of players out so that no-one has any excuses for not turning up. For a bonus point, you could even pick the teams beforehand so you can get straight on with playing as soon as everyone arrives.
Reward loyal players
Give priority to those players that show up regularly. Make sure they’re automatically included on the team sheet. Look after the regulars and they’ll stay committed to playing for you every week.
Make it enjoyable for players
If you’re playing competitively, try to enter a league or cup where players are of a similar level and where your team can be competitive without feeling like you’re steamrollering every other team. The novelty will soon where off and players will think they’re not needed if you’re making light work of the opposition every week. Your local centre should help with this and ensure you are playing in the right division, make sure you register early too to make sure that your division doesn’t fill up before you get in.
Welcome new players
If you’re inviting along a new player or two, make sure that you introduce them to the rest of the team and that everyone knows who they are. Try to make them feel part of the team and they’ll want to keep coming back.
Look the part
Make your team stand out from others and your players will think you’re a well run and organised team – someone special to play for. Bring along a set of coloured bibs, or dare I say it, get a sweet set of matching strips or jerseys from an online football kit store. KIKOFF Soccer Centres offer 10% off with the coupon KIKFLY10
Have a good team name
Having a stand out, witty, yet inoffensive team name will mean that players will remember you and will want to keep playing for you.
After each game drop a quick email to thank everyone for turning up. Feel free to gloat about your own performance as you see fit.
If players see your team or regular game as something that is well organised, competitive and fun to play for they’ll want in. Even if you’re not the most talented group of individuals, the camaraderie and fun nature of your game will tempt players into begging you to let them play every week.