Ask The Coach: AGM, Sponsorship & Schools Update

With the AGM just one month away, we spoke to our Club's Head Coach & Secretary Arron MacDonald about the changes ahead for the club, got some more big news regarding club sponsorship and about the work we're doing with local schools...

BB: Coach, thanks for your time today... with the AGM just a month away, what changes do you see ahead for the club?

AM: No problem at all, with everything we've got going on at the club right now, I thought it was really important to give everyone an update! The first change I hope we see for the club, is to have a few teams competing in the National League. We've had an excellent response from players, coaches and the local community regarding this, and I think it shows a genuine belief that we can compete at that level, and in doing so increase the basketball offered within our community.

The other big change I think we'll see is going to be around the management and organisation of our club. At the moment, we have a few people who 'wear a few different hats' and while that's not uncommon in a volunteer-led organisation, we can't pretend it's either ideal or efficient. As such, a lot of work has gone in this season with our Management Committee, as we've looked to create a better structure for the club moving forwards, one which creates more volunteer opportunities, but ensures that those opportunities are in clearly-defined roles which add value to the club.

That's meant that certain roles have been highlighted as being unnecessary for the way we operate, and have been folded-into other roles within the committee. It's also meant the creation of new roles through the club committee and indeed, a different way of organising the committee as a whole.

BB: So, how will the Committee be organised differently?

AM: At present, like in most committees, we have a Chair who oversees everything. However, from there, our structure was quite flat and ill-defined. We have two Vice Chairs at the club - but they had no area of responsibility; and although our Committee Meetings were always planned and structured, it's reasonable to ask whether everyone needed to be around the table for every part of the discussion. For instance, the Coaches didn't need to know too much about Social Media work, and vice-versa.

What we've done is altered our structure, so that we have a Management Committee of a Chair, Two Vice-Chairs, a Secretary, Treasurer, Welfare Officer and Head Coach - and they oversee relevant sub-committees within the club, focusing on Managing the Club Service, Finances and Technical areas of the club. This ensures that our Management Committee are managing relevant areas of the club based on their role, knowledge and expertise - and should limit the necessity for our volunteers to spend their time at meetings which are unrelated to their role.

All of these changes have been agreed in principle by our Committee, and are to be ratified by the members at the AGM.

BB: Thanks for explaining that. Our post regarding the AGM also noted that you, along with two other committee members, are resigning from their posts, why is that?

AM: I've had a couple of emails regarding this - but it's really nothing to worry about, in fact, I think it's more good news!

Part of the reasoning behind the re-structuring of the committee was to help to build the volunteer base, and to try and remove the need to have any one person holding multiple roles across the club. In my case, as well as doing a lot of our Publicity work in conjunction with the other members of our Publicity Team, I'm Club Secretary and Head Coach. That would have put me across all three sections of the club, with multiple Management Committee roles - which is neither ideal nor efficient.

More than any of that though, it's essential that as a member of our Management Committee, I live our club's values - and to me the most important is the club getting better year-on-year. While I believe that I have our club's best interests at-heart, I believe that having more volunteers across the club, with input as to its' running is essential for our club to grow and prosper; and that this move should free-up a little bit of my time to undertake some different projects to really help our club grow - like our Coaching Development Days and working more closely with schools in the area - as well as a little more downtime with my family.

In the case of the other two officers, my father is our current Chair, but owing to ill health has been unable to be as involved as he would have liked this season, and it's essential that he steps away from the role to really focus on getting better; and in Glenn's case, he's been our Club Treasurer for many years, and will still be around the club to assist in the handover process (and may consider applying for another committee role), but he's beginning his journey as a Coach and it's really important to us as a club that we support his development.

We still have a very strong pool of volunteers, and we've already had a number of people come forwards to express their interest in joining the committee, which is superb. So again, there's absolutely nothing to worry about! Our focus this year has been on growing our volunteer base, and we're really looking for more people to come on-board to help us move forwards, so if you're reading this and you think you'd like to get involved, please check out the Role Profiles, and get in touch!

BB: We understand that there's been more good news regarding sponsors at the club too?

AM: Yeah, so the work behind-the-scenes has continued and we're pleased to announce two more sponsors for the upcoming two seasons... Carters Barbers and Skyliner Sports Centre!

We're delighted that both of these organisations have pledged their support to add to our growing number of sponsors... and again, we're not done yet! We're waiting for feedback from a few more organisations following some initial discussions, and we hope to have more good news to share in the coming weeks, but if anyone out there knows of any other organisations who'd like to help our club to grow the game, please let us know!

BB: And back on the court, we've heard that there's work underway with local schools, too. What can you tell us about that?

AM: Throughout this year we've been really active on Social Media and have also been emailing schools to try and build better relationships and formalise a pathway for students across the area to play basketball. We think that's worked pretty well - as our members attend more than twenty schools across four counties! However, there's always room for improvement, and so I've been reaching out again to schools in the area, offering free taster sessions for basketball, so that more young people in our area get the opportunity to play the game.

At present, I'm due to go into a few High Schools before the summer break, and we're going to be reaching out to Primary Schools in the area too about getting in to see them once they're back from the Summer Break, so that we can start working with younger players - with a view to having Under 12's teams in-place at the club for the start of the 2020/21 season. So, if anyone out there would like us to visit their school, please get in touch!

BB: Coach - thanks again for your time!

AM: My pleasure!