We look at what it takes when building a successful Britball team from the ground up with all the key components covered if you want to start your own!
Let’s be honest, it is pretty evident that anyone can create a Britball team in BAFA to give people the opportunity to get involved in the game. It is also evident that for many, that is the only aim they start with.
To create a successful, long-lasting, financially stable and competitive team it takes a lot more than a love for the sport. In this article, I will go through a number of key points that people should consider when building their own American football team.
- A group of people who have a passion for the game
Get a group of people who have been watching the game for a long time, want to play the sport or have a good knowledge of the sport. If you don’t have a passion for something you will never give it 100%. This group will be a small foundation to build from, spread the word and promote the new club.
- Set up in area where no other teams are in direct competition with you
Too many times in Britball we see a few players get hacked off with one team and leave to create another in the same area. This causes issues for all sorts of reasons including tensions between the clubs, players transferring back and forth and fighting for the same funding and sponsorship. Find an area with resources that can be tapped into with a good individual catchment area.
- Build a committee with expertise in key areas
This may seem like a no brainer but it very rarely happens. If you can, you want to recruit personnel with experience in things like management, financial backgrounds, administration and marketing to cover key roles such as your general manager, treasurer and secretary then it gives a huge boost to the knowledge base of promoting a brand.
- Recruit one experienced/qualified head coach
Get a coach on board that has experience of either coaching American football directly or another sport to a decent level with knowledge of the sport. This coach can set a philosophy that they want to introduce and get to work recruiting or training up other coaches to start training the group.
- Advertise the new team forming with large scale announcements in local outlets
There will be a lot of potential players that have no idea there is now a team in their area available. You have to go all out with adverts in papers, on the radio and posters in key places like gyms, universities and other popular establishments. This may get you another ten potential players, but that combined with your original group can now spread the word to friends, colleagues or establishments you may not have thought of before.
- Connect with local university and flag teams
Local, already established university and flag teams could supply a wealth of experience to your growing squad as well as potential coaching help and resource sharing. They may also be able to share information on any struggles they had and things to avoid.
- Create a youth setup/platform
Once the adult team is successfully implemented if you have the resources try and get youth interest for a future set up to feed the adult team. If your resources are thin focus on the adult team until there becomes a point you are strong enough to run a youth team. Even doing monthly sessions to encourage and engage grassroots level participation.
Now you have the basics in place you want to put certain things in place before even applying to the league. This is the most time-consuming period and will require a fair bit of work if you want it done well.
This should be the number one priority as it sets out all club standards, policies and how they expect to run the organisation. It also lays out who holds what positions on the new committee and who players can go to with ideas around building the team. Documents that should be included are;
- Club Constitution
- Athletes Code Of Conduct
- Coaches Code Of Conduct
- Child Protection Statement
- Online & Social Media Policy
- Spectator (Club Member) Code Of Conduct
Have a look into your local authorities, governing bodies, local businesses and online opportunities for sporting grants to allow you to buy equipment, book facilities for training and pay for more advertisement to grow your club.
- Training and Game Day Facilities
It is unlikely you will be able to play games for at least the first year as you build the club but finding a training facility or area to call home is an important step. Look to local rugby/football clubs, school/university fields or parks with large grassy areas that can be rented for relatively cheap. Public parks are a good starting point when funding is low to start with until you have a source of income from players paying subs.
Once all of these things are in place, a lot of responsibility will come down to the coaching team from this point in terms of building a competitive squad. There are a lot of things as a coach you should take into consideration while building your new team from the ground up.
- Have a Philosophy
One of the most important things a coach should have is their own philosophy that they want the team members to buy into. Set it out early and often to make sure every coach, athlete and club member understands what they are buying into. If they don’t like it they should look elsewhere.
- Set an Attendance Policy
Even if it is set at 50% actual attendance with 80% of informed attendance, it sets a standard for the players to be at training or they won’t play. It shouldn’t matter if they are the most talented player in the squad the rules laid out for everyone will help develop team chemistry and keep members around for that chance that if they give the effort they will have every chance of playing.
- Consistently Look to Increase Your Knowledge
If you don’t know your stuff you will be found out very quickly by experienced players and most will not hold back to tell you either. Keep learning and upgrading your qualification where possible through online forums, courses or the annual British American Football Association (BAFA) coaches convention.
- Select Captains Wisely
Captains should be selected on the back of either merit or chosen by the players. The guys who show up to training every week, learn the playbook and guide others, not the ones who are seen as the biggest comedians or have a massive ego. You will only be asking for trouble if you do this.
Once you have set up an adult team apply for associate status and complete the standards set out by BAFA over the year to gain access to the league setup.
After a first season the aim is to retain as many players as possible from the original team and build on it for next year. It will likely take a year or two to start being competitive with the better teams in the division.
Never stop recruiting and advertising your brand to the local area as you never know who you may be missing out on if you don’t!