A Guide to Producing a Hockey Club
Development Strategy & Action Plan
This guide has been written as a tool to enable clubs to determine what they want their
club’s culture and long term goals to be and set out an action plan of how the club
can work towards those goals.
Hockey is an ever changing sport and it is vital to the survival of hockey clubs that they
plan for the future. It is important that hockey clubs carefully plan where they want to
be in the future and take measured steps to achieving those aims.
So what’s the difference between development strategy and an action plan and how
are they related?
A hockey development strategy is a document which lays down your clubs vision for
the future, its aims and the way in which the club will achieve them. It is generally a
long term document which sets out the culture of the club and highlights key objectives
that the club wants to meet. It does not go into large amounts of detail but will include
a time scale and will state which role holder or group within the club will have overall
responsibility for each objective.
The action plan is where the detail for the next year/season will emerge. Ideally, at
each club committee meeting, the action plan will be referred against to ensure
progress is being made. At the end of each season, the action plan should be
comprehensively reviewed and renewed for the following year according to the review
and the club’s development strategy. This would happen year on year until the
development strategy has reached the end of the time period it was written for.
The action plan should include fine detail about timescales, who is going to deliver the
objective, with what resource, how can it be measured and when will a review take
place to determine success or otherwise.
Like the development strategy, a more detailed guide of how to put this together along
with a template is provided later in this guide.
How to Start Writing the Development Strategy
Your development strategy should answer these four questions:
What is your club’s culture?
This is a vital question and one that should be thought about carefully. There could be
many answers to this question:
· Is your club about development of junior players?
· Is your club a community club that aims to use hockey as a way of including children
or adults from hard to reach areas of the community?
· Is your club mainly focused on performance/elite hockey?
· Does your club just play hockey for fun?
· Does you club encompass some or all of the above?
It is important to understand how your members perceive the club and the committee
to clearly understand the club’s culture. If you do not define this at the start, there is the
potential to create long term objectives that are unrealistic.
Where is the club now?
Gather information to build a detailed picture of your club as it is today. You may wish
to carry out an audit of your club to form a starting point. Information should be factual
and provide firm foundations on which to build.
Include information about
§ Your clubs strengths and weaknesses
§ What opportunities and threats may face your club?
Gather information about the clubs members/participants
§ How many?
§ What are their ages?
§ How far do they travel to get to your club?
§ Playing versus nonplaying membership
§ How much do they pay to participate in hockey at the club?
§ Has membership increased, decreased or remained the same in the last year?
§ What is your potential membership?
§ How does your membership compare with other clubs in your area?
§ What do you know about people’s skills and how you can utilise their skills as
Gather information about your clubs activities
§ What do you offer?
§ How successful have you been in competition over the past few years?
§ Which activities attract the most support?
§ How many training sessions do you run each week? (breakdown by age/ability)
§ Do members have the opportunity to socialise?
§ Who makes the decisions?
§ How do you elect your committee members?
§ How many volunteers do you need?
§ How do you communicate with your members e.g. newsletters and is this effective?
§ What is your volunteer policy?
§ What is your policy on child protection?
§ Do you have a constitution?
Gather information about your coaches/officials
§ How many active coaches and officials do you have and what do they do?
§ What qualifications do they hold?
§ What training have they done this year?
§ How many coaches, leaders and officials do you need to sustain and develop your
programme of activities?
Where does the club want to be?
Now that your committee understands the culture of the club, where would your club
ideally want to be within 4 years? Try and keep these fairly realistic but don’t rule out
the big things like facilities, premierships and development of members (both junior and
adult players, umpires, coaches & other volunteers).
How do we get there?
Now consider the how.
Each aim should have a set of objectives – which describe how you are going to
achieve it. They should provide a very clear focus for all the work which will take place
over the next few years. Decide what you want to achieve, for whom you want to
achieve it, why you want to achieve it, when you want to achieve it by and how you
know when you have achieved it. Therefore, each objective should be:
§ Have a time frame
However, remember, the action plan will pick up the fine detail in each year of the
strategy so don’t get bogged down. Refer to the template development strategy for
an extensive list of headings you should be looking to include. Some examples are
§ Volunteer recruitment training and development (which could include players,
umpires and coaches)
§ Finance and administration
§ Fund raising and social activities
§ Links and partnerships with the local community (which could include schools, local
§ Youth development
§ Membership recruitment
How to Start Writing the Club Action Plan
As stated in the introduction of this document, the action plan is where the detail for
the next year/season will emerge.
So far, you will have a four year development strategy that will give an overview of
what objectives the club has. Using this document, the committee now needs to
determine from this strategy what actions it needs to take this coming year/season to
either achieve those objectives or take a step towards them.
For example, a four year objective may be to build a new pitch or club house. It is
unlikely that in one year the club will achieve this; instead, the action plan in the first
year should look at the steps the club needs to take in moving towards that objective
such as meeting local planners, investigating potential funding streams, etc.
An example of something smaller might be that in four years time the club may want to
have an advanced level coach at the club. If the club currently only has beginner
coaches, the first year action plan would likely give someone the responsibility of
accessing a development level course and looking at how the club may assist coaches
to achieve this.
Ideally, at each club committee meeting, the action plan will be referred against to
ensure progress is being made. Monitoring progress regularly throughout the
implementation of the plan is essential to ensure its success. Set realistic timescales and
try to stick within them.
At the end of each season, the action plan should be comprehensively reviewed and
renewed for the following year according to the review and the club’s development
strategy. This would happen year on year until the development strategy has reached
the end of the time period it was written for.
Of course, in the final year of the development strategy, your club yearly action plan
should include an action for the review and rewrite of a new development strategy.
This way, the club will always have a strategy driving the club forward and of course,
when it comes to applying for reaccreditation, the development strategy criteria will
already be achieved!
The action plan should include fine detail about timescales, who is going to deliver, with
what resource, how can it be measured and when will a review take place to
determine success or otherwise.