How to write a Strategy for Rowing Clubs Part 1


It’s nearly time for the quiet “off season” for many northern hemisphere rowing clubs. Use this time to reflect on how you want your club to be organised and run for next season. Rowperfect met John Parker who is former Chief Executive of Sport Waikato, New Zealand and asked him How should Clubs write a strategy?

First steps in writing a strategy for rowing clubs: a document

Be clear on what you want to do – why does the club exist? Have a “vision statement” by all means, but mostly I prefer this wording because it is clearer to members. Don’t forget your club’s history, but also look to the future.

A word of warning, don’t get lost in “We want a bigger boat shed / larger membership”. Something like “We are here to encourage people to row or achieve the best they can achieve” is probably what you’ll end up with.

Step 2 – how to apply the vision

Divide the statement up into roles – these could be departments and a committee or sub-committee jobs.

Then write a focusing statement for each one of these. Coaching – the vision statement for coaching could be “To provide opportunities for all potential coaches to reach the level of coaching they desire.”

The vision statements for each department should be similar to each other – don’t just leave the vision for the head of the organisation or Captain / Chairman.

Step 3 – getting things to happen

Then list a maximum of 5 things you want to achieve for a 3 year period.

Identify the three things you can do now. It might be the whole 5, if you are really resourceful, but focus on the top 3!

For these three indentify the skills and qualities you require in the people to lead each area and do the things that need doing.

The central group (a maximum committee size of 5) is your starting point, then identify the individual people the committee are going to approach with those skills. Matching the tasks with the skills is really important.

Go to each person with a well-prepared little pack explaining the situation and ensure that throughout their job/ tenure one person from the committee will be there to guide and support them throughout.

Committee people guide and support rather than doing the hands on work.

Who is doing this well?

Too often clubs sit there and wait for people to come and volunteer their services.  When Australian sport was at its peak in the early 80s they were approaching people in just this way.  That’s how they built the grass roots which led to a fabulous Olympics 15 – 20 years later. In my view, England is probably doing better at this than anyone at the moment.

Kiwi Sport came out of Australia’s “Aussie Sport” organisation. They were breaking things down into bite size chunks for all clients.  This meant miniature versions for children e.g. rugby fields were smaller and netball goals are 8 feet rather than 10 feet off the ground so little girls could score. Made everything appropriate to a client group.

Read Part 2 – How to Write a Club Management Strategy

Got any questions for John?  Write them in the comments below and we’ll get you answers.

John Parker writes the Advice Series of e-books for Sporting Parents, Coaches and Athletes.


Subscribe to our Newsletter for more information:

Our Rowing Network

Did you like this post? Support this blog and our network by donating

Feel like Rowing again? Visit the Shop at!

Accessories, equipment, boats, clothing

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Whether it’s sports, nutrition or equipment, you’ll find what you’re looking for in one of these categories


Everything about rowing – browse through our large archive or search for articles of your choice


Search Blog


Rowing Network

Do you like our posts? Support this blog and our network by donating


Get all latest content and news!