You are here

How to Start a Club

It is fantastic that you are reading this page because it means you are thinking about starting a women's Australian Football team in your city. Although it may probably feel like you are doing it alone, remember you have the support of all the other women starting teams in North America.

Communicate

Subscribe to the footy@womensfooty.com email list. Don't be shy! Ask questions, get advice, we're all in the same boat as you or perhaps slightly further along.

Let us know that you're starting a team so we can get your contact info and a team page at womensfooty.com. Of course if you already have your web site, we'll be happy to link to it instead.

Educate

Read the USAFL Club Development Document. Like the USAFL HowTo Page, they may not be fully relevant to women's footy.

Think about how to describe the game. You will most likely either be talking to someone who has no idea what Australian Football is or may think of it as rough or violent (side effects of the old ESPN TV coverage or watching unskilled players with an American football background). Describe it as a combination of soccer & basketball or ultimate, women's lacrosse, anything that the person whom you are describing it to may understand. Emphasize the elegance and grace of taking a mark, that you get to use your hands and feet, and that it is fast paced with lots of scoring chances.

Advertise

Make up flyers including a photo or two and bring them everywhere with you. Hand them out or put them up in places where athletically minded women congregate. Places like gyms, health clubs, league games for other sports like soccer, ultimate, gaelic football, rugby, touch/flag football (american), volleyball, etc. But don't stop there, answer any and all questions with a lot of enthusiasm. Recruit, recruit, recruit!

Get a story in local newspapers and/or television. The  sports or lifestyle sections are both good fits. Some sample articles are in the Media Sightings page.

 

Recruit

 

Practice in busy locations. One advantage to women playing 9 a side is that even with a full team, we can comfortably play or practice on a soccer or football field. Practicing where other people can see you is like having a store on a busy street with foot traffic. This will inevitably lead to people wondering what you are doing. Strike up a conversation, invite them to have a kick, and make sure they leave with one of your flyers.

If you play other sports, bring your footy with you and practice kicking before or after. Ask your friends to catch for you and let them have a kick.

Contact your local Park & Rec Department and volunteer to run an introductory clinic. This can be beneficial in northern climates as you may be able to get an indoor facility to use in the winter.

Affiliate yourself with a local men's club. Canadians will want to visit  AFL Canada. At the very least, become active in their club by attending games, volunteering, and talking to people on the sidelines (especially female significant others). Hopefully they will be supportive, you'll pick up a few players, and you'll get a person or two to help with training.

Retain

If you don't have enough women to field a full team you will be able to combine with other teams at tournaments.

Keep practices fun. You worked hard to get women to come, you don't want them to get discouraged and not come back. Give a lot of praise and helpful comments, spend time with every woman in attendance. Make sure whenever you split up into groups or pairs that the more experienced women are spread out with the newer players.

Use the USAFL Skills Guide (PDF) and Training Drills (PDF) as a guide of some things to work on at practice. This is especially important if your team doesn't have an experienced player.