In common with customers for any product, participants and parents can choose to become members at a wide range of Rugby League clubs.
Their decision is based upon "what they want" from a rugby club.
If they are adult players and want to perform at a high level, then they will choose a club which competes in the higher leagues, that has good coaching, good facilities and a strong ethos.
Parents will choose a club that offers them what they want for their children and this will include good coaching, a safe environment, a welcoming environment, a club where their children can make friends, discipline and very often a social environment for themselves.
The successful club are very conscious of this and will
a) strive to create a club which offers what the target audience wants and
b) promote the ethos and beliefs of the club. However, it is also important to deliver what you promise to deliver unless the “customers” will move away.
A family-orientated club, for example, must be welcoming, must look after the parents, run family-orientated events, be child friendly and provide good coaching.
What does it offer to the players?
The juniors are provided with an environment in which the aims are friendship, discipline and hard work. All players are welcomed and all players are treated equally but they strive to ensure that every player has an opportunity to develop, to be as good as they can be.
The senior players are treated in a similar way with discipline and hard work but the club is ambitious and the players are expected to provide commitment. In return they are supported with good coaching and an environment which cares for them and in which friendships flourish.
Several years ago two members of the club took their own lives. In response to this the club recognised the importance of understanding mental illness and they introduced a support through a charity called “State of Mind” who came and talked to the players. It opened up the subject for debate and there are channels of support for any player within the club who has any issues they need to discuss.
The club also raised £24,000 to build a memorial to the two members but it chose to create a very visible memorial of a children’s playground. This provides benefit to the young people but also acts as a reminder of the need to be aware of the importance of mental health support.
Siddal ARLFC is a hugely successful rugby club that attracts and retains families, players and supporters from across its community and, most impressively, beyond.
The "product" that all of these individuals want to buy is a club in which people are valued, they are supported, they are welcomed and that they are provided with "what they want" from the game and from their club.
The Club also works hard to understand what their players and supporters "want" from them and strive to provide it, in other terms they provide great "customer service."
This ethos isn't written down like it is in some clubs but is a culture which has been developed by its members and which is supported, developed and reinforced by its members.
Responding to the player's wants and needs
They also developed an u23 team which was in fact their 'A' team but, by calling it the u23 team, it had its own identity.
By doing this, they have been successful in retaining players and in developing young players by allowing players to play with their peers at a time that is most convenient to them, within a performance environment.
Within this environment, the opportunity to progress either through to the Siddal First Team or into the (semi) professional ranks still exists.
The club has been very successful in developing young talented players for the professional game.
However, they recognise that not all players make it and if they do the impact on the individual’s self-esteem is huge, many in fact drop out of the game.
At the club they care about these individuals and work hard with them to re integrate them into the club, to show them respect and re build up their confidence. This has been a very successful activity for both players and the club.
The club is currently working to encourage younger people with specific skills to get involved in the club.
Several individuals are becoming involved with specific projects and it is starting to impact on areas such as data base management, marketing and sponsorship.