How to form a Track Club
Courtesy: Ontario Track & Field Association
Note: This document has been modified to suit the needs of Athletics New Brunswick
The purpose of this document is to assist people in the initial stages of getting a club organized in their community. It is not intended to cover all areas that could affect clubs. Club officials are encouraged to contact the ANB office if they require information not covered in this document.
Before a track club is formed one important question should be addressed: Who will the club be serving? A number of different types of clubs are possible (and exist), including:
- All Around Clubs (including Track & Field, Cross Country, and Road Racing)
- Track & Field Only
- Track Only (all track, distance only, sprints only, etc.)
- Field Only (jumps only, throws only)
- Multiple events Only
- Cross Country Only
- Road racing Only
Some clubs accept membership only from adults, some cater to age class development. There are clubs that are primarily interested in developing athletes to national or international levels, while other clubs exist solely for the recreational interests of its members.
Obviously the type of club to be formed will primarily depend on the interests of those who will be doing the coaching:
- How many coaches will be involved?
- What is their commitment in terms of time?
- What events do they want to coach?
- With what type of athlete do they want to work?
After this important item has been dealt with, it is time to establish an executive and to name committee chairpersons. The club executive usually consists of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
Sometimes a Board of Directors is formed, consisting of the above executive members plus the Head Coach, Athlete's Representative, and the chairpersons of some of the committees named below:
- Community and Media relations
- Club Newsletter
- Records and Statistics
It is best, initially, to appoint Directors and Chairpersons. After the club is established, elections should be held annually to determine the members of the executive. It is wise to hold meetings on a regular basis. Board members and Committee Chairpersons who are not active should be replaced. Most clubs will have a constitution which outlines their philosophy and general policies.
When starting a club it is not essential to have certified coaches. The main ingredient for success at this stage is for the coach(es) to be enthusiastic and be willing to read books on technique and training methods. In many cases the personal experiences of former athletes who wish to offer their services as coaches can be called upon to get the club started. Once the club begins to develop, it is advisable for coaches to proceed with their certification. At this point the ANB office can be contacted for details with regard to proper procedure and availability of courses.
Coaches are also advised to register with ANB so that they can be kept informed of all developments relating to coaching. Many clubs now pay the registration fee on behalf of their coaches.
The first step in fundraising is to find out from the local recreational department which are the various service clubs and large businesses in the area and if they will support a club in the area. It could be that they will give a one-time only donation to get the club started, or they may provide some funding over a period of time. A prepared submission is superior to a verbal discussion as ultimately, a written statement will be required.
Most of the better-organized clubs have their own fundraising projects, such as raffles, runathons, dances, and competitions. Many companies wanting to organize road races to help promote their products seek help in the technical aspects of the race from the local track club and will either pay a flat fee or will offer the entry fees in return. Dances provide a good opportunity for a social get-together. They should be open to the public. Remember, however, that the prime objective is to raise money.
A number of clubs obtain a licence to operate a bingo. Check with municipal and/or provincial officials. A steady source of funds with minimal work is the result of being successful in this venture.
Affiliation/Registration with ANB
Each year the club should send a completed club affiliation form along with payment of the appropriate fee to Athletics New Brunswick. Affiliated clubs receive voting privileges at the ANB Annual and Semi-annual General Meeting, space on the ANB web page to advertise, two (2) non-competitive individual memberships, and the right to enter athletes in sanctioned competitions under the club name. Additional privileges include a reduced rental fee on equipment needed to run a competition.
Athletes wishing to compete in provincial or national championships or be considered for provincial teams or training camps, High Performance Athlete funding, etc. must be members of ANB. ANB membership automatically includes membership with Athletics Canada. Where possible, it is expected that athletes will also belong to a local club.
Persons wishing to have a recreational, non-competitive membership are also welcome at reduced fees and services.
Road racers wishing to compete only on a non-championship basis in road races may take out a road racer membership in Run N.B. through the parent body, ANB. A membership form is included on the ANB web site and must be downloaded, completed, and sent to the ANB Registrar along with the appropriate fee.
ANB Drug Use and Doping Control Policy
ANB is unequivocally opposed to the use by athletes of any banned substances or methods in contravention of the rules of the Provincial, National (Athletics Canada), and/or International Sport federations (IAAF), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and other recognized Sport Organizations (AUAA and CIAU).
ANB is unequivocally opposed to any encouragement of the use of such substances and/or methods by individuals in positions of leadership in the sport (i.e., coaches, officials, athletic staff, medical practitioners, sport scientists, administrators, etc.) or by athletes themselves. The providing of, or administration of banned substances and/or methods to athletes is also forbidden and can result in expulsion from the sport.
Club Membership Fee
A membership fee structure should be established keeping in mind projected travel costs, club administration expenses, and the ANB membership fees. Clubs may also consider paying coaches an honoraria for their services and may increase membership fees to subsidize this expense.
A good fundraising program usually means relatively low membership fees. All athletes in the club should be required to participate in fundraising activities.
If a club is to become well supported by the community, the local media must be provided on a regular basis with a write-up of the club's activities. Through exposure in the media, people in the community will read or hear about club activities and take interest. Sponsors are generally impressed if they can read or hear something in the local press or on radio or television.
Areas to look at for a club are an outdoor location and a school gymnasium for indoor (winter) use. Usually a club organizer will have to contact the local Parks and Recreation Department and/or School Administrator on this. He/she should be prepared with a written brief about club objectives and why the club needs both of the above as well as basic equipment. Remember, facilities must be obtained for the lowest cost, or, better still, for FREE!! If you are lucky, your club will have access to an indoor track. However, a great many athletes, past and present, have reached international status without having an indoor track on which to train.
ANB, and its clubs, offer a growing, and wide, range of competitions in various age groups. One sign of the organizational maturity of a club is its ability to organize and carry out a top-quality competition. Conducting such a competition requires a great deal of work on the part of the club, but the rewards of club members and friends working together and the revenue generated for the club make it well worth the effort. Interested clubs should contact the ANB office concerning sanctioning procedures if they wish to stage a competition. Without the club's support there would be, at best, a minimal provincial competition program.
ANB has some funds allocated to support high-level Junior and Senior athletes to travel to national championships held outside New Brunswick. Criteria is laid out in ANB's Policy Statements.
Every club should appoint a well-organized person to act as Entries Secretary. This person has the extremely important function of liaising with club coaches and athletes concerning entries for upcoming competitions. A great deal of club money can be wasted on late-entry fees - or worse yet, an athlete may be denied entry into a competition - if the job is mishandled.