Make the most of your football clubs summer break

With only a few short weeks between your last match and the start of pre season friendlies the summer break can go by in a flash, here’s our guide to guaranteeing your football club makes the most of the summer break.

Analyse last season

Possibly the most vital step in the success of next season is evaluating last season. This has to be done quickly when things are fresh in your mind.

Consider every element of your football club, not just on the pitch. Start with what went well and review the your strengths but more importantly think about what can be improved. Your player talent is the obvious place to start – what caused your most disappointing results? What went wrong and why? Think about your training, are there any weak links that need to be worked on? Did the team work well together, did you get the tactics right?

End of match

Coaching and management staff are the next element to consider, is every member contributing everything they can to the team? Are all members pulling in the same direction and have the same goals?

Think about the facilities at the football club and the kit and equipment, what can be improved? Were your sponsors right last season? What do you need to achieve from sponsorship next season?

Every element of your team contributes to your success so leave no stone unturned!

Player social events!

We’re not just talking about the end of season bash here (enjoy though!) we’re talking about building player bonds and team spirit before the pre season training starts.

Celebration

It’s a great idea to have a get together lined up towards the end of the summer, to allow the team to integrate and kick off the team spirit. Before throwing players back in to training having a get together is a great way to rally the team and spark camaraderie. A social is a great opportunity to set out the goals for the club and get the season started with the right mentality

We’ll cover recruiting new talent to your football club later but having a social is a great way to get new talent and younger players involved.

Set goals for the coming season

The obvious step after reviewing last season is to set your goals for the coming season. Whether you are a youth club, non-league football club, brand new team or professional club, goals should be set and communicated all the way through the team.

Setting goals is a vital part of motivating players and building team spirit. Think about setting goals not only for where you want to rank in the league and what silverware you want to win but also in terms of new members, revenue for the club and sponsorship deals.

Individual goals are also important for your players and your coaching team so make sure that goals are set at every level, motivating each member of the football club.

Player training

In the weeks before your season starts pre-season training is vital, for player fitness, a solid start to the season and finalising your tactics. Once your matches start there’s such little time for building fitness or working on tactics so use your training time wisely!

Building fitness is key, after a summer of BBQ’s and beers getting back to fitness needs hard work and determination! Before you get into playing friendlies running is a tried and tested way to build stamina and strength. High Intensity Interval training is a brilliant way to get players running – sprint for 10 seconds and walk for 20 seconds – you can easily build up by reducing the intervals.

The beep test (a favourite among the coaches in the Premier League) is another great way to get players running (although they will hate you for it!)

football club sideline

Once fitness is improving it’s time to get into game situations. Player’s get into the match mindset and you can start to experiment with line up and tactics. A game situation is a positive way to finish a training session, it’s what players love and a great way to lift spirits after a tough session.

Recruit new talent

Every club needs a steady stream of incoming members to keep the club moving forward, they are the future of your club and make sure you can keep serving the community. Pre season is the perfect opportunity to snap up new talent.

Reaching out to parents who want to get their children involved in football is a great place to start, fun days and fund-raisers are a positive way to get your name out there and encourage families to visit the club.

Youth team members could be future players, coaches or board members! You could hold a barbecue for all your players and families, encourage your team to bring along friends and family members to find out what the club is all about.

Take it a step further and engage the local press and ask if they want to take pictures about the football club and its place in the community.

Admin, admin, admin

The list here is endless….approach local businesses about exciting sponsorship opportunities, get the football club kit and equipment updated, update your training equipment, prepare your home venue and make sure the clubhouse, changing rooms and pitch are up to scratch….

But most importantly, get your website ready for the new season! We covered the importance of a great website earlier in the year and now is the time to get moving.

We recommend using WordPress with WP Club Manager and our latest and most powerful theme Victory to build a professional football club site that looks awesome and engages players.

So here’s to a great summer for your football club and a successful season!

How to build a professional sports club website

Football, cricket, rugby, baseball…whatever your sport your club can have a professional website. With WP Club Manager and WordPress here’s our step by step guide to creating your club site without writing any code!

Step 1: Download WordPress

The first step in creating your sports club website is to download WordPress. WordPress is open source software used to build and design your website. It’s free to download, easy to use and extremely powerful. WordPress powers more than a quarter of the world’s websites and boasts a wealth of support and documentation to help you at every step.

WordPress download page

Follow the simple steps at WordPress.org  and all you need to know is in the handy guide. This step really is straightforward and takes moments.

You will need to add a theme to your site, for optimum performance with WP Club Manager we strongly recommend installing our most powerful and versatile theme Victory. However this is optional. We discuss customising the appearance of your website in more detail in part 2.

Step 2: Install WP Club Manager Plugin

Once WordPress is up and running you can extend the functionality of your sports club website with a Plugin. So what is a plugin? Simply put it is a piece of software that adds functionality and features to a website. With over 45,000 Plugins currently available on WordPress the possibilities are endless.

WP Club Manager is a free Plugin designed to integrate seamlessly with WordPress to create, run and manage a sports club website.

Automatic installation is the easiest option as WordPress handles the file transfers itself and you don’t need to leave your web browser.

To do an automatic install of WP Club Manager, from within your WordPress dashboard, navigate to the Plugins menu and click “Add New”. In the search field type “WP Club Manager” and click “Search Plugins”. Once you’ve found our plugin you can simply click “Install Now”.

WP Club Manager install

Once the download is complete, hit “Activate” and you will be welcomed by the WP Club Manager getting started screen

WP Club Manager welcome page

Step 3: Tailor the plugin settings

The “Getting Started Guide” will take you through selecting your sport other key settings for your club website, these can be entered straight into the Quick and easy set up page or through the admin menu within the Club Manager section.

Here you can set the Default club, Sport and Base location.

The sport selected will determine the players stats which are available.

The base location is the home country for the club, player’s nationality will default to this location.

In this settings section you can also enter a Google Maps API key by clicking the link on the screen. Once entered this will automatically show a map for each venue address (we’ll come to adding venues in a few moments)

Within the Club Manager section you can also work through the default settings for players, staff, matches, standings and licences.

Within players and staff you can select which details you want to show on each individual profile with an easy tick box selection.

Plugin settings

Matches settings allow you to customise the format for how matches are displayed on your club website and match lineup display options.

Standings are where you edit the options for points for a win, draw and loss.

Finally licences will show the licence keys for any additional Plugins which are installed (we’ll come on to those in part 2 of this blog)

Step 4: Competitions and Seasons

The next step in creating your complete sports club website is to set up Competitions and Seasons, from the admin menu select “Clubs” and “Competitions”. This will take you straight into the screen to add a new competition where you can enter the relevant details.

We would recommend that you include a competition label which is a shortened version of the competition name and will display better in fixtures lists and matches widgets.

If you have multiple competitions set up you can easily search them using the search function in the top right corner.

Competitions page

Seasons are next, once again select seasons from “Club” section of the admin area.  You will be taken directly to the “Add new season” area in order to fill in the information for each season as required.

We have designed our Plugin, documentation and support to guide you through each step of creating your sports club website. If at any time during the set up process you need some guidance the first place to start is with our documentation which can be found by selecting “Club Manager” from the admin area and under the “Need Help?” section select documentation

Support options

Step 5: Teams

If your club has more than one team, for example, firsts, reserves, youth team etc. you will need to create a team for each one. If there is only one team in your club this step is not required.

Teams can be found under the players section of the admin area. Once in the “Add team” area you enter the team’s details. If relevant you can add a parent team but if this is not needed it can be left as “none”.

We recommend adding a display name for your team, this is a shortened version of the team name and improves the display within fixtures and matches widget.

Step 6: Venues

Within the club section of the admin area hit “Venues” and navigate through the “Add venue” options. Fill in all the relevant details. If you enter the venue address and have set the Google Maps API (see step 3) this will automatically display the google map.

Venues are set for your home venue and opponent venues.

Venues page

Step 7: Your club details

Now that your plugin settings are complete, competitions and seasons are set and venues are set up you can move on to entering all your club details. Within the “Clubs” section of your admin area go to “All Clubs” and your default club will be showing. Click “Edit” and you will be able to customise all the details for your club.

The main body of this screen is the section to enter the club profile – this will be displayed on the Clubs page of your website. You can use this to enter any content you wish from a history of the club to contact details and travel information for your fans. You can also add a team photo by clicking “Add media” and uploading a file.

On the right hand side of this page you can assign competitions, seasons and venues. Competitions and seasons are used to filter clubs into the correct standings tables and match lists so it is important that these are set up correctly.

The details of the venue will be shown on the club page of your site including the address, capacity and Google Map location.

Set the club badge by uploading the clubs logo which can be displayed across your site depending on your theme.

It is recommended that you upload as big an image as possible to avoid pixelation issues that might arise when WordPress resizes the uploaded image.

Club statistics are where you manually edit the stats record of any season or competition combination. The stats are divided into the clubs selected competitions and again into seasons. Click on a season to view those stats.

Club statistics

Opponent club’s details – when adding oponent clubs you add all the opponent teams you play (i.e. first and reserves would be set as two different clubs)

Step 7: Add player details

At the heart of any sports club website are the players. Adding your clubs players is quick and easy. You can add personal details for players like height, weight, age, date of birth and birthplace as well as their sports profile including previous clubs, positions, squad number, joined date and manually edit their performance statistics.

To add a new player go to Players in your admin area and hit  “Add New”.

Enter the players name (eg. Wayne Rooney). This name will be displayed throughout the site when referring to this player.

You can add a biography of the player which can include images, media or anything else you want. The players bio is also handy if you want display additional information about the player which isn’t in the Player Details section.

Then you must choose which teams the player is in (eg. First Team). Teams are used to filter the player lists in match selections, sort the players stats per team and to sort players by teams in player lists and tables.

Choose which seasons the player is competing in (eg. Winter 2015). Seasons are used to filter the player lists in match selections, sort the players stats per season and to sort players by season in player lists and tables.

You can assign an order number for the player in the Player Order section. Simply choose ‘menu_order’ as the Orderby value when you are creating a players widget or shortcode to display players sorted by their Player Order.

Player information

You can add an image of the player which will be displayed on the player profile page and in player lists, if set. You can alter the default size of the player images, including thumbnail sizes in Settings > Players.

Enter a squad number which you can can be displayed across the site and used to order player lists.Next set the player position, you can add more than one position.

Enter the player’s date of birth. This will be used to calculate the player’s age and can be displayed on the players profile page or in player lists.

The player’s height and weight which can be entered here so that it can be displayed on the players profile page or in player lists.

You can add the birthplace of the player which can be displayed on the players profile page or in player lists (eg. Manchester).

Enter the player’s nationality by choosing the players country of origin from the dropdown list. By default the players nationality is displayed as a national flag on the players profile page or in player lists.

Add the players previous clubs in the box provided. The content of this box can be displayed on the player’s profile page.

Enter the date the player joined your club by changing the Joined date. The date entered will be used to calculate a user-friendly display of the length of time the player has been at your club (eg. 3 years). This will be displayed on the player profile page if selected in player settings.

The stats tables are where you can monitor and manually edit player match stats.

Player statistics

Performance stats are recorded for each of your clubs players. Each players stats are automatically calculated after each match that a player is selected has been played. It is also possible to manually update players stats.

Each sport has a selection of preset stats. You can choose which stats you want to use for your players by selecting them in Settings > Players.

The players stats tables are visible at the bottom of the players edit screen in your dashboard.

Step 8: Add upcoming matches

So, all the details for your club website are coming together and it’s time to get ready for a match!

In the admin area select matches and hit “Add New” edit the fixture and match details by using the relevant boxes. You will select the competition, season, team and venue details from the information you have already entered above.

You can set the date and time of the match within the “Publish” section

You can enter a match preview which will be displayed before the match has been played. Once the match has been played the preview will be replaced by the Match Report.

You can add a video to be displayed in the match page on your club website. Click the Add Video link to reveal an input box in which to add the url of the media file associated with this match. Your video should be hosted on a 3rd party site like YouTube, Vimeo etc.

Step 9: Updating Match results

Once a match has been played you can edit the match to update the result and player stats. You can also add a match report for a full write up on your club website.

To edit a match go to “Matches” select “All Matches” and choose to Edit the relevant match.

Once you are within the Edit Match screen, check the Result box to reveal the Score options and Match Report area

After checking the Result checkbox in the Match Result section the Match Report area replaces the Match Preview area. The report will be displayed in the match page on your club website.

The final step is to update the player details according to your default sport.

Step 10: Adding a sponsor

To add a club sponsor select “Sponsors” from the admin area and hit “Add New”. Enter the sponsor’s name and URL, you can also set the sponsor logo from this page.

You can then choose to display the sponsor anywhere in your site by selecting the sponsor widget.

We hope the above is helpful in setting up your club website, however, for more detail please review our documentation and for anything not resolved please contact us through our support area

In Part 2 we will take you through how to customise your club website layout and appearance including adding a theme and extensions. Part 2 coming soon!

If you like WP Club Manager please leave us a ★★★★★ rating. A huge thank you in advance!

 

 

WP Club Manager for Cricket is released

With the return of a new season here in the UK we are pleased to announce the release of WP Club Manager for Cricket, a free extension which adds some awesome extra features to cricket club websites.

Detailed match scorecards

The WP Club Manager for Cricket extension replaces the default match lineup display with proper cricket style scorecards, with separate batting and bowling figures for your players.

The scorecards how more detail including batting strike rates, wickets, bowling economy, total extras and overs in a familiar scorecard format.

Better cricket player profiles

The WP Club Manager for Cricket extension gives you the option to add a players individual batting and bowling styles to each players profile so you can define their batting hand and bowling preferences.

Recording overs are also improved replacing the overs stat with the number of balls bowled. This allows for more flexibility displaying player overs totals by calculating overs from the number of balls bowled, which keeps your players overs figures in a familiar format.

With these and a few other awesome features this extension is a must if you are running a cricket club website using WP Club Manager!

Why your sports club needs a website

Streamline administration and improve communication in your sports club with a professional website

With easy to use, powerful and free tools, WordPress and WP Club Manager, building a website for your club doesn’t need to be difficult, expensive or time consuming. The benefits far outweigh the initial set up.

Here’s our top 5 reasons your club will benefit from a website

Engage your team

Engaging your current players has to be the key reason to have a club website. Keeping your players updated and in sync encourages motivation and success.

Without a contemporary website a team can feel outdated and dull.

A great website encourages enthusiasm and energy away from the playing field and strengthens commitment.

Communicating through your website is more consistent than making calls, sending emails or having a messaging group, it’s also far less time consuming. Your news, match summaries, team sheets can all be uploaded efficiently and shared with the whole team instantly

Your supporters

Whether playing in the local league or on an international stage there will be fans, supporters, followers. A website means they can feel part of the club and reinforces loyalty.

Maybe to check up on player stats, the next fixture or for a full match write up it’s a vital part of captivating your supporters.

Attract new talent

We know that in 2017 attracting new young talent is more important than ever. Young players are easily tempted away from teams and difficult to engage in the first place.

Without a slick website new talent may overlook your team and fail to get a sense of your club’s ethos.

Attract sponsors

After new talent and supporters the next most vital element of any sports team are the sponsors.
WP Club Manager Sponsors extension allows sponsors access to detailed stats whilst allowing the club to maintain full control

Get started with WP Club Manager today

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