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Thinking of starting a league in 2022? Check out our top tips!

Many clubs up and down the country run leagues during the course of the year. These can be both good sources of additional income for your club and new players at both a social and competitive level, but if you don’t know where to start check out these top tips.

You will be joining a network of leagues across the country, from In2Touch’s venues in London and the Thames Valley, through to established competitions run by clubs in a variety of locations. CLICK HERE to see the list.

Gareth McRae, In2Touch’s Sports and Marketing Co-Ordinator, says that leagues are a crucial part of the sport’s infrastructure.

“There are many opportunities to play in men's, women's and mixed leagues across the country,” he says. “Playing in a structured league allows established teams and new players to get into the game, play at a grade that suits their ability, and develop their skills and experience. All while still enjoying the important social aspects Touch offers both on and off the pitch.”

So how do you get started? In no particular order:

Tip 1 – Get a great venue

The venue plays a massive part in making your league successful. Is it easy to find? Is there plenty of car parking? Are there secure changing facilities? Is it cost effective for your club to hire? Is there space for enough fields? While you may have a club base it does not hurt to shop around for your league venue 

Tip 2 – Get female players involved

Sometimes easier said than done, but having female players involved will help you develop your mixed leagues and then single gender leagues as time goes on. Approach local rugby clubs, and other sports as well

Tip 3 – Target juniors early

Approach local rugby clubs to give their young players something to play in the summer/off season, and approach other local sports clubs as well. Then when you have juniors playing you can get their parents involved as well!

Make sure you are using parent consent forms (like this one on our website) and appoint a safeguarding lead.

Tip 4 – Offer a variety of levels

If you can, offer leagues which are more appropriate for experience levels and leagues for single gender teams. Don’t be afraid of having barbarian-style teams for individuals to join; these can then evolve into more established groups as time goes by

Tip 5 – Consider all participants

Always run taster sessions for new teams and players and focus on referees and coaches as well as players. And while we all know that players want to play, your experienced players can help by working hands-on with the less experienced teams to help them gain more game understanding and develop

Tip 6 – Link to other clubs, sports and companies in your area

Teams who enter your league can come from a variety of places – other rugby clubs, teams from other sports, or groups of friends from companies and social settings. Take some time to establish those links in person, whether through networking events, emails, picking up the phone and spending a little bit of cash on social media

Tip 7 – Affiliate your league to England Touch

Affiliation is not just about insurance (although that is important), or about including your league on the website for some added publicity. England Touch will give you all the governance support you need, such as access to a shared national disciplinary network and standards, along with advice and support regarding safeguarding, equality and inclusion.

CLICK HERE for more details.

It is also worth remembering that unaffiliated leagues can fall foul of Federation of International Touch policy, too.

Please also note that a league affiliation is separate from your club affiliation (which does not cover running a league, only standalone events).

Tip 8 – Pandemic planning

Community sport is continuing as normal into the spring, but you need to be aware of the need to plan for Covid protocols, such as enough sanitising spray for each pitch, time to clear sub boxes between matches and space for teams to social distancing both outdoors and inside a venue.

Head to www.englandtouch.org.uk/coronavirus for the latest advice and information.

And finally…

Don’t be afraid to ask for more advice and help! England Touch’s team has a wealth of experience, and can also put you in contact with other clubs who have been where you have at the start of your league journey.

We are England Touch

Some space. A ball. Your mates. A game
Your team. A competition. Maybe a trophy or two
Work hard. Develop skills. Get selected. Represent your nation
Volunteer time. Pick up a whistle. Make a difference
This is England Touch. Good times in a sport for all