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Tips for Building a Club Within a Club


If you’re a full-service facility, with multiple programs, services and fitness opportunities, it may be hard for your members to feel like they’re a part of a community. That’s why many clubs have begun forming “clubs within clubs” via running groups, Group X or even book clubs, so that members feel like they truly belong.

One of Leisure Sports’ clubs within a club is TEAM ClubSport, which has three goals. One is to provide a training opportunity that allows members to achieve athletic feats they never thought possible, such as running a marathon. The second goal is allowing members to meet other like-minded members and create new friendships. And the third goal is emotionally connecting members to the team and other members so they stay longer and are raving fans in the community.

Ralph Rajs, the senior vice president of operations and wellness for Leisure Sports, provides tips for successfully building a club within a club at your facility.

“Create a mission or a charter statement. Ours is: To help the beginner and intermediate runner, triathlete and biker accomplish things they never thought possible while making life-long friends.”

“Get the right leader who is bought into the mission. The head coach in our case, must have the knowledge, leadership skills and desire to see others succeed while subordinating their own workouts.”

“Create a three-year plan. This type of club takes time to nurture and grow. Start modestly in year one and add new elements and race opportunities each year. You have to be willing to make the commitment.”

“Make it social and make it fun. Have parties, shout out members’ accomplishments on your social media outlets, have logo’ed shirts made. You want to make it easy for a high percentage of your membership to participate.”

“Don’t worry about the fast guys and gals. The fast racers are a different group who want different things than the team offers. They want things that cost you money, like entry fees and bike tires. That’s a different program with a different ROI equation.”

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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