A lot of clubs sell the membership and provide access to the facility and programmes, but how many support their members to form and sustain positive participation habits first?
Sometimes we can inspire people who are just starting out with visions of being the next top squash athlete. As a result they jump straight onto court and play match after match and what often happens is that they end up not being able to walk for a week – or at worst, injure themselves. By the time they can walk again that initial momentum is gone and their membership renewal is at risk.
New squash players need to take it slow, build their fitness gradually and experience all that squash has to offer so they can better understand their own ability. Research shows it is how people become acclimatised to fitness activities that contributes to membership retention. Group programmes offer an environment that both men and women find appealing. Squash programmes are a great place to start for those who may be daunted by the squash courts. It provides a sense of community that people frequently cite as a reason for joining a club.
Existing members must also be more involved in getting newbies on the court – over and above handing over a weekly timetable or event calendar and telling them have fun, get fit and play squash. Attending the first few times with the new member and reminding them to build gradually goes a long way to keeping the member coming back for more.
Most sports clubs are looking at how they can retain their members. The proven answer so far is a simple sign up process, offering an easy going schedule, lots of activities and plenty of club guidance. The result is happy and engaged members that will keep coming back for more.