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Club and coach form winning partnership at Eaglemont

17 May 2017

Shane Scrutton has been the club coach at Eaglemont Tennis Club since 2002, and was recently offered a contract to spend another 5 years at the club, an unusually long time frame for such a contract to run. So what is the secret behind such a successful pairing?

It’s simple, says club President Rob Edgley. “Our coach has become synonymous with the club itself. Shane is the face of the club and we basically operate on the premise that the more successful his business is, the more successful we will be as a club.”

Shane has been given several responsibilities at the club, which is of great assistance to the volunteer committee. He is on both the General and Junior committee, attends meetings and is heavily involved in the selection process for junior and Pennant teams. He is also responsible for recruiting new members to the club through his coaching program, running the Club Championships, Club Open Days and Parent Information sessions.

The Eaglemont committee has the view that every major project and improvement that is undertaken has to have joint benefits for both members and the coaching business. They understand that more kids coming down to the club for coaching leads to more junior competition teams and more families that engage with the club. This then leads to increased membership numbers. For example, a recently completed project to add LED lighting to 4 courts meant that the club was able to increase the hours of court access for coaching programs. This in turn increases the revenue that the club can earn from its coaching contract. This was a win-win situation that enabled Shane’s business to grow whilst at the same time increasing revenue and the potential membership pool for the club.

So how do you go about negotiating an agreement that works well for both parties? Here are Shane’s tips for ensuring a win-win outcome.

  • It is essential that a contract be negotiated which sets out the clear responsibilities of the club and the coach, and the many shared responsibilities.
  • The true impact of the coach needs to be acknowledged, including any volunteer responsibilities, and also recognise that the coach is running a business at the club. 
  • The tremendous amount of effort and time that club committee put into the club should also be acknowledged.
  • Ultimately the club and the coach should be both headed in the same direction and share a common vision – to grow the sport at the grassroots level, provide playing opportunities for club members, and have a focus on making tennis accessible and equitable for all members of the community.
  • Recognise that in a competitive sports environment, club and coach need to work together to provide a friendly and welcoming environment for the community.

“At the end of the day, the success of the coaching business should have a direct result on the performance of the club, and vice-versa,” said Shane. “Therefore, it is essential that there is an environment of mutual respect and support between both parties. It is imperative to have a document in place detailing what should happen in the event of a disagreement, so that issues can be successfully resolved.”

Rob echoed Shane’s comments, saying “The success of the partnership, as in any partnership, comes down to mutual respect and trust that each party is going to hold up their end of the agreement. We negotiated many shared responsibilities into the contract that kept everyone engaged and working in the same direction. We are always bouncing ideas off each other as to how we can increase participation at our club.”

Eaglemont made use of the Tennis Australia Club Coach Agreement Template to assist with negotiating a new contract with Shane. You can apply to access the template on the Club/ Coach Relationships page.

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