A question for seasoned leagues

Hello first of all, fairly new to the forums but currently in my 4th season at Blackpool. The Blackpool league is in its 4th season and I have a few questions for leagues that have been up and going for a while now.
A bit of background first our league is in 4th season and has 6 teams (well I say 6 teams one of the teams has 3 registered players and the other teams help them out.) Player numbers aren’t great and we decided at start of season due to lack of players we wouldn’t penalise teams for borrowing players as we all just want to play footy and lose weight. I think one of the issues and the most common complaint I hear ( I like to chat with all the players and get to know them all) is that they pay £25 a month for 30 mins of football a week. I know there is the forum but even so there are plenty of weight program forums across the internet that are free and just as helpful. Now watching a few youtube videos I notice some leagues have proper warm ups etc. so now to my questions that hopefully you guys can answer or give a bit of advice.

  1. for new leagues how have other leagues managed to get player numbers up and retain them?
  2. What support do you get from the people running the league and has it been of great help or just a little help.
  3. In your whatsapp groups what sort of stuff do you all chat about?
  4. Is there any tips for a newish league that is struggling?

Our league is run by the council and this season we have a new coach (bless him he has been thrown in the deep end and has a huge learning curve to get through) but it is turn up get weighed show tracking book go down to the pitches play football go home. Yes they bring in the odd recipe but there is no real nutritional help, they don’t really look at the book just look to see if it is written in (one week I just wrote down random words to test my theory!).
I really love the idea of Man v Fat and for me I tend to go gym first for 1 hr, then get weighed at 7.15pm then chat and warm up/kick a ball about for a bit then play my match which can be any time from 8pm to 9.30pm yet I stay the majority of the 2 hours as it gets me out and chatting with blokes and apart from work is my only social time so its great for my mental health. There are a lot of like minded people in my league and we all want the league to do well but it seems to be an uphill struggle so any tips would be great to make Blackpool a success. Cheers for persevering with the ramblings.

Here in Cardiff if there’s one single thing I’ve tried to focus on since taking over running the club from CCFC is ‘culture’ & ‘club mentality’ above all else.

There’s a ton of things but that’s been my personal focus

Some of our players might be able to offer some sage advice

@Stan @davidquinnie91

PM me and we will swap mobile numbers. I’ll drop you a message mate.

I’ve been in the Stoke league for around 5 seasons now and we finished what I believe was the 8th or 9th season on Friday. I’d say this season was probably one of the best I’ve been involved with, but that follows a couple of iffy seasons. It can be up and down, especially regarding numbers.

  1. Do you have any assigned player marketers? Myself and Chris are marketers for Stoke. I’ve not been quite as active with it as I’d like but set up our league on social media. Facebook has been a great way of getting our specific league out to local guys who may be interested, specially through players sharing any appeals or updates. It’s also a nice way to interact with the wider league as you can post about some of the biggest losers across the league. Our coach also records the last game of every game week which is fun to watch back, and a good example of what any new players will be getting involved in.
    Retaining players all comes down to the atmosphere within the league imo. We’ve had low moments where some teams were constantly at each others throats and the general atmosphere amongst the league was poor, leading to a lot of lads leaving. At the end of that particular season the captains came together with the coach and we discussed what we could do to fix it, and so far it feels once again like one unified league with the purpose of losing weight as opposed to an ultra competitive 6 a side league. Think building that group atmosphere is the key to keeping lads involved and committed.
    Do you have any extra kick abouts in the week? We have two which allow players from various teams to meet up and have a knock with each other. Again, goes a long way to building that community atmosphere.

  2. I think with MVF you get out what you put in. On the night the opportunities for support are limited as the coach has to weigh in everyone. For a while we had weekly video calls that we used to discuss the league and any dietary issues but sadly by the end of those no one was signing into them. I believe these should be offered by your coach? Outside of that I think a lot of the support needs to come from each other. We all know what works best. Ultimately though I do think it’s something that could be improved, possibly with a second member of staff on game nights focused specifically on helping those with weight loss support.

  3. The league whatsapp is generally reserved for organising the midweek games and non stoke fans ripping stoke fans for their awful season so far…
    There used to be a bit of direction of what to discuss on a weekly basis within the team chats but I haven’t seen so much of that lately. Occasionally see a post about some new healthy snack or recipe that someone has discovered. I guess its something captains need to take a bit of responsibility for, but could use some direction from the coach.

  4. It’s basically what maxnas said, focus on getting your culture and community right and people will naturally want to stay, and talk highly of it to others who may be interested!

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Hi, dont know if this will help but we started a Sunday morning game to get fitter and get to know other players better. We play 9.00am to 10am, its not a league, and if any games are one sided we change players. All standards play and noone is in that to win, just to get fitter.
We have up to 30 players each week, so have 3 x 5 a side games and it works well for us all.
As a result we know each other better and are more able to discuss weight and help each other where needed.
Antony (Northampton)

Hope you don’t mind me chipping in here Alan, but I too have been doing the Blackpool league since it started, and now in the 4th season. The first season was a free league and attracted just those that wanted to play football, but since then my Red team have been pretty consistent. We discussed how much weight we’d lost in total and 5 responded giving a combined total of 136kgs, or 300lbs. I have to say that our team is a really tight group. Some of us run together, cycle, have end of season night outs, and we play 5-a-side matches regularly in between our MvF matches. We’ve often invited players of other teams but apart from a few people, there’s not been much interest. Last night we had 4 spaces so we ended up playing 3v3 (with no keepers, only 3 touches allowed and can’t score outside the box) and it was a great workout, even in storm Lorenzo!!

We have a team ethic of everyone must lose weight every week or they should expect some ribbing. I find it amazing that some people on other teams were scoring own goals at the end of last season. Something wrong is going on there, but were they getting any support.

Player recruitment is a massive worry though, going forward. I get the feeling that numbers will drop dramatically for next season if nothing is done. There is some in-fighting in another team which isn’t helping, but nobody in blackpool, aside from some of the players, seems to be enthusing about the league.

Before last season, I went out and posted posters and a cover letter to 40 local GPs and there seemed be some takeup from that with leaflets put into reception areas, and 3 surgeries followed that up with meetings and calls. If anyone is interested doing the same it was incredibly easy as the NHS allows you to download a list of practices and even includes number of patients so you can target the busy ones.

Apologies I’ve only just seen this to my shame I’ve been neglecting the forum we have had some teething problems in Cardiff but I believe creating a united club feel is essential to any league in order for it to blossom if you would like to discuss it more pal feel free to send me a message as my main man Stan has said we are (hopefully) quite the dream team in Cardiff and we are really starting to build something good down here so if there’s any advice we can pass on I’d be more than happy to in exchange for tokens at coral island!