Team Bath Buccaneers reaping Rio success

Team Bath Buccaneers

Since the Olympics many clubs have seen an increase in members after the Great Britain women inspired a nation by winning Gold at Rio 2016.

Team Bath Buccaneers are a club that have grabbed this opportunity with both hands to get more people playing hockey at their club.

They have over 400 juniors on their books and their club membership has grown just over 800. How has the club coped with this surge of newcomers and retained them in the club?  We chatted to Heber Ackland, Director of Hockey at Team Bath Buccaneers, to find out what has been going on over the past few years and how they have managed the influx of newly inspired players!

“Since the Great Britain ladies won gold in Rio, the inboxes of the club’s men’s, ladies and junior sections have been inundated with new applications from both young and old alike, with many quoting being inspired by Rio to take up hockey or return to it. 

Team Bath Buccaneers crowd

“What has allowed us to build on the post Olympic surge is the work we have done across the Club and in partnership with England Hockey, utilising their club development and coach development team and strategy, alongside our other key partner the University of Bath. It's this combination of factors that has been key for us.”

There are 5 things Team Bath are doing this season to maintain new and current members;

  • Small sided games are played at training session to help cater for the numbers and utilise pitch space
  • A flexible range of membership options; 
    • Half membership options for senior players. For example 10 league games with no penalties on selection. This is found to be very popular with older players who can’t commit to every league match. As a result we have a lot more men and woman coming back to hockey.  
    • U18 Membership – This was introduced 2 years ago, it is a special rate to encourage more juniors to play senior hockey. We now have well over 30 U18s playing league hockey which is great as it is a great investment in the future of our club.  There is also flexible membership for juniors to accommodate if they play school sport on a Saturday which is similar to the half membership option.
    • Other incentives: special discounts for new joiners to the club.  It normally looks like a two month try and see period especially for Back To Hockey players.
  • Linking with the local University has helped support both clubs provide more playing opportunities. The focus and investment made by the University of Bath into the sport of hockey has noticeably increased the numbers of student members playing for the club.
  • Improvement on publicising the club via social media
  • Working with England Hockey’s coaching team to improve the quality of coaching and introduced the golden thread into the coaching DNA of the club.  

Ladies captain Janet Gubbin; "Since the success and exposure of the women's hockey at the Olympics, the ladies section has seen a dramatic increase in new players and players wishing to return to the game.

Looking ahead, Team Bath Buccaneers are looking to implement a long term strategy for growth, ensuring they capitalise on the success and heightened exposure, whilst guaranteeing sustainability in the long term for the club.

What are you doing to help grow your club post Olympic success? We want to share best practice stories from clubs across the country to help grow hockey and create a nation where hockey matters, if you have a story you want to share please email stories@englandhockey.co.uk