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How does a 200-member rugby club keep their players happy?

July 23, 2019 - Posted by

Olymp Praha is a hard-working club whose main goal is to keep their 200 rugby players happy. Jan Macháček, the founder of the club, says that performance outcome is only possible if players feel happy and motivated.

Rugby players during a session - Jan Machacek and Olymp Praha rugby club

Background of the club

The club was established in 2015 by Jan Macháček, a visionary coach and a retired pro player. He has played in clubs like Newport (Wales), Manchester (England), Pontypridd (Wales) and Clermont Ferrand (France).

Jan Machacek - a coach who's goal is to make his players happy in his rugby club

Today, four years later, there are 200 players, 19 coaches and 300 parents in the club. They run age groups U6, U8, U10, U12, U14, U16, and men, and have also created an academy for U14s and U16s (designed for players who want to train and achieve more).

Keeping players happy

Keeping their 200 players (and 300 parents) happy is their biggest goal.

Jan Macháček

“Performance outcome is only possible if players feel happy and motivated”

There are many conditions that need to be met, but having good coaches, fun training and a steady club are the strongest of them.

Finding good coaches

Finding a good coach for the kids is not a simple task as there just isn’t enough rugby coaches around. So they educate parents, ex-players and current players to become good coaches.

There are general coaching courses available by sports faculties, Czech Olympic Committee, federations and other organisations that help these coaches-to-be understand children’s psychology, physiology, etc. The basic rugby-related education comes from the CSRU (Czech Rugby Union) and more advanced know-how from their colleagues, own experience and other sources.

Happy players training rugby - Jan Machacek and Olymp Praha rugby club

Fun and variable training

Jan believes that for the little ones, 90% of the coaches’ focus should be general and only 10% rugby specific. In the kids’ first years of training, it’s definitely more important to motivate them and make the players happy in what they do, than to focus on specific rugby-related skills.

In Jan’s opinion, there are just five categories that need attention in order to make the kids happy:

  1. Movement – kids have the need to move after long days at school and before they go home to their phones and computers. Movement is a basic need for any human being.
  2. Teamwork – kids need the feeling that they are part of the team. They get satisfaction from the team’s support to them and their chance to support the team.
  3. Enjoyment – the training sessions must be fun, so that kids fully focus on the sport and forget everything else.
  4. Own success – kids need a sense of their own success. So coaches encourage kids’ to compare their progress against themselves and not to their friends or opponents.
  5. Role models – kids need role models in their sports life. Unfortunately, this is the weakest point in Czech rugby as there currently aren’t many strong international players.

To cover these aspects, they practice multiple sports (e.g. beach volleyball, skiing), include lots of fun elements and games in their training and organize various off-pitch events.

Kids need variability in their training - Jan Machacek and Olymp Praha rugby club

Managing the club

As an innovative thinker, Jan knew that to manage his club and keep all of his players in the loop, he’ll need some tools he can rely on. Google Spreadsheets and Outlook are great but they are very limited once you need to deal with lots of people. So he did thorough research and came across Sportlyzer.

Jan Macháček

“We chose Sportlyzer out of 10 club management software because it best suited the needs of our 200-member club”

Sportlyzer helps them cover everything starting from player management and communication, and ending with payment and progress tracking.

Attendance tracking - Sportlyzer

The clarity in club processes translates to happy players in the long run:

  • Players and parents are well-informed about club matter.
  • Players’ progress and attendance are constantly reviewed by the coaches to find any irregularities and drops in their motivation.
  • Coaches can solve their administrative tasks faster and focus more on the kids.


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Jaan Saks

Jaan is the CEO of Sportlyzer and has been involved in sports for his whole life. His higher education combines sports science with marketing and he has been part of the Estonian speed and inline skating teams, winning various national and international championships. He has coached kids, juniors and adults and has co-founded his own amateur skating team. Besides his athlete and coach career, Jaan has co-started various successful sports events in the past.

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