Starting a new Sports Club

The University of Bristol Student Roundnet Club was new on the scene in 2019. In this post Committee member, Antoine, writes about the experience of setting up a brand new Bristol SU Sports Club, and shares top tips for any students interested in doing the same thing next year with another new sport!

What is Roundnet?

Roundnet is a relatively new sport which is very popular in the US and is taking the rest of the world by storm. The sport is amazing because it can be played almost anywhere and really caters to all abilities; from your casual BBQ with friends to competing in a World Championship final. The European and UK Roundnet scenes are thriving with new and exciting clubs and tournaments, so it was definitely a great time to get into the sport. Roundnet is also well known for its incredibly friendly and inclusive community, which is at the core of our Club’s ethos.

Roundnet is a sport played by four players in teams of two around a circular net. Once the ball is served onto the net, the other pair have up to three touches to hit it back onto the net. Once the ball contacts the net, possession changes to the other team. There are no boundaries, it is a 360º game! A team wins a point once the other team is unable to return the ball legally onto the net.

Roundnet Rules graphic

Starting the Club

I have been playing roundnet every summer with my friends and family for the past four years and I really wanted to keep playing in Bristol. Setting up a society was an obvious next step to help introduce the game to more people, find other students to play with and get access to funding and support to organize the events I wanted to partake in.

It all started when I set up an Instagram account for the club in September 2019. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a really great way for students to find out about the project and I even found out that people I knew already played roundnet – it wasn’t as obscure of a sport as I once believed! I also introduced the game to many of my university friends.

Seeing how much they enjoyed the sport convinced me to fully pursue SU affiliation process, which I found to be really straight forward. I collected 30 signatures to support the creation of the club, the SU gave their approval and that was that. From my experience the SU have been very supportive of new clubs and even provided us with a start-up grant, which allowed us to buy the club’s first Roundnet set.

Five male students a stood in a squash court, gathered in a semi-circle around a roundnet. The roundnet is yellow and resembles a small trampoline. The group look like they are having fun.
Photo credit: University of Bristol Roundnet Club

I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to attract new members. As a committee we decided to keep memberships low, at £5, to maximize the number of members. We had very few running costs so this approach may not be what’s best for all new clubs – don’t hesitate to contact the SU Development Team for advice. Social media is a great tool to promote a club, and you can get in touch with SEH and the SU to help promote your content. From there, organising events and having fun doing it is the simplest and best way of finding new members. Your passion for the sport is often enough to get other people excited. Trust me, very few people have ever heard of Roundnet, but we still got people to join!

Before creating the Roundnet Club, I was already involved in the Volleyball Club. Starting a club, rather than just joining an established one, was very different but incredibly rewarding. I not only got to play Roundnet and make new friends, but I got to grow as a person and work on a project I am passionate about. That’s not to say there weren’t any challenges, but there are resources available to you through the SU and SEH to help overcome these.

I am really happy I started the Roundnet Club; it has taught me a lot of valuable skills and has allowed me to build something as well as play a sport I love.

Photo credit: University of Bristol Roundnet Club

Tips for staring your own Club

If you’re interested in starting your own club or society:

  • Getting an idea of the amount of interest there might be in your project. you could do this by: introducing it to your friends, writing in to Bristruth about it, or creating an Instagram account.
  • Once you have some interest, you can apply for SU affiliation and collect 30 signatures in support of your club.
  • Find at least two other people to fill in the mandatory committee positions: President or Club Captain, Secretary and Treasurer (our Treasurer contacted me on Instagram, and I got a friend to be Secretary – so you don’t have to look too far).
  • Start planning! The SU will provide clubs and societies with a £100 start-up grant, which can go a long way to get your club started – organise events to get people’s attention and don’t be afraid to collaborate with established societies!
  • Create social media accounts and an official email address – this will help you reach more people and allow people to reach you as well.
  • Following the SU’s Balloon Accreditation criteria is a good way to ensure your club is on the right track.
  • Don’t forget to have fun!

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