The playing and training programme offered by the club is crucial to the recruitment and retention of players. Providing the opportunities that players want at the time they want it will keep players in action.
A well developed programme of tournaments, competitions, matches and festivals of various types and at different times is needed if the U7s, U18s, women, girls and 1st XV are all to be excited by the games they play.
Many clubs now run specific matches or festivals for university returnees at Christmas and Easter. This uses the playing programme as a key tool in the retention of players; it generates income and is great fun.
The training programme for the club should be coordinated and should support the playing programme and the needs of the players. The 4th XV will have different needs to the 1st XV but they will all have some training needs – even if this just once a month followed by a curry.
Other forms of rugby are increasingly important in the playing programme of a club. Touch rugby and tag rugby are easily accessible forms of the game that whole families can play together as well as providing an easier way into the contact game for lapsed or novice players. Rugby festivals are an excellent way to draw links with local businesses and other organisations, and generate extra income during the summer.
There are structures that help clubs plan their programme and regulations that the clubs should be aware of.