Starting a hurling or Gaelic football club on campus can be broken down into some basic steps. First though, you have to bear one thing in mind:
Keep a good relationship with your college administration. That means not doing anything without their permission. You may need permission to do something as simple as putting up posters around the campus publicizing your activity. You will almost certainly need permission to use athletic field space. You should certainly never use the college logo until you have received permission or obtained club status. You may even need to obtain permission to use the school’s name.
These rules vary from college to college, so you must contact your club sports administrators and find out what the ground rules are before you do anything.
Once you have done that, then you can proceed.
Phase A – Starting up
1 – Approach your college sports/clubs administration and find out what the ground rules are. Some school administrations are more supportive than others. You may receive unconditional support, or you may meet resistance. If you meet resistance, it may come in the following forms, each of which can be overcome:
a – Their objection: “We don’t have enough money for new clubs.”
Your rebuttal: “We aren’t asking for money, just permission to operate on campus and use the college’s name so that we can represent our school in competitive games against other schools.”
b – Their objection: “This looks like a dangerous sport.”
Your rebuttal: “There are actually more injuries in soccer than in hurling. Hurlers are trained to protect themselves using their sticks, and the NCGAA insists on the wearing of helmets.”
c – Their objection: “We don’t have enough field space for new sports clubs.”
Your rebuttal: “We don’t need on-campus field space, we are willing to go off campus and pay the market rate to rent municipal field space.”
d – Their objection: “There aren’t any local teams for you to play against.”
Your rebuttal: “This sport is in the early stages of growth, and teams are springing up on college campuses all over the country.”
2 – Make yourself known to the NCGAA.
3 – Through the NCGAA, establish contact with the nearest GAA people who may be able to give you some coaching, teach you how to play the game, and maybe even donate equipment.
Phase B – Marketing and publicity
4 – Start a Facebook group to promote your club, and invite people to join
5 – Embed the following video if you’re starting a Gaelic Football club:
Embed this one if you’re starting a hurling club:
6 – Contact the NCGAA to get help in obtaining DVD footage. A free multi-lingual DVD version of the hurling video above is available on request, the football one will be available shortly. Your job is to get that footage in front of as many eyeballs as possible. The game will attract a lot of attention once people see it in action. Do what you have to do to get that video seen, even if you have to throw a party in your dorm with the video running in the background.
7 – If starting a hurling club, use the this form to generate a poster in your school’s colors and including your own customized message and contact information.
Phase C – Training
8 – Once you have four or more people interested, you can request assistance in getting equipment. Contact the NCGAA for assistance.
9 – Once you have obtained equipment, and preferably once you have obtained help with basic coaching, you can organize an introductory training session. Spend two weeks using your social networking and the custom poster to publicize this event.
10 – At the first introductory session, get everyone’s contact information, and let them know where and when regular practices are going to be held.
11 – Hold practices on a regular basis. The more regular they are, the more likely you are to pick more people up. Always take care to separate total beginners from more experienced players. Informal low key practices in an open space with nearby foot traffic can be a great recruiting tool if you have fliers or copies of the DVD on hand to pass out.
Phase D – Competition
12 – Once your team has built up, bonded, and mastered the basics of the game, the NCGAA can help you to find other teams to play against. If there are other collegiate teams in your area, we can help to get you organized into competitive games. You will now be on your way to building a championship winning team!