Happy Halloween! As we begin to enter the off season, it is time to rejuvenate ourselves, our bodies, and take time to catch up on those things we have not had much time to do during the racing season. In this blog I want to discuss Clubs. In this three part series, I will discuss if a club is for you, the benefits of joining a club, and finally attributes of a good club. Whatever you do this Halloween, enjoy, and be safe!
Deciding to join a club is a big decision and ultimately yours to make. There are many advantages to joining a club. You should take time to do some research about the club, and select it as if you were a company interviewing prospects to hire. Before we talk about the benefits of joining a club, which I will cover in my next blog, let us explore the question, is a club for me?
Your research should begin by asking yourself a few questions to help define the type of club that works for you. Questions such as: Do you enjoy socializing? Are you the type of person who finds it hard to self motivate? What is your knowledge of your sport? Are you new to the area and looking for safe places to train (ride your bike, go out for a run, swim)? Is your schedule going to be flexible enough that you can make time for the club? Are you interested and open to learning? What is your skill set, are you new to the sport? Do you enjoy group activities (such as rides, workouts), or do you like to go at it alone? Is structure and organization important to you? Do you enjoy volunteering? Asking yourself these questions will help you refine your needs. You want to be able to first ask yourself, what need do I believe I have to fulfill by joining a club? And second, does the club you identify fulfill your needs? Call this your “What am I looking for in a club” list.
Once you identify your needs, then take time to inventory your knowledge, skills, resources and make another list. Call this the, “What do I have to share” list. Why is this important? Because you might find a particular club that doesn’t have all the attributes of a good club, or that may not fulfill all your needs. When you compile your “What do I have to share” list, you might find that your skills of developing a web page can help them achieve organization, or perhaps you may have a relationship with a local business where you can obtain sponsorship. Or maybe you are a seasoned member of the sport and with your mentorship can help the club’s less experienced members learn more. The key here is to remember that a club’s greatness is their membership, it isn’t just what you are looking for, but also what your contributions as a member might be. Think about when you attend a pot luck. You can choose to attend, by just showing up and enjoying all the food that everyone else brings. Or you can choose to make your favorite recipe and bring it to the potluck. Yes, second choice is more work because you have to purchase the ingredients, and prepare the dish, and be open and sharing, but isn’t it true that when you bring a dish to a potluck, it feels pretty good when someone takes an interest in it and asks you for the recipe. A good attribute of a club is “welcoming”, and just like in a potluck, you will know if what you bring to the table will be a good contribution.
As you can see there are many considerations, take your time in deciding, most likely there are a few clubs in your area to choose from. If you are having trouble finding a local club, you can take a look at USA Triathlon’s web page and find a listing, you can also take a look at Ironman’s web page and find a listing of registered clubs. Finding the right one is like finding the right shoe, if it doesn’t feel good, don’t invest into it. I did say invest, once you lay down your money for membership, you should expect to obtain what is advertised.
After you have asked yourself these questions and defined both lists, you now have a good place to begin the next step in the process of finding a club that may be a good match for you. Thus far I explored some thoughts to help you decide if a club was for you. In my next blog, Part 2 of Clubs I will cover the benefits of joining a club, until then Happy Halloween! Oh, by the way, keep your eye out for a special offering, the week of Ironman Arizona 2016, if you are looking for a training plan, and or coach, you will want to take advantage of this offering.
Ironman Certified Coach