Stage B: Planning
Define the target group of the initiative
Depending on the club and its membership structure, it is important to define the target group of the SCforH initiative. Priority groups as well as groups that are likely to respond well to this approach should be identified. It should be considered whether they will focus on all members or a specific group of members such as females, males, children, adolescents, adults, seniors, newcomers, or established members. This focus will determine the steps taken during the remainder of the planning stage.
Identify the health potential of your sport and activities for the target group
A great deal of evidence supports the positive effect of physical activity on health. Sport disciplines differ in many aspects and on many levels, not least with respect to the amount of physical effort involved. Thus, it is important to specify the particular health benefits of each sport discipline. At the same time, it is important to consider that health benefits may also vary due to other factors such as the age and gender of participants and the amount of exercise. It is, therefore, essential to review the potential health benefits to each of the different target groups.
The key health benefits of common types of sports are listed in Table 2 to help sports clubs identify the health potential(s) of their sport(s).
Table 2. Assessment of the positive impacts of different types of sports on key health outcomes
The general assessment of the health outcomes of sports participation (Table 2) can be used as a basis for a more specific appraisal for a particular sport. For example, the Equestrian Federation of Finland has created a ‘health profile’ for their sports disciplines (Table 3).
Table 3. Health profiles for equestrian sports
Explore the know-how and support outside your club
Club personnel may offer human resources (i.e., know-how and time) or these may need to be recruited outside the club. It is important to clearly outline the resource requirements early on during the planning stage and subsequently allocate appropriate responsibilities to interested and competent individuals or groups. Extending resource seeking beyond the club setting may also be a good option as it can lead to the formation of beneficial collaborations and help establish supportive relationships. In some cases, the cooperation with organisations and relevant groups outside the club is the key to success.
Running an SCforH initiative may also require the investment of additional financial resources. Funding may be obtained from the club or some external source (e.g., local government, philanthropic trusts, and foundations), through fundraising, or through self-financing.
Agree on the aims and develop a strategy and an action plan
After mapping out the capacity and support available within and/or outside the club, a strategy and an action plan to implement the SCforH initiative are required. Aims should be as detailed as possible, understandable, and feasible to achieve. Ideally, all aims should be time-bounded and quantifiable. For example: “The aim of the SCforH initiative during the forthcoming season is to establish two new recreational-based soccer teams for adults (one for males and one for females) with about twenty new participants”. After the aims have been formulated, the key activities for each aim should be determined, designed, and described. The activities should be clearly described by defining the respective time frames, resources required, and individuals or groups that are involved in their implementation and supervision. An example of how to outline aims and operating procedures is provided below (Table 4).
Table 4. An example of how to outline the aims and operating procedures of the SCforH initiative
To increase the number of seniors (≥65 years of age) participating in a recreational programme, as part of the SCforH initiative
Seniors (including former sport participants)
Keep playing at any age!
First year: To recruit a group of seniors who will participate once a week in organised, adapted and noncontact health-enhancing sports activities.
Second year: To review member satisfaction with the current programme and make any necessary changes.
Non-contact sports will be promoted, through existing contact information, to seniors, including former club players. Sessions will be led by trained instructors to ensure safe participation. A choice of recreational activities will be offered. Sessions also include social activities.