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Top tips for entering a junior football tournament

Playing in tournaments is a great way to boost the development of junior players, helping to grow their confidence in different environments.

Many clubs embark on annual trips elsewhere in the country or overseas, thus offering their players the chance to test themselves against new opponents.

While trips of this nature require plenty of pre-planning to ensure they run smoothly, they can be hugely rewarding if everything falls into place.

With that in mind, we have identified some key elements which clubs must consider before entering a tournament at home or abroad.

Equipment

Established football clubs will already have all the equipment they need to play in their local league, but entering a tournament opens the door to refreshing things.

For example, clubs could use these events to offer sponsors the chance to advertise their organisation to a different audience.

This could generate additional funds to buy a football kit bag, invest in new match balls or even purchase a new kit to wear at the tournament.

Tournaments are the perfect way to showcase what your club is all about, so it makes sense to fully capitalise on the opportunity.

Schedule

It is imperative to create a schedule covering the entire tournament that everyone can easily follow to prevent mishaps.

Every element must be laid out, from establishing the initial meeting time and place ahead of the trip to details about the tournament.

These factors are heightened if you travel abroad, where missing a scheduled meeting time could have massive implications on the rest of the group.

Formulating a structured plan which everyone understands will make it much easier for the people overseeing the trip to manage everything.

Accommodation

If the duration or location of the tournament requires you to book accommodation, make sure you conduct sufficient research about the places you plan to stay.

Some hotels may have rules regarding group bookings, so check their terms and conditions before deciding which one best suits your requirements.

Tournament organisers are often a useful resource for this type of information, as they will be more familiar with the accommodation options in their area.

When you have confirmed your booking, make sure everyone in the travelling party is fully aware of the behavioural expectations at your chosen destination.

Off-field activities

Participating in tournaments does not necessarily have to be all about playing football, particularly if they are staged over a few days.

Travelling to different places offers the opportunity to build in some off-field activities, which can help foster greater team spirit among the players.

Booking a day out at a karting track, visiting a bowling alley or heading to an amusement park are among the ways you can give the players some downtime.

These can help your players develop closer bonds with their teammates, which will be beneficial when they return to play in their local league.

Insurance

Football clubs must take out insurance each year covering elements such as personal accident and public liability.

However, it is important to check whether the policy covers participating in tournaments staged away from home.

Standard insurance policies do not generally cover tours and competitions, so make sure to address this element when planning the trip.

If your club is heading overseas, check the medical cover requirements to ensure you do not get any nasty surprises if something untoward happens while you are abroad.

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