Try Curling A Year On
Do the Winter Olympic Games have an impact on the number of people taking up curling in Scotland? Over the years, this is a question that many curlers have deliberated over at great length with nobody having a clear answer.
The RCCC has set about trying to establish what ‘return for investment’ there is in respect of obtaining new members from the Try Curling programme.
Within the RCCC’s planning for 2014 was a method to ‘track’ Try Curling participants in relation to membership.By providing a financial incentive to host facilities and development groups, the RCCC was able to obtain details for 3994 people who attended Try Curling sessions during February and March 2014.
Of those 3994 participants, 209 have so far become RCCC affiliated members through either Virtual Clubs and / or mainstream clubs around the country. With retention currently at just over 5%, how does this compare to other Olympic Try Curling campaigns and to regular Try Curling sessions, and what can we do to improve the rate of retention?
Feedback forms with fields including; ease of booking, welcome at the facility, quality of instruction, enjoyment, follow-up information and how likely an individual was to recommend the sessions, showed an astounding 95% + satisfaction rate. Reviews also indicated that over 91% of the participants were interested in attending Beginner Classes.
The big question now is what happened to the 86% of people who were interested in attending Beginner Classes who have not become members? Work is ongoing in this area and the RCCC is continually gaining more information to help us all with future planning.
The three facilities that gained the largest number of new members from Try Curling sessions in 2014 were Dundee (30), The Peak, Stirling (23) and Stranraer (23). There are many variable factors that can impact retention however we do know that these facilities stayed open beyond the end of the traditional season and had structured classes in place. Dundee and The Peak had established Virtual Clubs ready to welcome new particiapnts and Stranraer has since started its own Virtual Club.
Many new Virtual Clubs have been established on the back of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games with the largest club now having 85 members. The National Virtual Club Challenge held in March, involved 28 teams competing against each other from around the country. All 104 participants were in their first two years of curling and the competition and camaraderie of the event were evident to see.
During the 2014-15 season, over 1000 new members have joined the RCCC with 209 of them having attended Try Curling sessions in February and March 2014. Were others enthused by the Winter Olympic Games and attended later Try Curling sessions, or indeed did they skip Try Curling sessions and enter straight into Beginner Classes? Perhaps it wasn’t due to that at all, and individuals were introduced to the sport through family and friends.
These are all areas that RCCC is exploring, investigating and seeking answers to. We’ll keep you updated with our findings!