Posted in Sport

Succession planning to aid Sport Management

A succession plan will ensure that if someone steps down, someone can step into their shoes and pick up where they left off. Organisations that plan for smooth transitions of leadership positions are less likely to experience disruptions to their business.

In Sport, there is a tendency to stick around too long as some of the perks can be great and administrators get to travel all across the world. But there is always more to being an effective sport manager/administrator. 


Here are some basic ideas 

  • The sport you are managing should be successful in terms of attracting a wide pool of athletes; creation of a strong technical core to prepare the athletes; create opportunities for the support group; appeal to the grass roots and the less fortunate and of course show a leaning towards gender equity 
  • The sport should aim to compete at the highest level 
  • The communications and marketing for the sport should be at its maximum so the local and international stakeholders are kept informed and will carry the message of the organisation 
  • Have a strategic plan which addresses short, medium and long term goals 
  • Operate as a Corporate Socially Responsible organisation
  • Prepare manuals for how events should be handled
  • Network with other international bodies to attract publicity and exposure 
  • Create a package that can attract consistent and increased financial support 
  • Create a proper HR plan 

A website I found has some tips

The Australian Sport Commission has a solution to the barriers for Succession Planning, see below:  

Barriers to succession planning

There are some barriers to succession planning that your organisation might face. There may be some committee members or volunteers who are behaving in a certain way, or the committee may have processes that will not make succession planning easy.

Some common hurdles that might prevent effective succession planning are:

  • The gatekeeper — a person on the team who has probably been around for a while who holds all the knowledge and runs a system only they understand.
  • The irreplaceable person — a member who believes they are irreplaceable and the team will not function without them. This person usually has been on the team for years.
  • Poor record keeping — if important information, such as financial data or minutes of meetings, is not documented and made accessible, it is only retained in the memories of those involved in the process. Once these people leave, so does the information.
  • Seniors take all — clubs that believe that those around the longest deserve the best positions will always have trouble with succession planning. Positions should be awarded to those best able to do the job, including newer or junior members if they have the required skills.
  • The longtime team member — a member who has reached their ‘use by date’.
  • Fear of change — if the committee is fearful of change, there will be a reluctance to have a succession plan in place.

I wish some of Jamaica’s high profile sporting organisations would benchmark the Australian Sport Commission model, so a sector that has so much potential to contribute to the country’s GDP can be given a fair chance to survive. 

What say you?



A sport aficionado who writes, researches and presents on everything sport. A second book is out to prove her work's reach. She reads in her spare time.

One thought on “Succession planning to aid Sport Management

  1. The observation is very true. This topic would make a good research piece for a student interested in Sport.

    Judging from recent developments, challenge at the helm of Jamaica’s sport associations seems like an anathema.

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