Coaching Advice: Failed Communication

Seeing as we do it every day, most people consider themselves experts in communication.

But, here lies the problem with instructional communication. It’s not just about what you see or hear – it’s what you remember.

The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished

This is of significant importance to coaches – only the information that our athletes retain is of any use to them.

The best way to get retention is:

A) Repetition

B) Giving information in digestible chunks

C) Having the athlete think for themselves

D) Give the same message in a variety of different ways.

We want to achieve learning that’s ‘sticky’.

If you’ve ever driven near a school in the UK or through construction areas, you’ll notice a variety of different ways of communicating that you should be driving at an appropriate speed. These are often emotive and frightening, and as a result, stick with you.

Here are some examples:

‘My Daddy works here, please slow down.’

‘Kill your speed before your speed kills.’

’50 accidents were reported here in the last 12 months.’

‘Children play here. Slow down.’

‘There’s no need for speed.’

These communications coupled with other deterrents such as flashing lights, speed bumps and speed cameras make for an effective way of enforcing and communicating your message.

Unfortunately, though, these deterrents only work for a limited time. Once the threat they warned of is gone, their messages leave our minds.

That’s not to say we forget the rules – we always know them – but once they are no longer relevant to us we don’t think of them until they are present again.

Therefore, this raises the important question: what percentage of communication do athletes retain?

Consider the factors below:

You Aren’t Heard

In busy, loud gyms, this is more common than we might think. Or, perhaps, you don’t have the athlete’s attention at all.

Information Isn’t Remembered

This often occurs when coaches give multiple bits of feedback in the same instance or too much information in general. Most information is not retained.

The short-term memory, on average, can only retain seven new pieces of information at a time. Therefore, if an athlete is given more than this they will not remember it. This is worsened if they are distracted too.

You Aren’t Understood

By giving feedback in language and terminology that is not appropriate to the athlete’s age, technical understanding or ability, they will not retain it due to a lack of understanding.

You’re Ignored

You’d like to think this happens the least, but there are times when this does, sadly, occur.

This can occur when athletes are tired of hearing the same message repeatedly.

If the information has been heard and understood, it is down to the coach to help the athlete discover new ways of understanding and applying it.

Sometimes the athlete just can’t ‘feel’ the error, or the way in which they can resolve it. In which case, a ‘diversion’ is often appropriate.

If an athlete is struggling to learn something new after a period of time despite being given the correct advice, consider changing the way you communicate the information:

Enforce the message: make it clear what you are trying to convey.

Change the Language: try an alternative way of ensuring the message is understood.

Create a Diversion: find an alternative approach to the skills methodology.

One of the greatest qualities a coach can have is their ability to communicate and enforce a message correctly.

We should all strive to achieve communication that is heard, understood and retained – without all achieving all these components we have failed.


On the 25th May the new GDPR regulations will be coming into effect. Are you aware of the new changes, and more importantly, are you compliant? If you aren’t you could face large fines.

To ensure you’re compliant, download our free guide to ‘GDPR Risks and Mitigation’ by clicking the big, blue button below.

Download our free club's guide to GDPR Risks and Mitigation here!

Article by Nick Ruddock – resident coaching expert and former Team GB Coach.

Product Update: February – March 2018

It’s April – the clocks have rolled forward, the evenings are brighter, and now you have our latest Product Update to read.

Does life get any better?

This is one of our chunkier Product Updates and it’s filled to the brim with exciting enhancements and improvements – we’ve been working hard!

To see what we’ve been up to recently, read on…

Improved Feature: Ad-hoc Email Templates and Email Sequencing

What’s New…

As promised in our last Product Update, and in line with client feedback, we have added some major new functionality to our email capabilities, all designed to help save you admin time.

  1. Email template: You can now create email templates that can be recalled when sending ad-hoc emails to individuals and groups. This is useful for sending the same emails to different people, for example, offering a place to someone on a waiting list. Or perhaps you want to create an email template with your logo and footer so you can use it every time you send an email.
  2. Email Sequences: We’ve also added functionality so you can send a series of timed emails automatically. We call these Sequenced Emails.
  3. Recurring emails: You can now have the system send recurring emails automatically.  For example, if you wanted to send an email to your members on their birthday, you can, each year, automatically.

Sequences give you the ability to create and schedule any number of emails at dates and times of your choice.  

For example, you may have an upcoming event that you want to send a sequence of reminders for. Or you might want to drip feed content to people on your waiting lists to keep them engaged.

How to use it…

These new features can be found under the new header, ‘Email’, on the menu bar.

The ‘Send New Email (BETA)’ integrates these functions and enables you to load your pre-saved templates and sequences.

A Sports Club’s Guide to GDPR Compliance

GDPR Compliance

In April 2017, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It will take effect in 2018. This law doesn’t only cover businesses, but sports clubs too, since clubs regularly handle personal data of their members.

Here is a guide to GDPR compliance and how it will impact the way your sports club needs to handle data:

How Your Sports Club’s Members Will Benefit from the GDPR

The GDPR will harmonise the data regulations from all its member nations, better protecting EU businesses and organisations, such as sports clubs, from data breaches.  The new regulations are designed to ultimately benefit the ‘data subject’ (your members) through improved data management and security.

Download our free club's guide to GDPR Risks and Mitigation here!

What Does the GDPR Require of Sports Club Administrations?

Starting from the 25th May 2018, your club must have robust processes and policies in place to manage your members’ personal data.  If you haven’t started planning for this date, now’s the time to start because if your club fails to follow these regulations, you may be subjected to GDPR fines greater than €20 million or four percent of your club’s previous year’s revenue.

As a Sports Club, you must ensure the personal data you hold about your members is:

  • truly secure
  • viewed only by those who really need to view it
  • limited to what is needed
  • accurate
  • up to date
  • only kept for only as long as it is needed
  • deleted / destroyed after a period of time
  • available to be seen by its owner on request
  • not shared with 3rd Parties unnecessarily
  • easily amended if incorrect

The Club acknowledges that:

  • the committee is aware that Data Protection legislation applies to the Club
  • the website informs people of how their data will be used
  • all officials, staff and members understand how to handle personal data
  • Club officials have given permission for their names and contact details to be made publicly available
  • there is a process to follow if any Personal Data is lost or stolen
  • changes within the Club that affect the use of Personal Data are communicated
  • members understand that broadcast emails can present a security risk
  • Personal Data will only be used for Club purposes
  • failure to comply with the Data Protection legislation can mean substantial fines as well as reputational damage
  • if a breach occurs, you must notify your nation’s data authorities within 72 hours. For UK residents, the proper authority is the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  • if your club fails to follow these regulations, you may be subjected to GDPR fines greater than €20 million or four percent of your club’s previous year’s revenue.


Keeping on Top of Your Finances


Without money, your organisation can’t survive – fact.

Therefore, it’s important that you have a reliable system in place to keep track of your finances which also allows you to manage them with ease.

Luckily for you, PaySubsOnline has the solution!

Our admin management software offers an in-depth Payment Summary Report which allows you to see headline financial information for the accounting period-to-date and take snap-shot information for a time within your accounting period.

For example, ‘How much was paid from 1st March – 31st March’.

Through the Payment Summary Report, you can access the Detailed Payment Reports:

  • Across all payment requests issued
  • By individual payment requests
  • By ticking checkboxes next to payment request descriptions in a table and selecting which type of report you wish to see.

Here are some examples of the figures we can provide you with automatically:

Total paid for activity period

This figure is made up of all payments received within the activity date range set.

Coaching Advice: Puppies vs. Children!

More in common than you think...

Coaching Advice

Many UK homeowners will own a dog. They’re man’s best friend after all! Whilst they’re loyal, cute and fun to play with, they’re also exceptionally needy and need a lot of guidance.

Recently, one of our staff got a puppy and whilst it’s a lot of work, they’ve found it incredibly educational and rewarding.

Due to this accurate comparison, we thought it would make a valuable piece of coaching advice for you in relation to the athletes in your charge and how to go about your coaching in the future.

Puppies are incredibly excited, almost all the time unless they’re tired. Then they just sleep.

They LOVE positive attention.

They LOVE to play.

They respond very well to praise. (Who’s a good boy!)

All You Need to Know About Lead and Linked Members

Online Membership System

Are you in the market for an online membership system which gives you the option to link members? If so, look no further – you’ve struck gold!


So.. “what are the benefits of linking members?” I hear you ask – here are a few listed below:

  • Members who are linked can login under the same security information, eliminating the need to remember multiple login details.
  • If a lead member chooses to pre-authorise payments, then all members who are linked to that lead member will also have their payments pre-authorised. This improves cash flow for your organisation, minimising missed payments.
  • If members are linked, you may wish to send only one email to the lead member rather than them all – our admin management software allows you to do this.

Lead Members:

Our online membership system allows members to be linked together. When members are linked, one becomes the lead member to which the others are linked. Lead and linked members have one common username and password – that of the lead.

When members login to their account, the lead members’ information will appear first in the ‘Member details’ section and an option in the menu bar will appear for clicking through to the linked members’ details too.

Customisable Online Forms with PaySubsOnline

Registrations, Renewals and More!

Admin Management Software

Does your club struggle to register new members online? Are your current forms all paper-based? Do you wish these things were different?

Well, look no further than PaySubsOnline – we have the solution. Our admin management software allows you to build online forms that are used to store information about your members and for new members to complete when registering online.


  • Our forms make it easier for prospective members to register with your club online, leading to increased membership.
  • Thanks to our form builder, all forms are fully customisable meaning you can replicate your current forms, or improve them.
  • With each group, there is the possibility for a unique form – if you want to have the same form as a different group though, they can be duplicated easily.
  • Our system allows for multiple forms to be edited at once by amending the ‘Master Form’ – this can save a huge amount of admin time.

Case Study – Hylands CASC

Hylands CASC

Whilst there are many admirable sports clubs in the UK which are worthy of recognition, Hylands Community Amateur Sports Club for us here at PaySubsOnline has always stood out.

Pioneered by Giorgio Bugnatelli, he has helped develop tennis in Hylands Park since 1990 before founding the Community Amateur Sports Club for non-profit in 2002. Because of his selfless and impressive work, he was awarded a British Empire Medal for charitable services – commenting on his award he said, “As a first-generation immigrant, it has always been important to me to contribute to my local community. I was clear at the outset that I wanted to set up a tennis club where young people could not only learn and play but also have the opportunity of developing as confident and balanced individuals. A place to play where we could create a community and not just money.”

As the club grew and began to offer more and more courses, naturally enquiries increased. Unfortunately, with increased interest comes increased administration which Hylands struggled to manage as the club is run by volunteers in their spare time.

Fortunately, PaySubsOnline was able to help.

Product Update – January 2018

Product Update

Well… What a month it’s been! We don’t know about you, but January always seems a particularly tough month to get through. Maybe it’s the bad weather we had, or maybe it’s the post-Christmas blues. Either way, it’s over now, and to kick us on into February we have our latest Product Update for you! Lucky, aren’t you?

Let’s jump straight in . . .

Improved Feature: Transaction Reports

What’s New…

We have given the Transaction Reports a complete overhaul in this Product Update to make them more granular and transparent.

When you go to Payment Reports > View Reports > View transaction reports, you will now see a new report from the 1st January 2018.

New features include:

  • The inclusion of PayOut ID so you can reconcile the transaction report to your bank statement.
  • The option to search for transaction ID.
  • The option to switch between a consolidated and itemised view.
  • VAT breakdown in the transaction fees.
  • A separate line entry for refunds.
  • A separate line entry for GoCardless chargebacks.
  • The ability to filter on PayPal or GoCardless payments.
  • The ability to filter on credits, refunds or chargebacks.
  • Improved table navigation.
  • The ability to apply advanced filtering options on the column headings.

Please note: This is in BETA mode, so any feedback is welcome.

Why it’s Better…

There are several reasons why the new report is better, as follows:

  1. PayOut ID: When GoCardless deposits funds in your organisation’s bank account, the amount is calculated by aggregating all payments due to be paid out that day. Funds are transferred under the reference of the PayOut ID (this is the number that appears on your bank statement). To help you reconcile the deposits on your bank statement to the transaction report in the system, we’ve added the field ‘PayOut ID’ in the transaction report, so now you have a clear audit from a single transaction to the aggregated deposit in your bank account.

To do the reconciliation, download your bank statement to a spreadsheet and export the transaction report from the system. Copy and paste the data from your exported file, ensuring the PayOut ID is aligned to the PayOut column in your bank statement.  Apply a filter to the spreadsheet and then sort A-Z on the PayOut ID column. Highlight that column, and if you’re using Excel, use the ‘Highlight Duplicate Data’ tool which will identify if there are any single PayOut ID’s. We’re confident there won’t be, but if there are, you now have the information to investigate.

Coaching Advice: What Makes a Great Coach?

Guest Article by Nick Ruddock



Here is one question that troubles me greatly, and it’s one that arises in nearly ALL coaching courses and workshops I have attended:

‘What makes a great coach?’

Just writing it is making my blood pressure rise

Some years ago, I would have put together a long list of qualities that great coaches have… but not today.

The thing is, I’ve travelled the world and worked alongside a tremendous number of coaches, many of whom are at the height of their respective fields. And it is during this time that I’ve come to recognise that many high performing coaches are totally flawed in the characteristics we often associate with high performance.

High technical knowledge? Not always important.

Organised? Quite the opposite.

Positive? Nope.

‘People person?’…. Definitely not!

Growth mindset? … I wish.

You get the gist.

Jigsaw Pieces or Cogs?

I used to see the coaching world as a jigsaw puzzle, with coaches who are lacking in important qualities as being ‘incomplete’.

I’ve now moved to a ‘cogs’ model.

The more cogs that are moving, the more efficiently a system runs. But even with fewer cogs (or in our case, desirable qualities) the system still runs, albeit not quite as efficiently. The coach can still produce results, but it might require more work, or have a few more bumpy roads to ride down first.

What Makes a Great Coach Anyway?

Yes, there are some characteristics that many great coaches will have in common, and it’s wonderful to dream about what qualities a ‘complete’ coach would have, but we shouldn’t delude ourselves that ‘great’ coaches hold all of these.

Besides, what does it mean to be a ‘great’ coach anyway?

The status of being a great coach often gets attributed to those who produce athletes that can (and do) win medals at an international level. But I’m often a little more curious (don’t mistake this for being pessimistic or cynical) as to how those results happened.

A coach whose athletes win international medals but are left emotionally broken wouldn’t earn my badge of being a ‘great coach.’ That would be mistaking being a great ‘technician’ for being a great coach. A BIG difference.

Neither would I consider a coach ‘great’ who manages to squeeze one athlete into the top spot, but in the process manages to physically or technically ‘wreck’ another 40.

You could say a wealthy drug dealer knows how to make money, but you’d question their ethics and are unlikely to hold them in high esteem. In much the same way, this is how I view unethical coaches who leave a path of destruction in their wake. They don’t get my vote, regardless of the size of their medals haul.

Some of the best coaches I know have never actually coached at a high-performance level. They are, however, in the elite at running a recreational class or a class full of pre-school children. That’s an art in itself and requires a mass of experience and skill.

Article by Nick Ruddock: Pay Subs Online’s resident Coaching Expert and Consultant.


If you’re looking to improve your coaching, one of the best ways to start is by recovering your time. We can help you do this by reducing your admin by 80%! To take a free, no obligation tour of the software today, click here.