Many sports clubs at the University of Sheffield are seeing an increase in interest this first semester, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
With limited face-to-face teaching and the inability to hold massive in-person socials, sports clubs are having a huge positive impact on student’s wellbeing, as trials and training sessions allow an opportunity to be active and socialise.
Cara Clitheroe, Captain of UoS Women’s Hockey, said: “We are offering something priceless. A covid-safe opportunity to play sport is so invaluable to so many people.”
Women’s Hockey has seen a massive jump in the club’s retention rate (number of people who commit to the club compared to the amount of interest it generates at sports fairs). The six competitive teams that the Women’s hockey team run are already filled to capacity. Due to covid regulations, a lot of interested hockey players are having to be put on a waiting list.
There has been a jump in engagement with the Rowing club. Captain Shaun Colley told Forge Press that the club has already had 35 more people join the club than they had last year. This came as a pleasant surprise for the club as Mr Colley said: “We were quite worried about our numbers as we couldn’t just grab people in the Octagon.”
The Rowing club’s trials are usually in a nice, cosy room in Goodwin Sports Centre, but due to new rules, the club had to hold them outdoors on the football fields. Mr Colley said the club was really pleased with the turnout to the trials and that the numbers for both their senior men’s and women’s squads have gone up.
Plans for the rest of the year are quite uncertain for the club, but the club committee knows exactly what they want members to get out of their time with them. Mr Colley said: “The main thing that we want people to take away is to enjoy rowing and to enjoy exercise.”
Not all clubs have had a positive trend with their recruitment numbers this year though.
The UoS Men’s Rugby League club have fallen short of last year’s numbers. Club media secretary Luke Kerin said: “[Covid-19] would have had a big effect because we are not a big sports club and so with the virtual sports fairs it was quite difficult.”
Furthermore, trial sessions with the club have been drastically changed. Limited contact is allowed in the sessions in order to keep players safe.
However, Mr Kerin was positive with the engagement of the limited freshers they did attract. He said: “ For them, there’s not a lot they can do to go out and meet new people. So they engaged really well.”