Senior – what we offer
Why play for our senior team? We like to think we’ve got a lot to offer both new players and those who’ve played before that sets us apart from other clubs in Scotland.
We offer dedicated, experienced, positional coaching. We also support and encourage our coaches to develop, and fund their attendance at clinics, conferences and courses.
Our winter training facilities
From January until the end of March we train indoors on the 3G synthetic pitch at Hamilton Palace Sports Ground. This means uninterrupted winter training with a limited chance of bad weather disruption, and no need to brave the cold, wet or wind!
Our 2020 annual residential training camp will be held at Strathallan Independent School in Perthshire from Friday 27 March – Sunday 29 March. Strathallan has excellent facilities, and was used as a Commonwealth Games training venue. Camp is optional, but is highly recommended as a great way for new players to get up to speed and get to know their team mates. As well as practices and film sessions, at previous camps we’ve had guest speakers, run hydrotherapy sessions and had team social events in the evenings. The cost will be subsidised by the club down to just £110 per player for three days of football, accommodation and all meals.
A chance to test yourself against US college teams
In 2020 we’re offering not one, but two friendly games against US NCAA Div III college teams. We’ll be playing the Alma College Scots in April, and the Southwestern Pirates in May. This is a unique opportunity to test yourself, learn from experienced players and enjoy two great social nights out!
Our home ground of GHA Rugby Club in Giffnock is enclosed with a club house and bar and has a covered stand for spectators. We have a team of volunteers who work hard to make this a great day out you’ll be proud to invite your friends and family to, and for big games we can have in excess over 300 people cheering you on.
We have great partnerships
We’re delighted to have dedicated fitness support from Ian Stevenson at the East Kilbride Fitness Centre, who offers team lifting and conditioning sessions, and friendly and useful advice on workout programmes. We have club sponsorship from the fantastic Committee Room No 9 in Glasgow. As well as funding, they offer us special member discounts and provide the team with travel apparel, as well as a fantastic venue for our social events. We also have gameday sponsorsorship from OnPoint Financial– who provide an MVP award for every game!
Be part of something bigger
We’re bigger than one team. Our club is made up of seven teams and has over 280 players, coaches and staff in total. As well Scotland’s longest established adult team we have a thriving and successful under 19s programme, with two youth teams, a junior team, a cadet flag team, plus women’s only flag and contact.
This size of our club also means that if you want to make the jump from playing to coaching or helping out behind the scenes, we’ve lots of different ways you can stay part of the Pirates family.
We’re well run
Our club is managed by a dedicated committee. We follow all the rules, make sure everything is done in the right way and with player health and safety in mind at all times. We don’t settle for second best, and are always pushing to be better. We attend meetings with our National Governing Body, the British American Football Association, and always make sure we get involved in all aspects of our sport. We have strong links in our local community too and are members of the Sports Councils of Hamilton and East Kilbride and we work closely with community sports hubs and Active Schools. We hold Bronze Club SL accreditation from South Lanarkshire Leisure too, which recognises well governed, safe and inclusive clubs.
We have strong finances
Our finances are in great shape and are managed transparently. At our AGM we share a full copy of our accounts so you can see exactly what we’ve spent your money on. You’re also very welcome to look at our accounts or ask questions about our finances at any time. We have a fantastic track record at securing grant funding for the club. And for the last seven years, players have told us via our annual feedback survey that they think the team is great value for money.
We don’t charge you extra for buses or friendlies or playoffs, or to bail the team out because we’ve not budgeted properly. The only time we’ll look for extra money is if you elect to do optional things, like training camp, attend events, buy merchandise or stay over for team nights out. Even then, we’ll always try to keep costs low.
We look out for you
We take things like medical cover at games and insurance seriously and make sure claims are made swiftly and any incidents are recorded. A registered paramedic and vehicle capable of transporting an injured player is always available at our home gamedays thanks to our supplier Hart Services and we have our own dedicated pitch side physiotherapist and / or first aider at all games wherever possible. This means we can offer sports taping, massage and kinesio taping before games and over the last year hydrotherapy sessions have also been on offer at camp. And there’s always help and advice available on nutrition and gym programs and technique from our experienced players and coaches.
We play hard
We don’t just play hard on the field. From organised team nights out for the Super Bowl to fundraisers like race nights and quizzes, there’s always something going on. Our showcase event is our annual player of the year awards – a formal sit-down dinner, which regularly attracts around 80 people.
Your views are important to us. We hold an annual, anonymous, feedback survey and invite players, coaches and staff to share their views on every aspect of the organisation and we regularly act on this feedback.
We get good press
Our team photographer Duncan Gray attends our games whenever possible and we’re often on the back page of our local papers. In the past we’ve featured on Sky Sports and network radio. Over the last year or two we’ve featured in the Daily Record and Scottish Sun, were regulars on Rock Sport Radio, were live on STV Glasgow and featured in a BBC documentary.
We’ll see you at our free open taster session for new players at Hamilton Palace Sports Ground, Hamilton, ML3 6BY on Sunday 5 January from 12.00pm-3pm.
We’ll start off with a welcome meeting in the bowls hall from 12.00-1.00pm where you’ll get a chance to find out more about playing for the Pirates, complete some paperwork and meet some of the team.
We’ll then move straight to the indoor 3G pitch where you’ll get put through your paces – so be ready to go. You’ll need footwear suitable for training on an indoor synthetic pitch and your enthusiasm. Please note – metal tipped boots are not allowed.
You’ll get a further two free sessions at the same time and same place in January from 12-3pm. After your third free session you’ll need to set up a regular payment for subs and register with our league in order to continue with the team.
Regular training sessions will be indoors at Hamilton Palace Sports Ground every Sunday from 12-3pm from the end of January to the end of March. From April onwards Sunday practice will move outside on grass and we’ll add an outdoor Thursday evening session.
What do we expect from you?
How much does it cost?
Find out more about joining our youth, junior and women’s teams
Photos courtesy Duncan Gray.
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