How to create a sports social project


On the basis of Kalashnikov Sport, the organizer of major competitions in cyclic sports, the City of Strong People was opened in Izhevsk — free training for everyone. How to create a social sports project based on a company? Why do athletes, business and the initiators need it?

Aleksey Vystrebov, general director of Kalashnikov Sport, answered the Guru’s questions.

At the end of the material — instructions: what to do to create a sports social project on your own.

How did the «City of Strong People» appear?

Kalashnikov Sport is a completely commercial structure, the task of which is to hold events and earn money. But I want to do something for the soul, to develop the city. “City of Strong People” is just such a project.

In addition, one of our tasks is to attract sponsors. When we say that we are Kalashnikov Sport, everyone thinks that the concern is behind us. Although this is not entirely true, and we are on self-sufficiency.

Therefore, we decided that we needed to shift the focus a little and make the project less commercial and less affiliated with Kalashnikov.

The “city of strong people” is interested in sponsors, like everyone else, but for now we are pulling with our own money: we buy cookies, water, what is necessary for training. We negotiate with coaches and venues free of charge. Coaches work with us because we are cool, and because with our help you can recruit students. For us — training, for the coach — promotion through the social networks «City of Strong People» and «Kalashnikov Sport».

Similarly, we work with sports facilities. We train at Dynamo, which is the best stadium in the city.

We came to them: there is such a project, there is no money. Let us free!

The director, Alexey Sergeevich, says: of course, come. True, we will give you not the most convenient time. And for us it is just the most convenient — everyone comes in the evening, after work.

Our friends work in Parks of Izhevsk, and they were the first ones I went to.

What are your goals?

We set goals for ourselves. My personal goal is to create a unified sports community. The company has been operating since February 2019; Before that, we held separate events. We are faced with the fact that athletes do not have a single information space. There are more than two thousand people in our Vkontakte group, which is not so small for Izhevsk; and yet not all athletes know about the group, many train alone.

A single community will help us, as the organizer of the launches, keep in touch with the audience and tell about ourselves: attention, there will be an event, don’t go to Kazan for the weekend, spend it at our launch!

For seven years I lived in Moscow, then I returned back to Izhevsk. In Moscow, I started running. When I returned, I began to think about where I could find running comrades who run fast. Began to search; I was told — this is for you to the candidates for the master of sports. No, I said, this is an amateur level! There was also no place to go to practice; now we want to create it.

When something is missing, do it yourself.

While fitness and running are in your schedule. Are you planning to add other activities?

Now we have enough human resources for four activities per week. On Wednesdays we have a run at the stadium: special running exercises and general physical training. On Thursdays — motivational meetings: we invite famous people from sports and communicate with them. On Saturdays it was like this: the first time yoga, the second time fitness, then zumba, the next time karate, then something dancing; we want on Saturdays to give people the opportunity to try something they haven’t tried yet. Like it — maybe a person will go further.

On Sundays we have a big running training along the embankments. This is where we started; We spied the idea in Moscow, from Iskander Yadgarov, Die Hard. We wrote to him: can we do this at home and call it the same? He replied: yes please; no matter who repeats after me, no one succeeds, everyone closes.

Do you run four minutes per kilometer?

We have a small group, 5-6 people, where people run for four minutes or faster. And we want everyone to be drawn to them. There is a Normal Running group: 15-20 km, but they don’t chase speed: six minutes per kilometer. And there is Easy Running, for those who came for the first time. I lead this group. We run three kilometers, we talk, I tell them how I started, what I need to follow. This is unusual for me: the pace is too low, and I would prefer a longer distance, but for now it is necessary to support those who start.

I myself started running from scratch at the age of 27, and I know what mistakes can be. I talk about my injuries and how to avoid them. Regarding meetings on Thursdays: for the first time we met with Mikhail Pasynkov; this is our fellow countryman, who on May 31 set the Russian record for Nordic walking, walked 135 kilometers in a day. We made an appointment; then, due to the pandemic, they could not meet with him, and lasted until the second of July. On June 29, his record was broken. There was a funny meeting with questions: why the record stood for so little, and whether it will fight. Athletes came to Nordic walking, and before that, records could be set by people who started training at the age of 50.

70 thousand people are engaged in Nordic walking in Udmurtia, this discipline is developed in our country. There is a stadium in my yard, and every morning grandmothers, about eight people, gather there and go.

During self-isolation, we spent a week of running: athletes posted screenshots of their runs; then a week of Nordic walking.

How did you manage to run when everyone was at home?

Our Governor Alexander Vladimirovich Brechalov was the first to allow running – of course, individually and in compliance with measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. This was back in early April. We are very grateful to him. It seems to me that many began to play sports at this time, went out for the first time.

How long has the project existed?

Third week. That is, it was conceived a long time ago, but due to the fact that it was impossible to hold mass events, we just launched it normally. But Diehard training has been with us since October. We did not associate them with Kalashnikov Sport, but we gave prizes: everyone who ran the distance in a certain time received points that could be exchanged for a slot for an event.

How many people are involved?

The Kalashnikov Sport group, which is being actively developed and is two years old, has more than two thousand. In the «City of Strong People» 600 people per month. Alexander Vladimirovich helped us a lot: he mentioned us twice, everyone saw us at once. Moreover, people love free, and we also have good quality.

What are your next plans? Will you develop in Udmurtia, or spread across Russia?

If we talk about Kalashnikov Sport, we want to conquer all of Russia, as well as the CIS and abroad. There are occupied niches in which we will not climb. We have our own trump card — amateur biathlon, and with it you can go to other cities.

«City of Strong People» was conceived as an internal project; we wanted to make it for ourselves, and then we saw that people like it. We hold a “Run for the District” competition: every day people throw off runs to the captain of the district, the captain of the district throws them off to us. In the first two weeks, people ran 51,473 kilometers; did 5147 workouts this week.

I want to try to scale this project and go with it to Russia so that all regions can run through. I’m interested in this from a technical point of view, and I already understand how it can be done. On a national scale, we manage with the help of Google tables and honest words. To move on to the all-Russian competition, we will attract one resource that organizes the races with the help of Strava.

There is another important point — the statistics of amateur sports. There was an idea to conduct an online census of amateur athletes, but it became clear that not everyone would participate in it. But through the competition data, you can collect statistics.

In our company, running and a little triathlon are popular, but there are a lot of sports and activities: skiing, strength training, workout. The goal of the «City of Strong People» is to unite everyone.

What for? For communication, for training?

I ran enthusiastically for a long time, and then I caught a state where I no longer want to run. Sometimes you need to make a change.

Someone can go skiing all his life and not get tired of it, but someone can get tired. Someone first ran, and then finds himself in crossfit. We need to show people other options. I switched to a bicycle this year, and this is happiness. Now I ride my bike everywhere: to work, to meetings, to events. We need to share information.

So far, we do not have a single sports community and a single information space, and people practically do not see what is happening. Fans of certain sports go to them, and that’s it.

We hosted the 50th anniversary Izhevsk rifle, the main biathlon competition in the region: there used to be selection for the World Cup stage. Few people knew about this competition, although the whole city was covered with banners. People ended up finding information at bookmakers faster than anywhere else.

Twice a year we host the Kalashnikov Biathlon Fest, we are supported by the concern. These events receive sufficient funding to be promoted by major sports media. Moreover, biathlon stars come, and they attract attention.

To promote local competitions, we will involve all the regional press: they need an informational agenda, and we have a lot of interesting events.

And another important task of the project is to show that in our city, in the country, there are a lot of strong-willed people who can set an example for children. Tomorrow we meet with the world champion in paracycling, Arslan Gilmutdinov: he will tell that the strength of the spirit is stronger than any circumstances.

In an interview with A.V. Brechalov, we talked a lot about the fact that sports and business can help each other. How does the «City of Strong People» work with sponsors?

We have an official partner, PromSvyazBank. In fact, even the name of the project was born from their slogan, «Bank of strong people.» The pandemic situation has begun; we realized that now the event will be canceled, and we will not be able to fulfill our obligations to sponsors. But maybe there are other ways?

Conducted a joint brainstorming session. We came up with: we use the colors of PromSvyazBank in the group. We were supported that it is not necessary to do it intrusively. As a result, the bank advertised itself through gifts and presence, and helped us close the issue of holding events.

This project can promote a lot of different businesses, because we are not limited to one sport. «Kalashnikov Sport» specializes in cyclic sports, and there is no, for example, football, but through the «City of Strong People» you can organize a football tournament if you come to us with this idea.

Imagine that you are compiling an instruction — «How to create a sports social project.» What will be the course of action?

— It is better to choose an activity where there are no small arms, motorcycles and cars — with all this you will need special permission and conditions. For example, to organize a bike ride, you need to organize an escort, a car with a flashing light. To start running training, you do not need special permission from anyone.

— The project needs a leader-organizer who will spend at least half a day a week on the project.

— Find a site. Usually in cities there are places where everyone runs; in Izhevsk, this is an embankment and a park. We chose the embankment because there is no relief and not many people.

— Find a place where you can change clothes, drink water, leave things. We chose the pier: in winter it does not work, and it is guarded. We agreed with Izhevsk Parks: they provide us with a place, we promote them in the group.

— If you do not have such support as Kalashnikov Sport, act through the Ministry of Sports. Contact the Public Sports Department of the Department of Sports in your area: they will support this and help you find a venue if needed. In dealing with officials, you need to behave openly, honestly, try to infect with your energy.

“After that, you need to recruit people. This is the hardest part. But if you didn’t start exercising yesterday, most likely you know someone. Our first Diehard was attended by 30 people; for Izhevsk, this is quite a lot. To invite the first participants, we used personal pages in social networks.

“We still need to create comfortable conditions for the participants. We arranged tea and biscuits. At first they chipped in and bought a thermos, it was not enough, and the next time we replaced it with a large one.

Your logo resembles the emblem of the #BlackLivesMatter movement (the logo can be seen on the avatar of the Vkontakte group, the main information resource of the City of Strong People — WB Guru). Are you asking questions about this?

They have a left hand and we have a right hand. For me, a clenched fist is unity, five fingers together. Our people have a different cultural code; someone asks, but there are few of them.

We are not opposed to this movement; I am for the fact that all people are equal, especially in sports.

Photos provided by the press service of the "City of Strong People"; from the personal archive of Alexei Vystrebov.


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