The Preseason Meeting

Preseason Parent Meeting

All coaches are encouraged to establish effective lines of communication with team parents early in the season by holding a parent orientation meeting.  This may take the form of a casual discussion in your living room, or could be combined with an early team practice.  Whatever the format, the time you invest will pay dividends for all concerned throughout the season.  If a meeting is impossible, the following information could be put into a letter to parents/players, but a face to face meeting is preferable.

Purpose of a Parent Orientation Meeting

•    Enables parents to understand the objectives and goals of the program.
•    Enables parents to become acquainted with you, the coach
•    Informs parents about the nature (and inherent risks) of the sport.
•    Informs parents of your expectations of them and of their children.
•    Enables you to address any concerns of the parents.
•    Establishes clear lines of communication between you, parents, and players.
•    Allows you to obtain parental support (assistant coaches, team parents, etc.)

Things to Consider when Organizing the Meeting

•    Hold it early in the season, preferably before the first team practice.
•    Having the players present is optional.
•    Prepare any handouts you would like to distribute, for example:

  1. team roster
  2. schedule of practice and games
  3. club rules
  4. team goals/rules
  5. summary or outline of the meeting

•    Be prepared and be organized to conduct the meeting efficiently.

Important Points to Cover

Coach Introduction
•    Introduce yourself and assistant coaches (or ask for volunteers at this time)
•    Give some background information about yourself (why you are coaching, experience)

Coaching Philosophy
•    Discuss what you consider to be the value of the sport
•    Discuss your methods for teaching skills
•    State the importance you assign to having fun and developing skills
•    state the importance you assign to winning and losing
•    Discuss any team rules and guidelines, disciplinary procedures
•    Discuss your philosophy regarding player rotation, substitution, playing time
•    Specifics of the program 
•    Practice schedule (how many per week? how long?)
•    Game schedule (how many? when do they begin?)
•    Minimum playing time (what is the rule in your local club?)
•    Equipment required (shirts, socks, shorts, shin guards)
•    Or recommended (ball, soccer shoes, water bottle)
•    Inherent risks (soccer is a contact sport, albeit a relatively safe one)

Team Management 
•    Ask for volunteers as assistant coaches
•    Ask for volunteers as team parents (snacks schedule, help with nets/flags)
•    set up telephone tree and / or car pooling system

Coaches Responsibilities
•    Demonstrate leadership and good sportsmanship
•    Treat each player fairly
•    Have organized practices and teach soccer fundamentals appropriate to the age group
•    Provide a safe environment (arrive at practice on time and remain after practice until every child is picked up by an authorized adult, ensure that the players’ equipment conforms to the club guidelines)
•    Contribute positively to the development of each players’ self-esteem
•    Help each player set individual and team goals that are attainable 
•    Give parents a schedule of practices and games in a timely fashion
•    Allow each player to play half of every game
•    Respect the referees, know the rules, and conduct yourself in a controlled manner on the field

Player Responsibilities
•    Attend practices/games regularly, and arrive on time
•    Bring proper equipment to each practice and game
•    Inform the coach in advance if it is necessary to miss a practice of game
•    Make each practice challenging
•    Work toward good sportsmanship and teamwork
•    Respect the referees
•    Be supportive of teammates all of the time 

Parent Responsibilities
•    Transport your child to and from practice and games on time
•    Be supportive of all the players (criticism does not improve performance)
•    Help your child understand that he/she is contributing to a team effort
•    Focus on mastering skills and having fun, not winning
•    Avoid material rewards for your child (the reward is the fun of playing)!
•    Attend games and cheer the team on 
•    Refrain from criticizing the opponents; be positive with all players
•    Respect the referees (They will make mistakes, but they are doing their best.  If you feel you are better qualified, see your club’s referee coordinator-he/she could easily find work for you)
•    Refrain from coaching your child during games (try to understand and respect the difference between the roles of the coach and parent)
•    Answer Any Question From The Parents


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