If you want happy players you must bring parents and guardians with you!
If you want happy players you must bring parents and guardians with you!

Dealing With Parents & How to Ensure Your Season Runs Without A Hitch!

Here are some ways which you can head problems'off and get some practical advice on how to hold a contracting session with players and parents.

Parents have a natural desire for their child to do well, and some can be quite vocal in expressing their views. It is vital as a manager that you are able to lead not only the children but the parents as well.

As coach you will have to demonstrate open and honest, fair and trustworthy behaviours, at the end of the day they are trusting their child in your care and voluntarily you are taking a great responsibility, one that should not be under estimated.

In order for your season to run smoothly, you should bring the parents along with you, so they become loyal and supportive and will be able to reinforce the skills, techniques, behaviours and attitudes that you are teaching the children.

In doing so you will build a strong infrastructure and I have seen a strong link between this and the unity of the team. The foundations for developing this bond with the parents should start right at the outset.

If you are in the position of Soccer Coach then take charge, make decisions and provide clear leadership and direction from the very beginning.

Keep actively involved with the parents, most minor gripes if left unattended can become huge problems and sometimes very difficult to resolve if left to fester. This situation will only increase the pressure on you, distract you from your main role, that of coach, and will ultimately effect the behaviour and performance of the team.

At the beginning of the season a clear steer should be sent out the parents of what your objectives are for the season ahead and how you intend to fulfil these. Ideally a contracting session should be held with the players and parents.

If this is your first season managing the team this is a tremendous opportunity to take control before any relationships are formed with any of the parents or players.

A face to face session is always preferable, but if this can't be organized, then as a minimum a letter should be sent to all parents of new and existing players to ensure there is complete clarity of what you are trying to achieve, how this will be done and what support you require.

If you are just getting started with a club that has a consititition or club rule book, then there will probably be a standard club policy.

However, in my experience when it comes to the beginning of the season many coaches are left to their own devices.

So, here are some key points that you want to cover off in your preseason session...

  • Background to the club
  • Your philosophy as coach (see related article Your Coaching Philosophy)
  • Training Sessions, where (indoor and outdoor session will take place), when and why
  • Subscriptions, match fees, player registration forms, photographs etc.
  • Time table of fixtures, friendliness, free days, tournament days (if known)
  • Meeting arrangements for away games
  • Procedures should a player be unable to attend practice or play in a match Discipline procedures
  • Players and Parents code of conduct
  • What parents and players can expect from you
  • Match day formats including the use of substitutes etc
  • The Football Clubs as an organisation including President, Chairman, Secretary, Child Protection Officer, Treasurer.
  • The Football Clubs administration such as its insurance policy, annual general meeting, manager?forums etc.

This type of contracting we recommend at the pre season signing on session, so that everyone has a clear outline on how you propose to manage the team for the forthcoming season. Any objections or clarity can be sought and dealt with before a ball is even kicked.

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