Lesson 6: Organizing a Pre-Season Meeting
Before beginning any season, it’s important to hold a player and parents meeting as soon as possible. An outline and tips for a good pre-season meeting are listed below:
Meeting the players and parents, and letting them know who you are and what your personal, professional, and coaching background is.
2. Communicate Your Coaching Philosophy
A coaching philosophy is what your beliefs are towards developing players and leading a team. Coaching philosophies typically include the following, and can change based on the level of team and the league your team is playing in.
- Coaching Style – are you a yeller? Do you prefer to have individual conversations with players? Do you constantly coach on the sideline during games, or are you mostly silent?
- Style of Play - do you like to possess the ball, or hoof it long every chance you get?
- Favorite Formations - Is your team going to play a set formation, or are you going to see what fits the players you have best?
- Playing Time - does everyone get 50%, or is it purely merit based? If so, how do players earn more playing time? (PLEASE NOTE: this can be league dependent. Most recreational leagues have some form of an “equal playing time” rule in effect).
- Expectations For Player’s Growth – what are you looking to do with the players on this team? How are you going to grow them as soccer players and people? (“I lead by example” is a great phrase to add here!)
3. Player Expectations
- What does a successful player look like? What behaviors do you expect at practices to help you teach?
- How can they be a good teammate? What does that look like?
- What should they wear to practices and games?
- Shinguards are required for all practices and games.
- Cleats should be worn, cut close-toed shoes are ok if you don’t own cleats.
- Behavior and discipline (how you will handle poor behavior or inattentiveness…some examples are below).
- Communication to your coach – if something is on your mind, or you have a question, please come talk to me! I promise I will answer as best as I can and, if I don’t know the answer, I will find out for you.
- Communication to teammates – Only be positive to your teammates. Soccer is a team sport! Feel free to give direction in practice or a game to your teammates, but never use phrases like “you need a better touch” or “why can’t you do this?”. We want to build each other up, not tear each other down.
- Communication to referees – Never confront, raise your voice, or yell at a referee. They are doing their best and will make mistakes on the field just like everyone else will (yourself included!)
4. Parent Expectations
- Arrival Time - Please try to have your child at practices and games on time (you can set a minimum time for players to be at events).
- If your player is going to be late, just text me to let me know! (please don’t punish young players for being late. If they can’t drive yet, they aren’t in control of how quickly they can get to practice).
- Communication – you can absolutely talk to me about concerns, but I encourage you to have your child to talk to me first! If they aren’t confident enough yet, please come with them. Youth sports is the perfect opportunity for teaching your child how to advocate for themselves in a safe environment. However, if a parent needs to privately contact me about something they are upset about, please follow the 24 hour rule:
- 24 hour rule – It’s important to understand that there will be highs and lows to every sports season. If you feel something absolutely needs to be discussed that upsets you, you must wait 24 hours before contacting me. This allows emotions to die down, and us to have a better and more productive conversation about the issue.
- Sideline Coaching – Parents may not coach during practices and games. You are free to cheer and give praise, but do not give instructions to players on the field. It’s important that you let me coach, and you support me as I try to develop your players.
- Referees – All referees make a mistake because they are as human as the rest of us. Please do not yell or say negative things to the referee. Without them we wouldn’t be able to play competitive matches at all. If you have a problem with a referee, please talk to me after the game so I can let the league know.
I am here for your children and will do my best to help them grow, not only as soccer players, but as individuals as well. I will make mistakes like everyone else, but please talk with me if you feel anything is egregious (after waiting 24 hours!). I’m excited to get to know all of you and your families better, and for the season to begin!
Open the meeting up to player and parent questions!
Handling Poor Behavior or Inattentiveness
Especially in younger players, poor attention and being a disruption at practices can be quite common. In order to curtail this, is important to outline expectations to your players before the poor behaviors begin. The preseason team meeting is a great time to explain these expectations to the players and parents.
If you would like to learn more, view our lesson on How to Handle Poor Behavior. This lesson gives tips on what behavior is ok in practices, what behavior is not ok, and what the consequences can be if the rules are not followed.