What is Your Idea of a Successful Season?
Picture the scene…It’s the end of the season and your team are having their annual presentation evening. Everything is so positive. The players love you. Their parents love you.
Everyone involved with the club respects you. Not because you just won the league, but because you are a coach that cares about your players, their parents and how the development of the whole club is run.
After all the games, early mornings and constant balancing of playing time with your players. You sit there chuffed to bits knowing you gave your very best. Everyone knows you gave 110%.
With every finish like this, there has to be a starting point. How do you get to this point? Well, a pre-season soccer parent meeting is a great place to start.
Why Have a Meeting in the First Place?
By having a meeting with all your players’ parents before the start of the season you can;
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- Meet new parents: Which allows you to get to know what your new players are like on a more personal level.
- Talk through any concerns: Parents may have concerns over such things as balancing playing time. This is the time to sort this out. You’ll save yourself so much time and headache.
- Your expectations of player AND parents: You don’t want to be arguing with players and parents before, during and after every game do you? Tell your parents how you expect them to behave. Again this will save you a massive headache down the line. Also be sure to outline what they should expect from you as well.
- Allows you to listen to the parents: Listen to parent’s ideas and discussions will position yourself as the leader and also help with your professional development.
- Organise player paperwork: Get this out of the way as quickly as possible. You don’t want to be chasing little Kevin’s parents half through the season because they didn’t send in his details. Concentrate on the more important things…like developing the technical and psychological aspect of your player’s game.
- Reiterate child safeguarding policies: Every club should have one. This is your chance to let your parents know you have their children’s best interests in mind.
It’s also good practice to hold a Mid-Season and end of season meeting with your parents as well. They don’t have to be a structured and formal as you pre-season meeting however, but will also allow you to ‘check-in’ with everyone.
Use the steps below to deliver a fantastic meeting or presentation to position yourself as the leader of the club.
Step #1: Decide how you’re going to deliver your meeting
You have 3 primary ways in which you can deliver your meeting;
- Presentation style (Great for engaging parents if delivered properly)
- I talk – you ask (Most common but not always most effective)
- Open discussion (Good for getting any problems out there in the open)
There are many advantages and disadvantages to each one. Pick one and go with it.
My personal recommendation? Go with a presentation style. You’ll more than likely need a laptop for that though.
Step #2: Decide on content of meeting
Now you need to list all the things you want to talk about. Think about;
- Feedback on previous year
- If you’re new in the role, then talk about the various different things you see can take the club forward.
- Travelling between games
- Point of contact for yourself and the parents
- Your coaching philosophy
- How parents can help develop their child away from training and games
- Event dates
- Hand-outs for parents
If you really want to go that extra mile, why not create and hand-out a mini-coaching book. This shows you care about your role as the club’s coach and the player’s development.
- List most important things first and then repeat them at the end of the meeting. You could also hand-out a small A5 piece of paper outlining everything you spoke about
- Don’t talk too much about yourself. Talk about the parents and most importantly the players themselves.
Step #3: Choose Structure
There are various ways to structure a meeting or presentation. Here are a few ideas for you;
- Problem – Solution: Introduce the problem, then provide the solution. Give parents action steps to get them on-board. Downside to this is it can get a bit monotonous.
- Practical Activities: Get you parents involved by actively getting them involved in activities that re-enforce what you’re trying to say.
- Story Mode: If you can frame your presentation around story you’re on to a winner. Perhaps creating an imaginary player experiencing all the positive and negative sides of playing in your team throughout a season. This is a great way to have your player’ parents engaged.
- Demonstration Method: If you’re showing parents how they can help develop their child, then demonstrating this might be best way forward.
These aren’t the only way to structure a meeting or presentation but there a good start. Pick one and move onto the next step.[wpsm_divider top=”20px” bottom=”20px” style=”fadein”] [wpsm_woobox id=”2412″] [wpsm_divider top=”20px” bottom=”20px” style=”fadein”]
Step #4: Write short bullet pointed notes / create presentation
This is where you will start to put your whole presentation together. You’ve already gathered your content in step #2, now it’s time to beef your meeting and presentation out.
When I do presentations I normally write down in bullet points what I’m going to talk about, then expand this in the presentation. It gives me two sources to read from.
You could however use this same bullet pointed list to hand out to parents as the minutes for the meeting.
Step #5: Choose Venue & Time
So your masterpiece has been completed. You’ve refined your content and cut everything out you don’t need. Now it’s time to find a venue and choose a time and date.
Keep in mind that there’s a very good chance not all parents will be able to come to your first allotted time. With that in mind, you might want to start thinking about having two or three separate meetings on separate days so all parents can attend.
Be careful to choose a venue that is;
- Nice and comfy
- In close proximity to your where they live
- A combination of both
Step #6: Tell Your Parents
Now it’s time to tell your parents. In this day and age there are a million and one ways to let your parents know through;
- Social Networks: Facebook and Twitter are the more obvious ones here but you may have another you prefer to use. You can set up private groups in Facebook just open to parents. Great way of keeping them engaged as everyone likes to feel a part of something.
- Website: A website is another great way to keep parents engaged. Be sure to link your social network account to your website.
- Parents Letters: You ought to be sending out a few parent letters now and again.
- At the next training session: No better place than the next training session!
- Email and Phone: You should have all your players’ parents’ emails and phone numbers.
Step #7: Post meeting follow up
After you have delivered you meeting or presentation for your parents make sure to follow up with them to see that they are happy with everything.
Remember what I briefly mentioned above. The presentation is about them and their children. Yes, of course you can talk about yourself but ultimately you’re doing this for them!
A presentation or meeting can be a fantastic way of positioning yourself as the leader and go to person at your club.
By being a little more pro-active you not only have all your players ‘onside’ but their parents too.
And that previous example we started off with at the beginning of this post?
It won’t be such an imaginary thought after all…
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