Guidelines for a Coach's First Team Meeting
Part of the Coaching Kids For Dummies Cheat Sheet
As a coach, the first team meeting you hold should be mandatory and should include both the parents and the kids. This meeting is important because it sets the tone for the rest of the season. You get to introduce yourself and your coaching philosophy. Make the meeting last no more than 30 minutes, and cover the following topics:
Have all the essential information already typed out and ready to hand out. Essential information includes your name and home phone number, as well as the assistant coaches’ names and numbers.
Find out who can help you. If you haven’t found a team parent yet (a team parent helps out with making phone calls in case of bad weather, getting travel directions, bringing juice/water to games, and so on), this is the perfect time to ask for a volunteer.
Explain the league rules of participation. Let all the parents know if there are any mandatory rules regarding how much of each game every child must play.
Explain the rules regarding equipment and safety instructions. This may take a few minutes, but you want to address this important topic in this first meeting.
Ask the parents to review with you any medical concerns regarding their children in a private conversation, perhaps even after the meeting. Medical information is just as important as the safety equipment issue! Because many parents would prefer to discuss this personal matter with you in confidence rather than in public, give them that option. Be sure to get information about any lingering or healing injuries that a child on the team may have.
Discuss candidly with the moms and dads what you expect from them, especially with regard to their conduct at practices and games. Naturally, you expect them to behave as mature adults and as positive role models in good sportsmanship for the kids.
Talk about sportsmanship and how you expect the kids to behave. Using examples, explain to the kids what it means to play in a sportsmanlike manner (shaking hands with opponents after the game, treating the officials with respect, no trash talking or taunting, and so on).
Go over team discipline briefly. This tends to be something of a broad topic, and you don’t want to get bogged down here or give the kids a list of disciplinary rules. For the time being, just tell the kids and their parents that you expect them to be on time, come to the practices, and if they can’t make it to a practice or game for any reason, to contact you via telephone — ideally at least 24 hours ahead of time.
At the end of the meeting, take a few moments to hand out schedules, directions to away games, and uniforms (make sure that the kids try them on and that they fit before they leave!). In addition, take some time to meet and greet the parents you don’t know. Try to learn each child’s first name and introduce yourself to each one.