The most successful youth sports seasons are the ones that begin with a pre-season meeting for parents, players, coaches and team administrators.
A preseason meeting sets a positive tone for the season by opening the lines of communication early so that everyone - parents, athletes, coaches and team parents - understands and agrees on what they expect from one another.
If your child's coach calls for a preseason meeting, be sure to attend. It is never a waste of time.
If one isn't planned, ask for one.
What to Expect
A good preseason meeting:
- Gives parents the opportunity to find out the coach's style, philosophy (especially with respect to playing time), expectations and goals for the upcoming season.
- Gives the coach a chance to set expectations for parents in terms of sideline behavior (explaining, for instance, just what a "zero tolerance policy" means in terms of yelling at game officials, etc.), getting players to practices and games on time and in uniform, etc.
- Provides an opportunity for coaches and parents to develop a team charter
- Provides an opportunity to set behavioral boundaries to prevent abuse and harassment (including verbal, physical, and sexual abuse and bullying).
- Gives coaches a chance to educate parents on the rules (parents sometimes forget that the rules aren't always the same as the pros or older kids use; knowing the rules can prevent misunderstandings during the season);
- Discussing injury prevention and treatment (warm-ups, conditioning, hydration, first-aid, the emergency medical plan, and, particularly in spring contact and collision sports such as lacrosse, soccer, and baseball, the important subject of concussions (including knowing the signs and symptoms, understanding that immediate removal from play in case of suspected concussion is, if not mandated by state law, strongly recommended by all concussion experts, and the important role parents play in the concussion recognition, treatment and recovery);
- Allows for an exchange of important information between coaches and parents (e-mail addresses, phone numbers, season schedule, maps to away games etc.)
- Provides a forum for parents to have their questions or concerns answered
- Offers parents a chance to become involved in the team as more than just a spectator, such as by becoming a team administrator (a/k/a "team parent"), organizing a "water and orange" schedule, getting and distributing directions to away games, organizing car pools or helping out at practices.
For a longer article exploring in depth the twenty-one topics that should be addressed at every pre-season meeting, click here.
Adapted from the book, Home Team Advantage: The CriticalRole of Mothers in Youth Sports (HarperCollins 2006) by Brooke de Lench, Founder of MomsTeam.com.
Revised August 31, 2013