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The Team Charter - Blueprint for a Hassle-Free Season

The Process Of Creating A Team Charter

There are six steps to creating a charter meeting your team's specific needs:

  1. Select A Facilitator. The key to developing an effective team charter is informal, respectful group discussion moderated by a person who does not take sides. The facilitator explains the purpose of the discussion, gets its started, and keeps it on track. Look for someone who doesn't have a stake in the team and who has patience and organizational and communication skills. If you can't find the ideal outsider, select a parent or team supporter with these qualities who can remain neutral.

  2. Meet Early. If you don't create the Team Charter at the beginning, it's not going to work. Get parents and coaches together, with their input from players, soon after the team is formed. An hour or two should be enough time.

  3. Identify The "What Ifs?" The facilitator asks the group to make a list of anticipated problem areas -- where glitches in communication and decision-making might arise. This entails identifying a series of "what if" questions, like "What if we have unexpected expenses?" "What if we can't get enough parents to share the driving?" "What if someone disagrees with the coach's approach . . . to injury, or homework, or the use of muscle-building supplements?" Anyone in the group can contribute, and no one judge's another's entry.

  4. Brainstorm Solutions. Members of the group suggest strategies for handling each "what if." Everyone gets an opportunity to be heard, and there's no evaluation or debate. All potential solutions are welcome. The atmosphere should be upbeat and pro-active.

  5. Build Consensus. The facilitator re-visits, with the group, the list of "what-ifs" and possible solutions. Agreed-upon solutions become part of the charter. Any disputed items are discussed and addressed by voting, modifying, or dropping from the charter.

  6. Give Everyone A Copy. The result of the group's effort is a team charter, a copy of which is given to each parent, coach, and, if age appropriate, players. A Guide For Constructive Behavior The finished product should be a useful guide for constructive behavior. Parents, coaches and players are committed to following the charter because they have help to create it. It's a simple document, but one that can be the backbone of a smoothly functioning youth sports team and the catalyst for a stress-free, enjoyable season.

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