The Parent Meeting

The following list includes key points for you to remember when you meet with the players’ parents at the beginning of the season:

* Be prompt and organized in starting.
We have all heard the expression, “the first impression is the one that sticks.” You will not be able to request that your parents and players to be on time for sessions and/games if you are not reliable to do the same.    
* Give 5 - 10 minutes minimum before you start a meeting.
Sometimes parents arrive late due to previous commitments, traffic, etc. Allowing a few extra minutes for everyone to arrive is easier than trying to recap points and information over again. 

* Ask each parent to introduce themselves and the name of their child that will be participating on the team.
This serves as a good way to “break the ice”.  Also, this is part of joining new players together as a common group and building a sense of community.  

* Introduce yourself and your assistant coaches, if any.
If you have a nickname that you would like to be called, just tell the parents.My name is Eduardo Lima but I like to be called Eddie. 
* Provide your contact information
Provide your families with your contact information and make sure to tell them the best way to reach you (example: phone and/or email) and time (example: Monday – Friday from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m).
* Collect parent/players contact information
You should have the “player’s roster” containing their address, phone numbers, E-mail addresses, etc. Also ask the parents to include any particular medical condition their child has that you may need to know about.  (Example: allergy to bee stings).
* State your experience and qualifications, even if you have none, and your reasons for becoming a coach.
Please do not describe your entire career as soccer player, coach, and all you have done in life.  You only need a 2 minute discussion regarding your reasons for becoming a coach.                   

* Explain your philosophy and objectives.

Philosophy and Objectives
1. Have a passion for working with kids
2. Be committed and consistent
3. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know
4. Listen to ideas and concerns of others
5. Believe the kids are our priority
6. Encourage everyone to be involved and watch the sport
7. Encourage everyone involved to love and respect the game
8. Coach more than soccer. Coach valuable life skills, and winning will take care of      itself
9. Don’t take anything personally. Develop a thick skin. Words “out of the mouth of babes” can be brutally honest
10. Do not use profanity at any time; stay calm
11. Do not get involved in non-soccer issues; stay neutral
12. Be objective and professional
13. Support your players, assistants, parents and the VYS Board
14. Do not ”bad mouth” officials, players, other teams, etc.
15. Support the VYS Code of Ethics

* Review your methods of coaching. Describe a typical training session. (for U5-U6)
You can use the “VYS Training Organization” information to help you to describe a typical training session.
* Discuss what is expected of parents and solicit their assistance.
Remember you will be a coach, not a babysitter, so their help and support on and off the field can be very helpful in your training sessions, as well as valued for the player’s development.
* Training Schedule
Distribute information on the club and the training/game schedule (Example: address, where to park, etc).
* Parent/Players “Rules” Handout”
Discuss and perhaps give the adults a handout on the rules for their conduct at training/games for players and parents (Example: Do not take a player from a session early without letting you know in advance, if possible.)
* Select the team name (for U5-U6)
Most new coaches let the kids vote on a team name. This is a common rookie mistake.  As coach, look at your jersey color and come up with a name to match. Remember; think like a 5 year old. Build respect and loyalty to our club as well. So, choose the name of our club “VYS with the name that can match the color. Example: VYS Blue Blasters, VYS Gray Sharks, VYS Stingers, VYS Dinosaurs, etc. Also, you can choose names that represent our country. Example: VYS Freedom Blue, VYS United Red, etc.

* Expectations working in this age group (for U5-U6)
Remind your parents that all kids develop differently. The child who is a daisy picker this season may blossom into a tiger over the course of a few months. Sometimes you can even see the light go on in their heads when they finally "get it.” Also, either now or during the season if needed, make sure parents know that they don’t need to be embarrassed if their child is one who "doesn’t quite get it" I have done this numerous times and the parents always look relieved when I broach the subject. It is very important they stay positive with their child.

* Explain the importance of how parents should be cheering during sessions/games
Encourage the parents to cheer for all the kids, and to follow your lead on what the kids are doing right. Oddly enough, I usually don’t cheer too loudly for a goal. They get enough of that from everyone else. I’ll cheer loudest for the child that does something exceptional, like taking the ball cleanly from an opponent, running back hard on defense, or helping up a teammate who has fallen down.
* Explain the Sideline Ethics during sessions and games
Define appropriate sideline behavior. This would be for players, spectators and the staff. Don’t allow yourself or spectators to verbally abuse players or officials. REMEMBER: A COACH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS/HER SIDELINE! Some things to discuss early in the seasonal year are:

• Encourage parents to cheer for all players, not just the “good ones.”  Know the difference between cheering and “oh my goodness, what are you doing out there?!!”
• Discourage coaching by spectators from the sidelines, as this will confuse players.
• Referees, especially young ones, are doing a difficult job. Let them do it.
• Criticism of officials usually results in the children learning the wrong lesson from the adults surrounding the field.
• Be a positive role model and set the standard of good sportsmanship.
• Do not negatively question or argue with officials.
• Do not engage in unsportsmanlike communication with opponents or their spectators.
• Maintain integrity. Your demeanor on and off the field will say a lot about you for a long time.
• Know and keep the rules and regulations of the local, state and national organizations.
• Always work within the spirit of the Laws of the Game. Do not ever bend the rules to your advantage.
• Regardless of the outcome of matches, wins and losses and trophy presentations, your actions as coach will always be how people remember you.
* Feedback from sessions/games
It is extremely important for us coaches to know how we are doing and if the players are learning and having fun. So, I recommend that you encourage the parents to maintain communication with you and let you know how they think things are going.

* Leave plenty of time so parents can ask any questions or voice any concerns they may have.
Some parents do not feel comfortable talking in front of other parents, especially if they have some issues and/or concerns regarding their own child. So, I would recommend that you mention that you will be available to talk in private with any parent and/or they can call and/or send you an email.

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