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Laying the Groundwork for a Successful Youth Campaign: Communication

It's the beginning of the new year and you know exactly what you want to do this season with your players, but in order to be successful, you will have to implement your coaching programme.

At the beginning of the season, it is important to take into consideration any factors that could be a blocker or supporter in achieving the desired outcomes of your coaching programme.

Parents & Players for an underage team are one of the most important parts of this equation, and you will need them to be committed supporters of your coaching programme to ensure you have the best chance at achieving your desired goals.

The question is, how do I get the parents & players to be committed supporters of the coaching programme?

The first step in this process is private communication:

Prior to including a player into your squad, you should sit down privately with the parent & the player and provide them with a high level overview of your coaching programme.

Include the most relevant details, for example training & match times, training location, coaching methods, session types.

Once you have given an overview, you can ask the parent & player if they have any questions or what their thoughts are.

If step one is successful and the player signs with your squad, then you can progress to the second step: squad communication, also known as the preseason meeting.

The preseason meeting can take place in in any location that can comfortably host your squad along with their parents without any disruptions. It is good practice to formalise the meeting by delivering a presentation, but you can use any appropriate delivery method that you feel provides a clear understanding to all attendees at the meeting.

It is best practice to include an introduction of the coaches & club, an understanding of expectations of coaches, players & parents including the roles & responsibilities for all.

At this point you can then give a more detailed overview of your coaching programme, along with the desired outcomes, it can be best to add videos and images to give the delivery a strong visual.

Using a quote or audio clip that supports your programme from a person involved at higher level (player or coach) can be very effective in getting players & parents to buy into your goals for the campaign.

To finish, you can open the floor to a Q&A from parents & players. It can be helpful to stay behind for a short while after the meeting as some parents or players may want to ask a question one to one rather than in front of the full group.

Below are 5 communication tips to get parents & players on board with your coaching programme:

  • Tell them the truth: Being honest will make it easier in getting them to become committed supporters of your coaching programme.

  • Create a private line of communication at first with parents and then progress to a group setting.

  • Ensure the parents & players have a clear understanding by keeping the conversations interactive and asking the attendees questions.

  • Allow the parents & players to ask you questions.

  • Careful listening can be more effective than over speaking.

Now that all the parents & players fully understand the coaching programme, along with the expectations from everyone involved and the desired outcomes at the end of the programme, what's next?

Well now it's time for football and to bring actions in to meet the communication. You begin your coaching programme as communicated, but in order to ensure long term commitment and support of the parents & players throughout the full season, it is important that you stick in line with the programme that you highlighted, and ensure that everyone involved (coaches, parents & players) follow what is expected of them.

Communication should be continued on a regular basis after the preseason meeting with parents & players, along with a more in depth follow up meeting, first individual and then group setting at the halfway point of the season. This can be very beneficial in keeping everyone supportive and focused on reaching the desired outcomes.

Always remember that an underage team is not solely the players; it is comprised of the club, coaches, players and parents. To reach your desired outcomes, all of these people have to work together towards the same targets.

The achievements of a team are the results of the combined effort of each individual.

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