August 24, 2012
Dr. Dina Gentile helps youth soccer players and coaches across America prepare for the Fall Soccer Season.
The summer months can serve to energize the organizers of youth soccer associations who deserve the much-needed break. However, the next two weeks will be a busy time as club administrators and volunteers start to move nets, line fields, create team rosters, recruit coaches, and sort uniform jerseys. These opening weeks of the season are an opportunity to create strong links and create a positive club culture moving into a new season.
Club Administrators: Unite the Program at the Start of the Season!
Communication is the key! The focus of soccer administrators, over the next weeks, is to share as much of the practice and game time details with parents. Utilizing the club website with current announcements and updates will save administrators time as they may be replying to the same email questions multiple times from many parents. A website can serve to be the communication hub for the club and save time for the administrator to manage other tasks.
Preseason meetings are another tool to create a bond between club administrators and volunteer coaches. The meeting should touch upon key elements but the website can also serve to share the Xs and Os in regards to policies and procedures. The outcome of the meeting is to get all volunteers on the same page (understanding the mission of the club) and to energize them for the upcoming weeks of soccer. Many volunteer coaches have attended the same preseason meeting over a number of seasons/years, adding a guest speaker that can provide a refreshing perspective on coaching or practice plan development will invigorate the group. The volunteer coaches may hear the same concepts the club has been communicating but having a new voice may be the ingredient needed to truly resonate with the team of volunteers.
Celebrate the opening of a new season with the families of the athletes. The club should create a buzz about the upcoming season perhaps announcing the number of players registered, the new uniforms for the travel team, or the start of a new program or initiative. When people sign their child up for soccer, they are also registering to be part of the soccer community. If we want to build a strong culture for our clubs, we need to engage our families early and often and get them excited about all of the existing programs.