Helpful Hints for a Successful Parents Meeting:
When you first attend the EMSA Mill Woods Coaches meeting and receive your team list you should CALL each parent within the next few days and introduce yourself. You can also let them know that the Indoor Season begins on a certain day. Please remember to give them YOUR telephone number. The Jersey Deposit cheque (U9-U19 only) should be post-dated to the appropriate date set by EMSA Mill Woods and made payable to Mill Woods Soccer Association. The next important step (after picking up your equipment) is to contact your players and hold a parents meeting.
Here are some suggestions as to points that should be covered:
- Introduce yourself. Tell them about your coaching experience and a little about your life – job, family, etc. Talk to them about the EMSA Mill Woods philosophy of playing each child equally regardless of their skill level. Let them know that the EMSA Mill Woods has made every effort to form these teams of players of relatively equal skill and ability.
- Confirm phone numbers and email addresses from your team list. Email is the easiest way to contact the team members, so you’ll want to make sure your contact information is correct. If there are updates, please let the office know.
- Advise the parents that it is the belief of EMSA Mill Woods and your own that school and homework come before soccer! If a child gets home from school at 3:30 pm, they should make every effort to get their homework done BEFORE a 6:00 pm game. If they wait until after the game (7:00 pm or later), they will simply be too tired. Seek the parents’ support on this issue! And tell the parents that you WILL send this message to the children often.
- Let them know that you need at least 1-2 Assistant Coaches, one Team Manager and one Team Equipment Manager. Explain to them that you simply cannot do the job alone. It is a “team” and the word “team” includes the parents! Ensure them that the assistant coaches need not know a lot about the game of soccer, although that would certainly be a bonus. The assistant coaches help to make sure that each child plays equally. Assistant coaches would also assist with the warm-ups prior to games. They may also help keep the players when they should be preparing to play.
- The Team Manager would be in charge of arranging photos, gathering funds for tournaments, etc. The Team Manager would also be the ‘go-between’ in the event that someone had trouble speaking with a coach. The Team Manager may also ensure that the players sign the game sheets (U9-U19). The Team Manager will also keep track of the deposit cheques – who has provided one and who hasn’t.
- Clearly explain the EMSA Mill Woods policy of playing each child equally. This does not mean that you will have a stop watch and time this to the second. But every effort should be made to play the children equally, and that while winning is important, it is not the primary goal. Advise the parents that your goal as a coach is to have the players improve their soccer skills while having fun. The ONLY exceptions to this are injury/sickness and discipline issues.
- Discipline issues may include being disrespectful to teammates, other players, coaches, parents or referees. When a child is disciplined, his/her parents should be informed of this. All discipline should be progressive and should be in proportion to the “wrong” that was done. (i.e. if a child was disrespectful to a referee, the coach may decide to bench him for a shift. If the player does it a second time, the benching may be for a couple of shifts. And so on.) Each time this occurs the coach MUST explain to the child the reason for the punishment and that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated.
- Tell the parents that they will need to bring their children to the games at least ½ hour BEFORE game time. This is necessary so the players can warm up properly and so that the coach can prepare the game sheet. The coach needs to know who is playing!
- Parents should attend ALL of their children’s games and practices! The coach is NOT a baby-sitter. Your child will know if mom brings them to the game 5 minutes before it starts and then races back 5 minutes after it is over. These young people have a relatively short playing career. Be there for THEM! Of course there are some occasions where a parent has no choice but to leave (other children in soccer, etc.). If a parent MUST leave for a while, they MUST inform the coach and manager that they have to leave and they MUST inform the coach and manager when they will return.
- Provide the parents with a list of parents/players names, addresses and phone numbers. Make sure that no one has any objections to this first. If they need someone to give their child a ride, they should phone someone that lives close to them. They should NOT always call you! They should also not always rely on the same person for a “ride”. Encourage them to ask other people that live close to them.
- Due to infectious diseases like spinal meningitis, and even colds and flues, advise the parents that every child should have their OWN water bottle (an empty “Powerade” bottle will suffice). Each water bottle should be clearly marked with the child’s name!
- There are NO snacks allowed in any gyms or in the soccer centers.
- Advise the U11-U19 parents about the Mill Woods Soccer Tournament, held on the Thanksgiving long weekend and the weekend after the May long weekend. Encourage attendance and make sure you note who will not be able to make it.
- Collect the jersey deposit cheques from the parents (only applicable to U11 and older). Their child CANNOT be issued a jersey until they have provided you with a post-dated (to the right date) deposit cheque payable to Mill Woods Soccer Association. Explain to them that EMSA Mill Woods does NOT want their money. We want the jerseys back!
- Explain to the parents that Mill Woods Soccer conducts security checks on all of its head coaches. EMSA Mill Woods is doing everything it can to screen out any sex offenders or child abusers.
- Ask the parents to ensure that their child does not bring or wear jewelry of any kind to the games. Earrings, necklaces, etc. should be left at home. Ask the parents to be positive role models. They should cheer, not jeer. They should NEVER yell at Referees or other players. The parents need to be reminded that Referees DO make mistakes (after all, many of them are barely older than the players themselves!) Tell them that YOU are responsible for not only the players on the team, but also the parents. Tell them that if they cannot behave themselves on the sidelines, you may have to ask them to leave – in order to cool down . . . Tell them that EMSA Mill Woods WILL support you on this issue.
- Advise the parents that if a player gets hurt during a game, they should NOT immediately scream at a Referee if he/she does NOT immediately blow the whistle. The Referee is not supposed to do this! Often what occurs is there is a minor injury (two players jostle for the ball and one player goes down). The Referee is supposed to allow the play to continue – especially if the ball is played to a teammate of the injured player. The Referee may call, “Advantage – Play on!” If the Referee were to blow the whistle immediately, the advantage would be lost. Having said this, if there was a foul, the referee should blow the whistle immediately. Not because of the injury, but because of the foul. Remember, it is the Referees discretion as to whether a foul occurred, NOT the parents or coaches. If the injury is clearly and obviously serious in nature (and the vast majority are NOT) the Referee can and should blow the whistle and stop play. NOTE: In the case where the injury is NOT serious, but the player is down and “hurting”, proper soccer etiquette is for the opposing team to kick the ball out of play at the next earliest opportunity. A “throw-in” then occurs by the team with the injured player. In keeping with the etiquette, the player making the throw-in then throws the ball to the opposing team. It is important for all coaches and player to know this so they DON’T yell at a Referee who is only doing what he/she is supposed to do!
- Advise the parents that you will need one of them to act as a “bench parent” or “Referee Liaison” for each game. It doesn’t have to be the same parent for each game. Make sure that both parents know what their responsibilities are before EACH game!
Every EMSA Mill Woods Coach should hold a meeting with all the parents of their team as soon as possible. You can hold a parents meeting by booking some time at your local community league or the food court at your local mall. However, one of the easiest ways to do this is to hold the parents meeting during the very first ‘get-together’. Introduce yourself to your new players and then throw them a soccer ball and let them play while you meet with the parents.