The start of a new soccer season can be trying—names to learn, schedules to adjust, responsibilities to take on, practices to plan and games to coach. Sometimes it’s enough to make you ask, “Why bother!?” But of course, the answer is simple: you do it for the kids.
Go into this season with the right attitude from the get-go. We’ve compiled some tips from our more than 8 million users worldwide on how coaches can start a new season off on the right foot.
- Let technology ease the pain.
We are living in the technology age, and most parents and older players are comfortable enough with email and text that you can use it as the primary method of communication for team info. This saves the coach time, but there are other ways to make your job easier as well. Team management tools automate a lot of time-consuming tasks, letting you create, update and store a team roster. In addition, tools like TeamSnap let you see what players can make each game or practice, assign items for parents to bring to games and even keep track of who’s paid their fees.
- Organize before the season starts.
With all you have to tackle this season, do yourself a favor and start preparing well in advance of the first practice. Create a list of everything you can think of that will need to be done and think about what you’ll handle personally and what your assistant coach or team manager will handle, then delegate those responsibilities. Start learning names and faces early to make things easier once practices start (some team management apps even allow you to upload photos to the roster to help speed up the process). Start planning practices and putting together a list of drills a few weeks in advance. By managing what you can ahead of time, you won’t be so overwhelmed when things start to pop up when the season starts (and you know they will!).
- Strongly encourage volunteers
Now that you have your list of jobs, it’s time to “strongly encourage” (yes, you can read that as “force”) people to volunteer. Many coaches and team managers simply email the list of jobs out and hope parents sign up. Although everyone means well, we all know that email will sit, unread, in the inbox as parents hope someone else volunteers for team duties. This inevitably puts the coach in the position of resident nudge. Consider having a preseason team party or picnic and have your list ready. This serves two purposes: you let parents and players get acquainted or reacquainted in a fun setting off the field, and you can make sure every volunteer job is filled before the end of the event. Leave the email for reminders, not sign-ups.
About the author: Stephanie Myers is the content manager for TeamSnap, a web and mobile app used by 8 million coaches, parents, team managers and players to tame the logistical nightmare of wrangling schedules, practices, equipment and volunteers, providing up-to-the-second info on where everyone needs to be and what they need to bring