You might have already begun practice for fall sports, and if not, that moment will be here before you know it. As a coach, you’ve already begun to think through what you most want your team to be prepared for in the weeks ahead.
The start of the season is an exciting time. While it’s a great time to work through those game plans or start thinking through drills you want to highlight in practice, it’s also a time to perform administrative duties and responsibilities before the start of the first game.
Here’s a checklist of 5 things each coach should prepare to do for their team before the start of the season.
- Email or call each player with an introduction: The first step for any coach to take at the start of the season is to message players and their parents to let them know who you are and how to get in contact with you. This introduction also does a lot to help you build rapport with parents and the athlete you’ll be coaching.
- Set deadlines: Deadlines are important, and these shouldn’t be arbitrary. For example, if you need to have registration dues paid by a certain point in order to let an athlete play, then make sure that’s clearly communicated to the athlete and their parents. These deadlines can be set up for things like fundraisers, registration or to make payments for things like uniforms. Deadlines help you stay organized and better manage your team.
- Create a plan for your first practice: Create a plan for practice location and times and provide a rough outline of what those early practices will look like. As the season moves on, you can adjust your schedule and what’s expected in those practices based on what happens throughout the course of the season.
- Communicate to parents/athletes what you need: Sign-up forms, medical release forms, physical exams, contact information, etc., are things you need from parents and athletes before the start of a season. This needs to be communicated early. Set up those requirements and make sure parents and athletes know whether or not to have these before registration or the start of the first practice or game. You can also use this time to schedule team meetings to discuss with them what’s needed. This will help you stay organized for the start of the season.
- Send a schedule: Once you’ve made introductions, set deadlines, and collect payments and paperwork, now you are ready to send a full schedule so that parents and athletes know the dates and times for games, practices, any team-building activities and fundraising events.
It’s important, whether you’re a new coach or have years of experience in this position, that you make sure you set clear expectations for your team at the start of any season. This will help you stay organized, get a clear plan for the first few weeks of the season and ultimately help you better manage your team.