Dearest Managers (and faithful readers...both of you!)
Welcome back! Of course, you've been knee deep in soccer for several weeks now with tournaments, etc. but let's take a quick recap and look forward before spring schedules come out this week:
- By now, your rosters should be printed and stamped and protected in a binder somewhere. Same with player cards (laminated).
BEST PRACTICE: find a color scanner and make PDFs of the roster as well as the fronts and backs of each player card (you can do multiple cards at once). You can then print off extra copies of the roster as needed and many tournaments are starting to allow online registration via PDF.
- Familiarize yourself with your league rules and requirements. Let's face it, last season's "green" movement for WAGS did not go smoothly with multiple changes to game day procedures.
BEST PRACTICE: roll with it. They are people too and people make mistakes. Check the website often.
- Medical forms. Check in with parents to see if the medical information has changed.
BEST PRACTICE: Although often not required, it does help to have these notarized. Also make a scanned copy.
- WAGS, at least, has moved to online parent, coach and player code of conduct forms. You just send out the link and passwords and it is the parents responsibility.
BEST PRACTICE: these are adults. Send them the link. It would be nice if they did it without reminders but mention it in a couple of emails. Same for TSL forms and STAR information.
- Remind everyone to check uniforms. Kids grow. Things get lost. Find out now (rather than right before the first game).
BEST PRACTICE: Send out exactly what the uniform style is ("Adidas Tiro", e.g.). Also, check your club for requirements. My team will need to update in the fall so letting parents know now that about that cost helps soften the blow.
- Remind everyone of practice and game day expectations. This is especially important if you added players for the spring. How far ahead of kickoff should players be at the field for warm-ups? How will you be communicating to the parents about rain-outs or changes, etc.
IDEA: (I won't call this a "best practice" as I know it doesn't work for everyone) Find a online tool (I use a basic Yahoo Group) that has calendar and autoreminder features. Set it and forget it.*
- Don't forget to look ahead. While parents, coaches, and players should be focused on the season opener or the next tournament, you need to think about tryouts, summer training sessions and camps, and (gasp) even next winter's practice space.
BEST PRACTICE: start talking to the coaches about this. Discussion of tryouts and expectations have already started, believe it or not, so you should have a general idea of what to say. See also my other post about A Teams and B Teams - this will certainly come up and I'd love to have your thoughts.
Don't forget that the point of all of this is to let the kids have fun playing a sport they enjoy. Don't let parent politics cause you to forget that.
Best of luck for the season!
*If anyone has some programming skills or some cash, I'd be happy to discuss creating a perfect youth sports managerial platform that would make all of our lives easier!