Managing a team successfully means that you need to work closely with the parents. Any issues arising with the team should be discussed openly between manager, parents, and players.
Make sure that all your parents are given and read the Code of Conduct for Parents (Download below).
You may also want to establish some ground rules for the players in your team. There’s a great example of this produced by Peter Drury for his U14 side a few years back. (Download below)
AGC’s and Managers are expected to run a parents’ meeting at the start of the season. This can be after training or on a convenient evening. You may need to cover (or reiterate):
- League and divisions you will play in.
- Match day arrangements.
- Training arrangements.
- Squads and any plans for making changes mid-season.
- Need for help pre and post-match, with goals, nets, running the line, checking registration cards etc.
- Your policy on playing time and substitutions.
- Your expectations of players and parents in terms of behaviour.
- Who the Parent Representatives are and their role.
Communicating with parents
The easiest way to communicate with parents is by email, social media (e.g. WhatsApp) or text. Parents need to know that they will be informed of matches, selection, kick off times etc., and that they are expected to respond to them. Parents should be aware that in bad weather they need to contact you rather than the other way around (although you will always end up ringing some of them for cancelled fixtures).
Delegate as much as possible! Get a parent to help out. Also, if you want to run any social events for the team, get a parent to organise it. Otherwise, you will end up doing all of these tasks and it will become a full-time job. If no one volunteers, then run a rota for each task.
You may find it useful to use SMS to send details of fixtures or cancellations. Some managers use an online service to do this. www.bulksms.co.uk is a low cost service that enables you to set up a group of mobile numbers and send a text to all. Or WhatsApp is a good alternative.
If you’re into technology, you can use a team management app such as Teamer.
Parents who coach…
The parents will also need to be told that their job is NOT as a coach to the team. Make it clear to parents that they should support and encourage their children during a game but must not coach or issue instructions. Only the manager and assistant manager should be telling the kids what to do and where they should be on the pitch. If not, you can end up with a confused child with his Mum or Dad telling him or her to do one thing and the coach telling the player something different.
Pre season and of season emails to parents
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
The start of season email template
Peter Drury, formerly the AGC of Raiders U16s (and part-time football commentator…) writes a decent start of season email to all of his parents. So, whether you’re a manager or AGC, don’t be afraid to copy Peter’s style and approach.
Peter’s missive for a previous season is available as a download below.
The end of season email template
At the end of each season, the work starts on sorting out the teams for next season. It usually needs a lengthy email from the AGC/manager to parents to explain how things will work. If they know what is coming, then they will have less reason to complain!
You can download below an example used by Andy Grindrod, when he was AGC for the U13s (massive input once again from Peter Drury!) It will give you some worthwhile insight into how we sort our squad selection, and how an AGC and manager needs to get the message across to all parents before squad selection commences.