When my husband James was coaching travel baseball, I’d sometimes roll my eyes at all the paperwork he created for parents before the season started. Schedules, expectations, requirements, contracts, blah, blah, blah. I attributed it to his job as a retirement planner. Handling people’s money requires a ridiculous amount of I dotting and T crossing.
“Terms and Conditions, Baby! You’ve got to put EVERYTHING in writing!” he’d say emphatically. “And here’s where I have the parents sign that they understand and agree to it all.”
He was right! Coach-Parent communication before the season starts is just as vital to a team’s success as home run hitting and base stealing. If coaches don’t spell out their expectations for things like number of tournaments per month, how they’ll distribute playing time and how money will be handled, communication breakdowns will occur. Then you get angry, disillusioned families stalking off to new teams in the middle of the season.
For coaches, pre-season meetings and parent letters are essential CYA* exercises. As long as everything is understood and agreed to up front…and the plan is being followed as expected, parents aren’t justified in wailing that “they didn’t sign up for this!” No, I can’t guarantee that preseason meetings will have everyone holding hands and singing Kumbaya every weekend, but it’ll certainly cut down on things that cause team drama.
Our friends over at CoachBaseballRight.com have a really informative (and short) video on what pre-season meetings should entail. If your coach hasn’t held a mandatory team meeting to go over this season’s expectations, then you need to request that he or she do so ASAP. It’s one of those things that will pay off exponentially in the long run. Sort of like retirement planning.
Check out other parent resources at CoachBaseballRight.com. Click on the Coaching Academy tab and scroll down to “parent relationships.” Tons of great articles and videos from veteran youth and high school baseball coaches.
*CYA – cover your “asteroid”
For ideas on what to cover during pre-season meetings, see 42 Essential Questions to Ask Before Joining a New Travel Team