Fair Play=maintain a high standard of behavior respecting others and keeping conversations civil and calm. Remember that these are young players, impressionable and it is in our best interest to be good role models as adults. Keep any banter within the context of youth sports, don’t try to intimidate or bully another person.
Players do not always have control of their schedule but coaches expect players to be on time to training and that means before training starts. If you arrive right at the time training is supposed to start, consider yourself late and, if you are running late, be sure to be “on the jog” getting to the field with all equipment on and ready to train.
Pay attention to the coach and ask questions if you do not clearly understand.
Disruptive behavior means that the coach must stop coaching the team to address an issue with one or more players and therefore not able to conduct the planned training session. When coaches have to stop the session to deal with a player, there is a pause in the session and the team will suffer.
Have a plan and work the plan; develop a session that is engaging to the players so they do not have time to goof off. Deal with disruptions quickly and, if a player is consistently being disruptive, then the player may need to be disciplined.
Using a combination of available tools keeps players motivated to improve. Challenging sessions, encouragement, competition and evaluations are a few examples.
Demonstrate team unity so that players adopt and foster a team mentality where players don’t cast blame but take responsibility and help their teammates.
Listen to players and parents when they have concerns or questions. We will not always agree, however, we want civil dialog to explain the coaches goals for the player and how teamwork will achieve the goal. Teamwork is Coach, Player and Parent working together.
Parents play a vital role in the development of their player by supporting the coach and club in the plan for player development. Coaches are directed to follow certain guidelines when it comes to training topics and the pattern of learning as each age group has a focus based on age and ability.
Players learn best when they are allowed to experiment and make mistakes. If coaches and parents put too much pressure on players, a fight, flight or freeze mentality is the result. What we are working towards is getting players in flow so that they are right on the edge of success and failure. Coaches need parents to bring players ready to train and that includes a player that has eaten a healthy meal, has slept the recommended duration and is focused and ready to play.
The 24-hour rule is in place so that productive conversations result between a parent and a coach. If a parent is really upset after a game, then emotions can get in the way of a conversation that should benefit the player. If you are upset, we simply ask that you set the issue aside for a day, come back to it when it’s been processed and then decide if there is still an issue that needs to be discussed with the coach. If so, please use the preferred method of communication requested by the coach and ask for a meeting or phone call to talk.
Parents can struggle to understand how their player is doing and therefore focus on results. If the team wins, all is good and, if the team loses, then there must be a problem. At UFA, we want parents to focus on components of winning rather than the score. Examples for parents to focus on are:
Teams should have a topic that they have been working on, do you see that topic coming through in the game? Topics could be as simple as receiving the ball away from pressure (i.e. opponent), using the appropriate foot, passing to the goalkeeper to switch the ball from one side of the field to the other. Topics can be more advanced such as an overlapping run, third man or no-look passing. If you are not sure what to look for, ask your player or coach what the team has been working on so you can look for that moment and see if the team or your player is able to execute the skill or tactic in a game.
A parent should enjoy the fact that your child is able to compete physically in competition; remember that many children do not get the chance to or are simply unable to. Be encouraging to your player, and really to all players, as they learn to play the beautiful game. We do not provide participation trophies as we do not feel that this is going to hold any value to the development of any player, just as we do not feel false praise is going to help the player either. When they work hard, we praise that; when we see success in a skill or tactic, we praise that and applaud the effort.