Letter to Parents

This was a letter to parents of one of my boys’ U10 travel team. Fall 2008 season (?). Feel free to re-use it :-)

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Hi Everybody,

With our first game just another day away, I would like to make some comments on practices and games (yes, another veeerrry loooong message).

Practices:

Please arrive five-ten minutes prior to the designated start time to allow for proper warm-up.

We will go through some basics this season, mostly offense-oriented: mostly dribbling and passing with some shooting. After that, we’ll do whatever seems to be of the most need. We will not care much about positions at this age at practices.

Games:

Please arrive thirty minutes prior to all games.

Let me repeat :-)

Please arrive thirty minutes prior to all games. Once again, this is needed for proper warm ups. Also, under other equal circumstances (i.e., practice attendance) those, who arrive to the game first, will start the game.

During the games – please respect all participants: both the opposition and the referees. Especially referees: approximately 50% of the first year referees stop helping with the games due to verbal abuse from parents. Please remember that these are the same kids as your boys and deserve the same type of respect. They will make mistakes – it’s really not a big deal :-)

Also, unfortunately for you (or fortunately – depending on your perception of youth soccer :-) ) – I don’t care about wins or losses that much. The priority will be given to having all boys play equal amount of time during the games at all positions.

Please don’t give advices from the sidelines during the games: usually, they do not achieve much and only distract boys from the action. Also, they may and will contradict with what we are doing in practices and that will really confuse the players. Such, we are doing some dribbling exercises in practices right now – and that’s what I am going to look for in the first couple of games – just plain one on one encounters (or one on two, or one on five – whatever the case may be :-) ). Also, games are for players: they need to go through practical trial and error experience in competitive setting. Last reason is that even though our intentions are good – we don’t always give the right advices: cliche`s like “spread out”, “mark somebody”, “boot it”, etc. are generally counterproductive for several reason. First – they need to be taught in a practice first through targeted exercises and repetitions in order to mean anything in a game. Second – they usually do not provide specific directions and most often do not apply to the whole team but to individual players only. Also, point of view from the sidelines is different from the point of view from the middle of the pile: kids may not see what you see.

All this does not mean that you cannot cheer – by all means, parental support is vital to the team spirit :-) Just please try to restrict yourself to general encouragement phrases only, a la “great shot!”, “nice pass!”, “it’s ok, you’ll get him the next time!”, etc.

I hope I did not come off too negative :-)

Please let me know if you have questions, I’ll be happy to help. And remember: our main objectives are having some fun and continuing skill development, the rest is distant second.

Just a reminder: our first game is this Saturday at our home field at 1 PM. And yes – this means that you need to bring the boys no later than 12:30. Some of the kids did not have enough water at our last couple practices – please make sure that they have enough for the game. Also, please don’t forget the uniforms :-)

See you at the game :-)

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