Improving Buy-In From Your Team

Beginning last season, I have given a presentation to the players and parents to help prepare them for the upcoming season. In this presentation, I go especially in-depth on the style of play I want to implement, and discuss my coaching methodology.

I have found this to be INCREDIBLY beneficial, especially as I transition to a new club.

The main benefit I noticed this season is that it gave me instant credibility with the parents. As a no-namer joining the youth organization of an MLS franchise, there was a certain weight of expectation with my hiring, and I felt it when I introduced myself to the parents at tryouts and training sessions. Having something like this simple Google Presentation demonstrated to them that I was putting in work behind the scenes.

Another benefit for me personally was that it allowed me to reflect on my coaching. One thing I've consistently improved at over the years is simplifying and distilling my ideas on how I want my teams to play. In this instance, I had to get my ideas across to a room full of people ranging from the 10 and 11 year old players to parents, grandparents, etc. This made me focus on both the content of my presentation, and the tools I used to communicate with. For those of you who saw my last slideshow, this time around I cut back heavily on the distracting text. I tried to use more images and video, but cleaning up the visuals of the presentation is something I need to continue working on. As for the content, it hasn't changed too much. I spoke about how I want the teams to play, and how I want to get them there (my methodology). The ability to competently communicate your coaching style in an entertaining why is a hugely valuable skill.

Lastly, this allows me to get out in front of a lot of problems, and prevent them from arising. For example, explaining to the parents why we want to build from the back, and warning them that mistakes are inevitable, should help prevent dissent when said mistakes are made. Letting families know that players won't be shuffled to various positions all around the field will prevent conversations where the parent of the left back asks if their child can play striker next weekend. And extending an open line of communication by giving out my email and phone number will hopefully reassure them that I am a reasonable human being, and that they can come to me with any questions or concerns they have before they become major problems.

I heavily recommend any coaches reading this to start preparing a slideshow to give to your families before the start of your next season. Even if you've already been working with your current team, even if you think the families are already bought in to your style of play and coaching methodology, do it anyways. Maybe there is a family who will learn something new, or maybe it will help prepare you for a job and a team next season that you don't know you will have yet. At the very least, it will make you reflect on your beliefs, ideas, and influences as a coach, and for that reason alone, it is worth it.

Below is a video of the presentation I gave to my teams this season.