Getting The Season Off On The Right Foot

Communication is a two-way street, and the best way to get the season off to a good start is by holding a parents' orientation meeting. This is a great opportunity to talk about your role as the coach, your philosophies and the responsibilities parents and players have to the overall success of the team.
The time and effort you put into developing a well-organized meeting will go a long way toward unifying coaches and parents in a cooperative effort that will benefit the players. Potential problems can be eliminated through good communication that begins before the first day of practice.
1. Coaches Responsibilities
Start out by introducing yourself and your coaching staff. Briefly describe your background, coaching experience and reasons for coaching. Talk about your goals and objectives for the season, and your coaching philosophy.
Explain your thoughts on teaching of fundamental skills, teamwork, sportsmanship and discipline. Talk about your philosophy of practices: how much time will you spend on individual skills, team concepts, small area games, etc.
Discuss your philosophy of how playing time will be divided up, shortening the bench, who's on the power play, and who's on the penalty kill.

2. Parents Responsibilities
Parents must assume some responsibilities associated with their child's participation on the hockey team and realize that what you put into the season is what you get out of it. This should be discussed at the opening meeting. Among other things, parents should:

  • Ask their child what their goals are for the year
  • Honestly ask themselves if their child is ready to compete and what level is best suited for them
  • Be responsible for disciplining their child and ensuring that he or she meets specific responsibilities for participating on the team
  • Wait 24 hours after a game to discuss any potential problems they may have with a coach's decision
  • Not to yell at officials, opposing players or coaches
  • Applaud the efforts of all players

3. Players Responsibilities
Players must assume certain responsibilities if they wish to play hockey, including good sportsmanship, teamwork and being on time for practices and games. It's a good idea to hold a similar meeting with your players to discuss things like:

  • Team Rules
  • Dress/attire for games
  • Conduct in the locker room, on the ice and away from the rink
  • Travel
  • Team Meals
  • Consequences for breaking team rules


4. Fundraising
Like it or not, fund raising is an important part of the sport. It helps keep costs down, and it's a great team building exercise for both players and parents. A lot depends on the philosophy of the local association. Parents may also be called upon to serve as a team manager or help with game operations, like operating the scoreboard clock, keeping statistics and working the penalty box.

5. Injury Procedures
Parents should be told what to expect in terms of possible injuries and what steps will be taken to try to avoid them. They should also understand your philosophy when it comes to injuries sustained during a practice or game, and your guidelines for allowing a player to return to action.

6. Season Schedule
The coach should provide parents with a complete schedule of practices and games for the season, if available. Also, it's important to discuss your policy when it comes to missing practices and games.

Finally, don't just have one meeting and that's it. Continue to facilitate communication throughout the season.




Who is your favorite 2023/2024 NHL Rookie?
Connor Bedard
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