Casey Stoney has won over 100 England caps and captained Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics. A qualified coach, she offers her tips for women who want to coach boys MORE
Six ways to get more support on match days
Players respond really well to cheering fans on the touchline. Follow our handy tips to increasing support for your team on match day
01 KEEP FANS IN TOUCH
Maintain regular communication with parents before matches so they know who you’re playing, what your chances are, whether it’s a league or a cup game – and even drop a few hints about the tactics you might adopt in particular games. This way they will feel part of your team set up and appreciate the time and effort you’re putting in. Make parents and families feel it’s their team, not yours.
02 WELCOME SUPPORTERS
When family members come to matches, make sure you take a moment to greet them and if you have time, have a quick chat with them. They often stand in groups so you don’t have to go round everyone individually, though if you see a new face, it is worth singling them out to thank them for coming along and tell them that you hope that this will become a regular thing for them.
03 MAKE HELPERS FANS
Make it clear to parents you’d appreciate any help they can give on match day, whether it’s setting up beforehand, clearing up after games, helping at half-time or getting involved with the running of the club. If they have a regular role, they will communicate this to other family members and friends, who might feel more inclined to do their bit by coming along to support the team.
04 STRESS THE IMPORTANCE
Remind parents how important the support of family members and friends is to the kids. Ask parents and players to try to get brothers and sisters, grannies and granddads to come along to cheer for the team. If cousins or family friends are staying on match day, this isn’t a reason to miss the match – this is an opportunity to bring new people along to cheer for the team.
05 ROTATE THE SQUAD
One of the benefits of giving everyone in the squad a little extra game time is to have a broaden fan base. Sure, there are sound coaching reasons to rotate your squad, but if there’s a chance to give some of the ‘weaker’ players a start in friendlies, or against weaker opposition, do so. Make sure the parents of the players know you’re doing this in advance, so they’re there to see it.
06 MAKE IT SOCIAL
Go the extra mile to get parents and family to come to any club social events, so they can really feel part of the club. In addition to getting them to come to your awards, how about arranging a barbeque just for your team. Invite parents to come early to pick the kids up, or even to help you on the day itself, so you can interact socially with them and they can mix more with other parents.
Words: Alistair Phillips
Picture: Tom Childers