There is always a big discussion about the development age of players and the difficulty for smaller players in their age groups. Smaller players are often the ones left sitting on the subs bench, not because they weren’t skilful enough but because the other kid was much bigger and so the coach preferred him. MORE
Going up or going down?
When a team gets either promoted or relegated, it’s not the end of the story. Find out what you’ll need to do to prepare for the fresh challenges ahead next season
PREPARE FOR PROMOTION
1 Run trials
If your team wins promotion, you need to start preparing quickly for life in a more competitive league. The team will be in a good position to appeal to players from other local teams, so now is the time to put out flyers to publicise the promotion and see if there are any players who want to join.
2 Talk money
Now is a great time to tackle the parents of your players over any money needed for new kit and equipment. Parents are much more likely to invest money in a team that has just won promotion because they see the success as beneficial to their child. Write down a shopping list of things you need.
3 Assess away travel
You will need to take a look at the teams in the league you have been promoted to – the travel costs may be different and you don’t want to start the next season with players saying they cannot get to the away games. This may involve extra costs for the parents so check this out and get them all onside with the arrangements.
4 Seek advice
Contact a manager who was relegated from the division you have been promoted to and try to find out what problems they faced and why they struggled. It may need a “we’re probably going to struggle, too” kind of discussion to get them onside, but you should be able to build a picture of what you will be facing.
5 Manage expectations
The parents of your players need a realistic impression of what to expect, even though you may not know yourself! Talk down the first few matches as the team will need to find their feet in the new division. Expectations shouldn’t be sky high, as it isn’t fair on your players. Draft in another coach if you feel it may help.
PREPARE FOR RELEGATION
1 Recruit players
The main problems faced by relegated teams is parents withdrawing their children, or other teams coming in for them. Friends may joke about them being a poor team and so you may find you only have half the players you had last season. Get looking now as there will be hundreds of players out there waiting for a chance to join a new team.
2 Establish what went wrong
If you get relegated, talk to other coaches and read as much as you can about coaching teams and developing players. It may be that your team has been put at the wrong level or it could be that you haven’t coached the right things. Look back at your failures and successes this season and try to find a pattern.
3 Outline future plans
Inform parents of your ambitions for the next season and let them know of any coaching courses, new players or coaching advice that you are going to use to make the team competitive in the new division. Give them something to see you have acknowledged your weaknesses and are determined to do better next time. Be positive about the new season.
4 Be prepared
Find out about the league you are dropping into by asking other coaches and finding out which teams you will be playing. There may be teams from different areas you have to travel to so work out how much it will cost. Be ready to start the season with a well-prepared team.
5 Plan for extra training
Get players to return to training early so you have a couple of weeks to work with them and with any new players you have signed. Make sure your players are using pre-season to get their skills and fitness to a level that will impress in the new division. This could make the difference between a good or a bad season ahead.