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With the new season quickly approaching and preparation in full swing, we asked the grassroots football community for their best pre-season advice, and this is what they had to say.

Keep reading for 11 pre-season tips to help you have a winning next season.

11 tips for the grassroots football community

Get everyone on the same page

Include ALL parents, players and coaches as early as possible after the present season ends to ensure everyone understands and agrees how we will integrate the club visions and values but also what the team goals are aspirations are and how we as a team will hopefully achieve them. This would include communication platforms, payments, training and ensuring a positive attitude throughout.

Steve from Blyth Spartans Juniors U16s

Communication is key

Use the time between seasons to communicate changes in admin or payments to the team and ensure they are all ready to kick off the season come September.

Alexia from Alexandra Park Women’s FC

Grassroots tactics advice

Moving from U8 to U9 is always tricky. More players, bigger pitch, longer games and ultimately, a more competitive age group. We’re advising our lads to focus on pressure off the ball, giving the opposition little time to make decisions and forcing them to slip up and give away possession. We’re trailing this tac already and the lads are already showing up, beating some teams comfortably that normally give us a tough game. Our top tip for next season surrounds off-the-ball play, high pressure, awareness of space and of course, winning as many games as we can.

Chris from Rugby Borough U8s Eagles

It’s all about the fun

Make sure it’s fun for the kids. Getting set up early enough, so the kids have got the time to gel with each other. Making sure that all abilities of the kids are cared for. Letting the kids know what I’m about. Showing them that it’s a sport for all abilities. Getting a few games under their belts.”

Steven from Newcastle Strikers U9s

Build relationships with your parents

Building relationships with your parents, during the summer months, getting them involved in the club, doing volunteering roles if possible, visiting their training sessions – as we have more time – this has proven valuable for us. As some parents have small businesses, and offer sponsorship for kits, raffle prizes, some offer to help out with our fundraising events, so building relationships with parents onboard for the new season – keeping them involved during the season, has worked for us.

Parents help out with other mums, offering lifts, running the lines, even organising team-building events for their children’s teams. Parents are a very valuable asset for any team, and the growth of the club as well for us anyway, we wouldn’t be able to do anything without them.

Heather from Globe Bullough Park FC

Speak to the parents, new and old! It’s wonderful to have such a good relationship with your members! We always host a meeting where everyone can come and ask questions, give ideas for fundraising, give feedback on how we run the club etc.

Rebecca from Brooklyn Junior Football Club

Make it a memorable moment

We have created player contracts for all the girls in our team. This lists our expectations and goals for the team for everything from effort to time management and communication.

We have a section for the kids, the parents and us as coaches, and we are all held to the same principles of listen, respect and most importantly have fun.

We made an event out of the contract signing, where the girls arrived, read the contract and signed along with photographs, and a signing bonus in chocolate.

Overall, it has had fantastic feedback and support from the parents, and we have noticed an incredible change in the attitude and communication between all parties.

Jack from Springhead AFC

Give clear expectations

Set out a clear code of conduct for players and parents of what is expected from them for the season, combine this with players and parents’ expectations from coaches.

We also do quarterly player surveys to collect regular information on where they are at, their thoughts and feelings towards training drills and give them free reign to let us know what areas they want more help developing so we can tailor our sessions to suit the needs of our players.

Chloe from Blackburn Eagles FC

Make renewals easy

Prepare for next season by starting early with communications to all your members. Make sure everyone has any links they need and are aware of timescales.

Follow everything up and use clear instructions to make sure joining and renewing via LoveAdmin is a smooth and easy process.

We will be doing this over the summer as we complete our first renewals since signing up to LoveAdmin, but so far it has been a huge success!

Melissa from Ponteland United FC

Be honest with your members

Being open and honest with your members is one of the best ways to prepare for the football season. We are currently doing this now as we are low on funds, (like most clubs) we have to pay our local sports centre over £35,000 a year to rent the space from them as we don’t have our own facilities and they have informed us they will be increasing this by 5% next season, so we have emailed our members to let them know why we are currently doing so much fundraising. If you start as you mean to go on with the honesty, then the new season gets off to the best positive start and the football family is a happy one.

Rebecca from Brooklyn Junior Football Club

Give every family a role within your club

Give every family a role within your club. For example, these are just some of the roles within our current U12s team.

A Lead Coach and Assistant Coach that plans all the training sessions and picks the team. A Fixtures Secretary and Referee Secretary to organise all our matches with coaches and referees. A Treasurer and a Statistician – to collect all the player and match data. A Presentation Organiser and a Trophy Organiser, Net and Pitch Teams to put the nets up and down at home games and put up the respect barriers. Tournament Organisers and Tracksuit and Strip Organisers to help plan matches.

My advice would be to make everyone, and every family, feel a part of the club and they won’t leave. Make everyone have a vested interest and you will find that all families will get involved and feel like a big family wanting the best for their team. Only then can you be successful. It’s very difficult trying to do this with just 1,2 or 3 people trying to do everything.

David from Shotton Colts FC U12s 

If, like Ponteland United FC, you would like to make renewals easy then get a demo of our football club management software here.

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