Establishing Team Expectations

One of the most common discussed topics among coaches with CCA is the topic of behavior discipline. Now is the time, at the beginning of the season that you set your expectations. It is much more difficult to back peddle and try to establish expectations and discipline once the season is underway. Setting your expectations does not have to come from you alone, though. Your team can play an instrumental role in the expectations and discipline.

Team Handbook

If you have not put a handbook together with your expectations, stop everything you are doing and put one together now. This Handbook should be signed before tryouts. If you have already had tryouts, make sure they still sign it. Make sure you have addressed the following topics:

  • Tryouts, practice and game expectations
  • Time commitment
  • Summer commitment, including camps
  • Conduct and discipline
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Absences – excused and unexcused
  • Tardies
  • Financial commitment
  • Parent expectations
  • Awards and lettering
  • Uniforms

You need to be clear and concise on your rules and the discipline.  Keep it simple, but be sure to leave no room for interpretation.

Athlete and Parent Meeting

Before tryouts, be sure to conduct a mandatory athlete and parent meeting. I will typically have two meeting choices to make sure everyone can attend. I even do one-on-one meetings with parents and athletes. These meetings are to go over the expectations for the season. It may seem time consuming, but it will save you more time later so they know what they are signing up for.

Team Expectations and Goal Setting Meeting

While you will have team expectations, as well as discipline, conduct and behavior addressed in your Handbook, you should have a team meeting to hear from them.

Once you have selected your team, have a meeting, preferably outside the school. This meeting is where you ask them what their expectations are of the team, each other, themselves, etc. This is the meeting where they set goals for the year.

These are the questions you ask:

What are your expectations for the team?

  • Behavior at school
  • Behavior outside school
  • Practice expectations
  • Game/Competition expectations
  • Attendance
  • Interaction with the team

What are the consequences for not meeting the expectations?

Have them list consequences for each item they bring up.

What are the goals for the team this year?

  • Stunting
  • Tumbling
  • Games
  • Competitions

When you go through this exercise, let them do most of the talking. Don’t hesitate to chime in some of your thoughts periodically.  However, you want them to do the talking. They will more likely be harder on the team than you and you are going to create more buy-in and commitment from the team. They are more likely to follow rules that they establish than following rules established by someone else. 

Have a member write on a white board and then create a poster with the major points that you can display in the practice room if possible.

Expectations Maintenance

This meeting is not a one time event.  It is important that you review what the team came up with each month and adapt as necessary.  You can even have the captains lead the discussion. Have the team rate themselves and discuss what they can improve.

I would love to hear from you!  What has worked for your team? What hasn’t?

Check out this video with more information!

Establishing Team Expectations Video



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