PCA Resource zone

Preseason Coach Onboarding Checklist

Every coach is representing your program, your values, and your mission in their critical role as a youth leader and mentor. A thorough onboarding will go a long way to set your coach and players up for a successful season.

Interview: Are They a Good Fit?

This is conducted one-on-one. If your organization does not have the staffing capacity to interview each coach, consider requesting support from veteran coaches. They know your organization well and can become mentors for new coaches through the process. Here are some suggested interview tips:

  • Review your organization’s mission, history, and vision for the future. Start with where you’ve been and where you’re going.
  • Get to know the history, mission, and vision of your coach. Why are they interested in this role? What relevant experience do they have? Make sure the organization and the coach are aligned.
  • Discuss the coach role: What will the coach be doing? Does this match their expectations and availability?
  • Conduct a background check.
  • Request and speak with 2-3 references to get a more holistic view of the individual.

Orientation: Get everyone on Board

This is often accomplished in a group setting during preseason coach meetings.

  • Go over the schedule: Practice time, game time, picture day, mid-season coach meeting, etc.
  • Locations: Where is the practice/equipment/restroom etc.? If possible, provide a tour
  • Site protocol: Cover safety, communication, expectations, and behavior management methods
  • Introduction to relevant staff members: Introduce coaches to their direct supervisor, co-coaches, facilities managers, and other members of the organization
  • Policies and procedures handbook: Review your code of conduct, coach non-disclosure agreement, and coach contract or agreement letter

Training: Help Your Coaches Be Successful from Day One

Provide guidance and content through trainings that can occur during pre-season coach meetings and as an individual learning opportunity. Consider Positive Coaching Alliance’s interactive and engaging workshops that can help coaches create a safe, empathetic environment where players feel seen, heard, cared for, and valued. Are your coaches prepared to provide these environments for each player?

  • Provide Training: Safety, sports skills coaching, and social/emotional development are critical training topics.
  • Provide Curriculum: A week-by-week guide that puts training principles into action. *Don’t have a curriculum? Refer to Positive Coaching Alliance’s resource page to find coaching tips and best practices for a wide range of topics.
  • Parent Meetings: Provide a template for parent meetings. Empower your coaches to connect with parents from day-one, share their coaching philosophy, and the expectations for the season.
  • First Practice: Provide coaches with a template for their first practice with their players. This first gathering sets the tone and structure for the entire season!

These touchpoints will help to empower coaches to meet your mission’s and players’ needs – but it all starts with intentional program design and your continued support throughout the season.