Youngsport: Benchmark column on parental support and the wet weather
Mark Lawrence: As every coach reading this will know, there is a long list of things that need to be done to get a football match organised.
So, on match days it is vital that you have the support of the other team involved – the parents.
I know of coaches who have to do everything themselves – put the nets up, clear the pitch, do the paperwork (before and after the game), run the line and then take the nets down at the end.
Combine that with trying to ensure 16 boys get a fair crack at playing and you have a recipe for a nervous breakdown.
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I am incredibly lucky in that I have two other coaches, Phil and Toby, to help run the football side of things for my team Leckhampton Cheetahs, while the parents are always willing to help out.
We have now got matchday down to a fine art – there is a refreshments rota for half-time Jaffa cakes and oranges, some parents will put the nets up (or at least try too, see Ben's note below!), others will put the cones down alongside the pitch to mark where the spectators have to stand, some will even scour the pitch for dog mess and other unwanted items (I struggle to get volunteers for that one to be honest!)
And they stay and watch the match and cheer the boys on before taking the nets down at the end of the match.
We even have one parent, Paul, who runs the line for us on a regular basis – a job that is above and beyond the call of duty as things can quite heated when the flag is raised!
Without this help, I don't think I would be still coaching, as even with this huge amount of help it is still a very time-consuming role.
If you are a coach reading this, don't be afraid to ask parents for help. If you are a parent reading this – next time you're at a match ask the coach what you do to help, I guarantee he will come up with a long lost of things for you to choose from!
Ben Lawrence: We only have to turn up and play, so we're really grateful for all the parents and coaches do – even checking the pitch for dog mess!
The hardest bit is putting the nets up as the goals at Naunton Park are massive – we could do with some taller parents as only Toby our coach can reach the bar, and he's supposed to be warming us up before the match. I remember one of our players, Harry, having to climb on his dad's shoulders to reach!
Mark: The appalling weather forced the local council to call off all football matches on its pitches last weekend.
With conditions also too wet to train, everyone at the Cheetahs got a rare Sunday off.
It would be fair to say that most of us are not fans of playing our games on Sunday afternoons, as instead of sitting down to a roast dinner and a glass of wine, you are standing in a windswept park watching football.
But I promise I will never complain about Sunday afternoon football again – as the alternative proved to be a trip to the supermarket. Food shopping ranks alongside a trip to the dentist in my book – they are both necessary but that doesn't mean I have to pretend to enjoy them!
After being dragged round Sainsbury's like a sulky teenager, both my wife and I are hoping there aren't any more postponement this season. For both our sakes!
Ben: I really missed playing on Sunday. I went for a bike ride in the morning and shopping in Gloucester in the afternoon, but it wasn't the same. I am used to playing games or training every Sunday, so it has become my regular routine. I was also very excited about this game as I thought we had a good chance of winning it.
One of the other Cheetahs players, Jay, rang me to see if I wanted to go into town – I bet all the players were sitting at home wishing they were playing.