Upper School Sports Team Parent Resources
Team parents provide a vital communication link between coaches, players, parents and the Menlo community.
Volunteering as a sports team parent? The resources and references below are available to make your job easier to support the team, the coach, and the fans. Please also refer to the Athletics Parent-Student Handbook for a complete information about taking part in the athletic program at Menlo School.
THE ROLE OF A TEAM PARENT
- Streamline communication among coaches, players, and parents
- Organize other parent volunteers, including team dinners, End of Season Banquet, travel tournaments, game support, etc.
- Plan and track team expenses
- Help coordinate optional apparel
- Other duties as requested by the team coach(es)
You are the ‘General Manager’ of the parent volunteers, but all parents should share in the volunteer work, such as hosting team dinners, coordinating potlucks, collecting for coaches gifts, etc. The team parent will work closely with the coach(es) to coordinate all of these activities.
SEA OF BLUE
The team parent is an extension of the Sea of Blue, a parent group organized to increase the spirit of the Menlo School parent body and to provide parents with avenues of support for Menlo student athletes. Visit the Sea of Blue webpage for more information and forms related to parent apparel, the Jay Ward Fund, Letterman apparel, etc.
All Upper School teams have standardized on using TeamApp as the principal form of communication with the players, coaches, and parents. TeamApp is an application — accessible via mobile devices and the web — which allows management of the team schedule, news, roster, communication, and even has a live scoring feature so parents not able to make the game can follow the action. The team parent should work with the MSPA Sports Team Liaison to get administrator rights and be trained on using the application. The team parent will then populate the application with content and help parents understand how to use its features. All emails sent to the team should be created and distributed through TeamApp. Team parents should add Joe McDonald and Buffie Ward Williams to their distribution list on TeamApp.
Additionally, some teams will create additional materials, such as a roster card (player, uniform number, position) as well as organizing materials to manage parent volunteer duties (using spreadsheets, Google docs, Signup.com, etc.).
Note that the game schedules will be posted by the Menlo Athletic Department on the team’s public webpage.
Fielding Parents Concerns - If parents approach you with concerns, please be supportive of the coach/team, but when appropriate, let the coach know of general parental concerns. Remember that you need to set the tone for the parents, and please cut off negative chatter, loud questioning of either coaches’ or referees’ calls, or gossip about players or coaches.
Stress the proper sequence of communicating issues among players, parents, and coaches.
- Player to Coach
- Parent to Coach
- Player and/or Parent to Athletic Director
Game Scores - Coaches are responsible for posting their team’s scores. However, if you notice that scores are not being posted on the website, please contact the Athletic Department as they strive to keep the website as updated as possible.
Team Website - The Menlo Athletics webpage hosts helpful news and information for players and parents. Select “Upper School Teams” or “Middle School Teams” on the left navigation menu to land on a list of sports teams. Each team’s webpage shows headlines for the season, information about the coaches, the team’s history, and each team’s schedule, game location, player dismissal time, bus schedule and W/L record for the season. These are public pages that anyone can visit to learn more about the team and upcoming games. If there is ever a discrepancy between the website and what the coach tells you, please contact the Assistant Athletic Director, Buffie Ward Williams.
A key role of the team parent is to work with the coach to forecast “out of pocket” expenses for the families and to communicate an expectation of these expenses to the parents. Expenses not covered by tuition include optional apparel, the end-of-season banquet, travel tournament fees, dinners for the players, Senior day celebration, snacks for bus trips, etc. These should all be budgeted with the coach in advance of the season. With an estimate of these miscellaneous expenses, each family can share these costs and pay their portion to the Campus Store at the beginning of the season (see sample budget). Individuals who pay for specific expenditures up-front can then be reimbursed by submitting their receipts to the Team Parent or a designated team treasurer. At the end of the season, any unspent balance can be used towards purchase of end-of-season banquet expenses. Families who need financial assistance may apply for assistance from the Jay Ward Athletic Endowment Fund (see below for more information).
Form A, also known as “Authorization for Non-Tuition Expense Collection” is a spending approval form used to by the school to identify expenses incurred outside of tuition-covered expenses. All departments of the school use either Form A (Athletics) or Form B (Arts, Clubs, etc.) to budget and approve the cost of the student activities not included in the tuition. In the case of Athletics, the coach and team parent work together to put together a budget for an activity, then they submit the Form A with a projected per student cost and the approval process then moves through a chain of authorization ending with the Campus Store setting up an account for the activity. The Campus Store then becomes the “banker” for the team activity. The team parent helps communicate costs and due dates, and the Campus Store collects payments from the players’ families.
TEAM GATHERINGS, KICK-OFF AND END OF SEASON CELEBRATION/BANQUET
The Athletic Department recommends that there be a kick-off event at the beginning of the season and a team celebration/banquet at the end of the season that includes parents, players and coaches.
- Team parents should organize the location and food. In the interest of containing costs for the athletes’ families, the Athletic Department highly recommends that these gatherings be potluck and encourages them to be on campus (on the Quad, in Stent Hall, in the Athletic Center Classrooms or in the Dining Hall).
- The Athletic Department also asks to limit team dinners during the season (typically players and coaches, without parents) to three maximum. It is also suggested that in the spirit of inclusion, dinners be potluck or sign-up so that all parents can pitch in and the costs are shared.
- Awards/End of Season Team Celebration/Banquets must be held on the designated date (determined by the Athletic Department and posted on the athletics online calendar), which is the same day for all the sports teams competing in a season. If a team wants to change the date, it must be approved by the Athletic Department.
- The Athletic Department would like to promote unity within entire athletic programs and therefore requires that Varsity, Frosh-Soph and Freshman Kick-off and End of Season celebrations be held together. The post-season dinner may include individual team awards presented to each player by the coaches. (Awards are coordinated and provided by the coach, paid for by the Athletic Department).
- Coaches Gifts - Gifts for the coaches are up to the discretion of individual teams. The Athletic Department requires that the expense for each family does not exceed $20 per player and the total gift for each coach does not exceed $250 in value. No cash may be given to coaches, but gift cards are encouraged.
- An excellent resource for learning more about the logistics of planning events at Menlo is the Event Resources webpage which lists how to book a conference room, schedule set-up for a banquet, create a volunteer sign-up, schedule a photographer, etc.
The End of Season Celebration/Banquet requires budget approval by the Athletic Director (AD), and it is suggested that the total cost per attendee not exceed $25.00 per person. Typically the coach and team parent outline the details together, and the team parent takes the lead planning the banquet and creating a budget. If the originally approved budget does not include the banquet, then the team parent should complete Form A and follow the same procedure as above.
TOURNAMENT TRAVEL PROCEDURES
- Coach and AD develop permission slip, travel budget, and estimated costs per player, and coach submits Form A. Parents may be asked to assist with researching travel tickets and costs.
- Coach is responsible for ensuring that all players have paid and turned in permission slips before the event travel.
- Tickets/hotels will be booked by the school using the Athletic Department credit card or the school will issue a check once Athletic Director approves the budget.
- Athletic Department plans team transportation. Team parents DO NOT request transportation for any team events.
- After the coach, AD, and Business Office have signed Form A, the approved expense collection is sent to the Campus Store to create an account.
- Team parents send out information regarding per player cost and due date for payment and permission forms to all parents.
OPTIONAL APPAREL AND MERCHANDISE
Individual teams may want to order optional team apparel in addition to the standard team uniforms, for example, team t-shirts, hats, or sweatshirts. The Athletic Department discourages using the word “Varsity” or “Frosh/Soph” on any team apparel. The coordination of optional apparel is done for both the Varsity and F/S teams by the team parents working with the Campus Store.
JAY WARD FUND
A portion of optional apparel and Sea of Blue proceeds benefit the Jay Ward Fund, which helps service nearly all the need-based requests from Menlo student athletes who need assistance paying for tournament travel, summer training camp, team apparel, or equipment related expenses. Student athletes apply confidentially for assistance directly to the Upper School Athletic director.
In order to contain costs for athletes’ families, the Athletic Department has eliminated parent supplied game snacks before and after the games, unless travel time exceeds one hour each way. Parents do not need to provide sports drinks. The coach will notify Jon Cohen, Menlo’s trainer, regarding the team’s water requirements and have athletes pick up the team’s supply before the game. The team parent should remind the players and parents at the beginning of the season that each player is expected to provide his/her own snacks.
Team parents may recruit parents to provide snacks during tournaments and when game travel is longer than one hour. The team parents may collect funds to pay for the snacks so that all families share the costs (or this can be included in the overall team budget to be split by all families through the season fee).
SENIOR DAY CELEBRATION
- Recognition of seniors at the last regular season home competition has become a tradition for most sports teams. Team parents help coordinate this recognition. The Athletic Department strongly recommends that these celebrations be simple in nature, that expenses are kept at a minimum, and that the focus be directed at thanking our senior players for putting their hearts and souls into their teams. Work with the team coach to plan out the specifics.
- An example of the event: before the Varsity game starts, the seniors (on Menlo’s team and on the opposing team) are acknowledged and announced by the coach or PA announcer. After the game, a table is set up for snacks so parents and players can celebrate. Most teams have their own tradition of honoring the seniors with some memento (photo, mug, t-shirt) and/or a simple bouquet of flowers.
- If the parent of a senior merits recognition, it should happen at the End of Season banquet, not on senior day.
- While the Athletic Department does not coordinate these events, please keep them in the loop by emailing the AD and Assistant AD. If you have logistical questions e.g. you need a PA system and/or tables please contact the Facilities Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are happy to help out.
POSITIVE COACHING ALLIANCE (PCA)
Menlo School and the Stanford University-based Positive Coaching Alliance are engaged in a partnership to help foster healthier participation in sports by athletes, parents, coaches, and teachers at Menlo School. The PCA provides research-based training workshops and practical tools for coaches, parents and leaders who operate youth sports programs and illustrate to them what it means to “Honor the Game” and be a “Double Goal Coach.” We are working toward fully integrating these ideals not only into the athletic program, but throughout the school.
The Athletic Department expects the team parents to play an active role in supporting the PCA program with their sports teams. We see team parents as “culture keepers” at Menlo who promote the PCA values and encourage Menlo parents to behave accordingly.
Coaches are required within their contract to take the PCA Coaches Workshop. Workshops are offered at Menlo School, and on-line training is available by going to the PCA website.