Why Parent Rota?
Simply put - an extra pair of eyes, ears and hands for the coaches makes training sessions more effective and efficient, leading to better athlete experiences and outcomes.
Parent Rota plays a vital role in helping run our sessions. Without it, we would not be able to accommodate such a large number of members and provide opportunity for so many young people to participate in our sport. By taking part in Parent Rota you are making a contribution to the Club that is hugely appreciated, and absolutely necessary.
What does it involve?
The main thing is that you do not need any experience of athletics, track and field or coaching. Nor will you be required to coach anything!
Each coach has a different approach to their session and the engagement of parent helpers. Some may ask you to carry out seemingly mundane yet essential tasks such as raking, time-keeping, handing out batons and measuring, while others may ask you to watch athletes and share observations to help athlete development.
The common denominator is we need you there, we want you there, we value highly your engagement - how much you get involved is your choice. If you feel a “spare part” tell the coach and the head coach.
You may be asked to assist the coach in observing - if you enjoy it you may find yourself thinking about becoming a coach, which would be fantastic for the club. Parent helpers have also used knowledge gained during sessions to massively improve their own training approaches and technical execution - so you may learn something!
There are also occasions when your extra eyes and ears are essential - for example, something unforeseen happens; something is said by an athlete to another out of earshot of the coach but with a consequence; an accident occurs; an allegation is made.
In each of these cases, parent helpers have an important role to play as an independent adult witness, and is an invaluable assistant.
COMPLETE AVAILABILITY FORM
To allow us to plan sessions and cover each week, we ask you to complete the Parent Rota availability form and return this to us as specified - usually a couple of weeks before the end of the term. You will be asked to nominate at least 5 sessions when you will be available for Parent Rota. You should nominate at least one date in each month of the term. We strongly suggest you make a record in your diary of these dates.
We do all we can to accommodate the dates you give us and ask for your understanding when it is not possible. The more flexibility you can show in offering available dates the easier it is for everyone.
WE ISSUE THE ROTA
Once we have collated all the information, we then issue the rota before the start of term which confirms which dates you have been allocated.
WE CONTACT YOU THE WEEK BEFORE
You will be informed by email in the week ahead of the session that you are due to complete your rota’d session. This email informs you which group you have been assigned to. It will not be the same group your child is in as we do not want to compromise any of the roles and responsibilities of the coach or you as a parent helper. It also tells you when to arrive and what to do on arrival - for example, we are sometimes outside with some groups during the winter and spring and try to give you a heads up.
ATTEND AND GET STUCK IN!
You should arrive at least 10 minutes before the scheduled session start. On arrival you will need to sign in as this not only records for us the fact you are there - and therefore do not get penalised - but also allows us to make changes to ensure we have the correct ratios of athlete: parent helper: coach for each training group. You'll find your coaching group and be given an overview of the session and the sort of assistance required.
You will be given a red gilet to wear identifying you as a Parent Helper. Please return the gilet at the end of the afternoon.
What if I need to make a change?
Once the rota has been in issued, if you are not going to be available for a date, it is essential you let us know. Your attendance is a condition of membership so please let us know in good time so we can try and make a change.
It is also not fair on others - imagine how you would feel if your child’s session is compromised because a parent helper has decided they feel like doing something else?
If you know in advance, you can make a change through the SWAP SHEET which is displayed each week - ask the coaches and they will point it out to you. The process really does work.
You can also make a swap with a parent you know - just please let us know so we can record it.
Please do not send an email on Saturday morning saying you can't make that day but are available the following week. This does not work for 2 reasons - a) we will not read it as we will be coaching and b) the process does not allow you to “simply make it up the following week.
Also, please do not ask an older sibling, relative, friend or nanny to take your place unless they are over 18, have completed their Self Declaration of Criminal Convictions form and have been agreed with the Head Coach.
We appreciate making Saturday sessions can be a challenge for some families due to shift patterns and other circumstances. To ensure fairness we will allow you, subject to our needs, to assist at competitions such as Sportshall and Wessex League matches, as an alternative. However, this must be agreed in advance of the term.
Lastly, it's a condition of membership
Please remember that it is a condition of membership that all families assist with Parent Rota term. Two no-shows during the training year (September to August) without reasonable cause will result in membership being terminated with immediate effect, with no refund of term or annual membership fees. Reasonable cause does not include your child not attending the session for any reason other than serious illness or hospitalisation! So even if your child does not make it we expect you to!