Create seasonal milestones for your team: Start of the season, Mid-season review, End-of-season celebration

Successful teams use milestones and team meetings to set and focus on their seasonal goals, track their progress and celebrate their successes  at the end of the season.  

Start of the season  

Goals are the cornerstones of a seasonal training plan. Setting team goals can engage athletes and contribute to a feeling of mutual work and  mutual gain within the team.  

The team and the individual athletes must willingly commit themselves to work towards achieving these goals. The best time to create and  commit to seasonal goals is at a team meeting at the beginning of the season (or before the season properly starts). In this meeting, the goals  are presented, discussed, and finally, the team collectively agrees to do their best to achieve them. Often it is helpful to have a sort of ritual to  underline the officiality of the commitment. One example is to make a poster or other document with the agreed goals where everyone puts their  signature. Team leadership must propose SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) goals. Setting unattainable or  irrelevant goals will do little to motivate and develop your athletes for the upcoming season.  

Mid-season review 

Reviewing your team's progress throughout the season can ensure that you stay on track and identify any issues that may stop you from  achieving your goals.  

This retrospective is the moment when the team learns through , identifies possibilities for further development and reflects on how its feedback worked internally. There are various methodologies for reviewing performance. Additionally, it is important to give space to every team member to  express their feelings about what worked well and what should be improved in the future. It is not uncommon for there to be more issues than  time and resources to solve them. To combat this conflict, the team should compile all the problems, highlight a maximum of 3 and then discuss  how to improve them in the next season. These can also become part of the team's commitment for the next season. 

Gender-specific or equity-related aspects can be part of these retrospectives as well. Especially during the first introduction to those topics, it is  advisable to have dedicated workshops to address them and increase empathy for each other. 

While the Start of Season meeting often focuses on ambition, excitement and high energy, Mid-Season Reviews should focus on precisely the  opposite and have moments of quietness, openness, and reflection. Moderators of these meetings should be aware of these differences and  understand that, especially in mixed teams, it might be challenging for some players to feel comfortable sharing their feelings. 

End-of-season celebration 

It's the end of the season, and you and your team have been working hard all season to achieve your goals. Some of your goals will have been  achieved, and some may not. This end-of-season session should be used to celebrate all the effort you have invested during the season. It can  be seen as an opportunity to blow off steam and celebrate each other's accomplishments. Some clubs include awards in this event to honour special efforts and contributions or highlights (and lowlights) of the season. There are no limits to this event, and it is best to involve as many  people as possible in organising such events. Recaps should not be merged with the end-of-season celebrations, which focus on creating an  atmosphere of pleasure, lightheadedness and socialising 

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