Most companies have a formal way of integrating new employees with an orientation period that last a few days to a week. The new hire gets various handouts including basic company information and benefits information. The same applies when a new member joins the team.
Have you ever considered doing something similar to your freshman or transfer players to help make their transition to the team smoother?
Here are 3 ideas:
1) Welcome letter. After they sign their commitment letter or make the cut on your squad, send a letter welcoming them aboard. Let the new player know how much you look forward to being able to work with him or her in the coming years. Give them all the contact information they need for staff if they have questions. Tell the particular important data about the school (registration times, etc) they should know Also, include team traditions and a brief history of the program.
2) An introductory walk. The tour can be given by yourself, older classmates or assistant coaches. It's a great time to take the new players on a brief tour of the campus early after they arrive at school. The kids will already start to feel a bond with the team because of this simple exercise.
3) Regular follow up the first month. For the first couple of weeks, be more accessible to your players than later in the season. Nothing can be more discomforting to a freshman away from home for the first time and not get to see the coach(es) that recruited them for several weeks. Consider 15-minute "freshman" only meetings during the early part of pre-season.
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