When you lead your team overseas you are not merely providing them a fun experience (though it will be), nor is it just an opportunity for learning (but, it is that too!), you are giving them an experience that will change their lives forever. They will return home better players, the team will have bonded; they will be more confident and ready to take on the world.
The following five steps will guide you through the process of planning an overseas program:
Skilled Regional Coordinators are not just sports enthusiasts, they are expert trip planners. Talk to your coordinator about your interests, goals and concerns, and he or she will help you identify the factors that will make your trip a success–trip types, number of cities, length of tour, time of year–and even suggest options you may not have considered. To meet your International Program Consultant call 800-888-ACIS or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What type of trip would you like to offer?
Answering these two questions is the place to start.
Coaches take teams throughout the world with a focus on Europe, and South America. If you have sports connections in a specific country, we can tailor-make a tour to visit those places.
At GoPlay, there are two different trip types available. First, we offer training programs, which are our most sport intensive options. These trips are limited to one or two cities. Players will train most days, play exhibition games, and still experience the parts of the country they travelled all the way to see. This could be used as a pre-season tour. Then we have the more cultural sports experience. Teams can visit three cities, play a game in each city - and have two or three guest coaching sessions. The players will have a balance of culture and sports. All our programs will include up-close looks at the professional game whether it be attending a professional game, taking a stadium tour, or both. We feel this is an important component of any program.
GoPlay tours can be customized a little or a lot, so think of the itineraries as a starting point to building your vision, and do not settle for anything less than the best. Work with your Coordinator and trust their expertise to pick or design the perfect tour for you.
We recommend that you take the lead in selecting the trip rather than taking a show of hands among your participants. Choose a trip you are excited about–your enthusiasm will be contagious!
An informal after-practice meeting for interested players marks the beginning of the formal registration period. Describe the program, and explain the benefits to the players as individuals and for your team as a whole. You can also publicize the trip by putting it in your team's newsletter – and on your website.
After first gauging interest amongst your players, hold a more formal player-parent meeting after practice. At the meeting, talk about the value of travel, your specific trip, safety and the cost. You will want to distribute your team's trip flyer and provide the URL for your customized TripSite where players and parents can learn more and register. Remember, parents are a busy bunch. If attendance is low for your first meeting, host a second and then a third. Low attendance might not mean low interest, but rather busy schedules!
We've found the best way to maintain enthusiasm is to host a series of meetings throughout the year. You can use these meetings to recruit additional participants, review travel documents, plan fundraisers, learn about your destinations and increase group camaraderie. The more you know before you go, the more you'll see when you're there.
Your GoPlay Tour Manager will greet you at the airport and take care of everything from there.