Don’t worry about winning over all your parents, just enough to create a culture that rejects the influence of the badly behaved.
Remember: Most, if not all parents want their kids to be healthy, safe, happy and successful. Even if their behavior indicates otherwise, that is their underlying motivation.
Communication Is Key:
Communication is the most effective tool you have when it comes to working with today’s parents. It is an important part of being a coach and is critical to avoiding and resolving conflicts.
- Be precise and intentional when speaking to your players or their parents. Vagueness leads to misunderstandings and conflicts.
- Be proactive with communications. Take 15 minutes on a Sunday to send an email to recap the past week and look ahead to the upcoming week.
- Provide “office hours” when parents and players can speak with you in private.
Act like an Educator:
You and your program are an extension of the school and the athletic department. Make sure your rules and policies don’t conflict with theirs.
- You should have a written rationale for determining playing time.
- Avoid the appearance of preferential treatment for team members.
- You are a coach, not one of the kids. Be the adult in this relationship.
- Be open to speaking to parents.
Protect Your Credibility:
- Be honest and reliable when you interact with parents.
- End Practices on time.
- Don’t go back on your word to your team members.
- Don’t ignore rule violations by star players.
- If you lose your credibility, parent complaints will become More credible.
Do What Works:
- At the start of the season, host a meeting for athletes and parents.
- Set a 24-hour rule to avoid meeting with parent’s right after a game.
- If a parent calls to set up a meeting, call them back.
- If your players respect you and believe in what you’re doing, they will be your strongest supporters. If they are unhappy, marginalized, disrespected or ignored, they will not.
- Focus on winning over your players, not just their parents.