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. 

“By the age of 13, as many as 7 out of 10 kids will quit playing an organized sport, because it is simply not fun anymore.”

- The Aspen Institute Project Play