9 Tips to Make Sports Parents Your Ally

The following is an excerpt from the new book: Control Your Off the Field Concerns: Proven Remedies for Coaches and Athletic Directors to Solve Your Toughest Challenges.

With COVID adding to the stress of families, you can be sure when athletics resume sports parents are going to be more on edge than ever.

Your coaches often indicate parents interfere with, rather than facilitate, their coaching. This is an unfortunate situation as parents have a powerful impact on players. Considering this, it is important for coaches to do what they can to make parents their allies.

Why are sports parents not your allies? Though there are examples to the contrary, most parents are not malicious or ill intentioned. Most want the best for their kids as players and people. Unfortunately, many parents don’t know what is best for their children athletically. They are simply uneducated about how the roles they play can have a positive or negative influence on their child’s athletic experience.

Here are sports psychologist Dr. Jim Taylor’s 9 tips to make parents your ally.

  1. Establish mandatory parent-coach meetings to discuss your program’s philosophy and goals. These must be consistent between the parent and coach for the athlete to benefit.

  2. Identify specifically how parents’ behavior can help or hurt their child. For example, hugging and encouraging players whether they win or lose vs. showing negative emotions during competitions.

  3. Identify specifically how parents’ behavior can aid or undermine your coaches. For instance, making sure players are properly equipped and on time for practice vs. coaching their child away from your practices.

  4. Create regular opportunities for parents to give input about their child. For example, establish office hours when parents can stop by or call. You can learn a great deal from each other to the athlete’s benefit. (This can also help coaches better the motivate the athlete.)

  5. Provide regular written progress reports to parents about how their child is developing physically, technically, competitively, and psychologically. They have a right to know. (Note: This is especially important at the high school level.)

  6. Establish clear guidelines of appropriate and inappropriate behavior for parents.

  7. When conflicts arise, act like an adult and treat the parents like adults. Your sports communication will be more amicable and productive.

  8. Choose the appropriate setting for a discussion with parents, for example, in your office. Never speak to parents about important issues in front of players, coaches, or other parents.

  9. Enlist parents you trust within your program for advice and guidance about problem parent issues that arise.

Get much more on working with parents and dealing with pressing off field issues for AD’s with the new book: Control Your Off the Field Concerns: Proven Remedies for Coaches and Athletic Directors to Solve Your Toughest Challenges

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