Jeff Farris
Youth coaches sometimes joke that the ideal youth team is a team of orphans.  Though this approach is one solution to problem parents, there are other more practical solutions that can work equally well.  One of the best is regular communication with parents. In the absence of coaching guidance, parents will form and communicate their own opinions of the status of the team and the steps necessary for improvement.  Some parents may be objective and knowledgeable about the sport, but if they don't speak up, then the overall team opinion may be shaped by others.  For coaches, these parent-to-parent and parent-to-player communications can become distracting to their efforts to make team improvements. Coaches should consider short and regular meetings with all parents to help shape these opinions and give parents better insight into what to watch for in games and practices.  In these meetings coaches might cover:
  • Recent team performance giving parents insight into the progress the team is or is not making in various areas.
  • Approaches taken in practices that are attempting to shape game performance.
  • Reemphasis of team goals and objectives.
  • Realistic guidance concerning upcoming game and practice performance.
  • Positive comments concerning every player.  Mentioning only a few players may raise more parent concerns.
Parents help judge the success of coaches, teams and seasons.  In the absence of information, the judgments they give will vary greatly based on their own experiences.  With information, parents gain better appreciation for the challenges coaches face.
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