In all sports, there is tried and tested methodology when it comes tactics, conditioning and maximising performance, however youth coaches often struggle the most when it comes to dealing with parents. This may seem difficult to believe, due to the fact that the two parties should, in theory, have the same goals. However, even the best-behaved parents are not always in alignment with coaches, which ultimately makes their job harder. While it perhaps easy to simply try to ignore negative behaviour, the fact that parents are not going anywhere means that this is not an option. As a result, coaches must try to take proactive measures in order to build relationships and prevent any potential conflicts before they arise. Let’s take a look at some of the measures available to coaches.
Understand Their Feelings
In the event of a parent raising an issue surrounding their child, view it as a concern of theirs, rather than any form of criticism. It is then important to consider things from their point of view, potentially showing empathy when necessary. As well as this, remain calm and collected at all times, understanding that parents also have the best interest of their child at mind. You will be surprised as to just how quickly things resolve themselves when both parties understand each other. The best coaches are able to find some form of common ground too, before suggesting a way in which the situation can be improved. Carrying out such actions will help to ensure that parents are no longer a burden.
Set Realistic Goals
Coaches and parents can work together in order to set goals for their children in terms of their sporting development, whatever level they are performing at. Parents can often be overwhelmed by the possibility of their child becoming a professional athlete, however it is important for coaches to set them more realistic and manageable goals. Such goals should have the full support of parents, allowing them to provide support and encouragement along the way. Meanwhile, any goals set should aim to aid both their personal and social development, thus maximising their enjoyment of sport.
For many parents, stepping into the world of sport alongside their child will be a completely new world, meaning that it can be difficult to judge how to behave at times. As a result, coaches must work hard to ensure that parents are educated on what to do and what not to do when supporting their children, which can be achieved through providing examples of both helpful and harmful actions. For example, ensure that parents deliver positive reinforcement when necessary, as well as ensuring that their child turns up on time for training.
Undoubtedly, getting parents involved where possible is an excellent method of keeping them on side. Whether it be asking for their advice on a team issue or requesting help during training sessions or match days, parents are likely to jump at the chance to help out. Parents who are actively involved will have a sense of investment, as well as that they are aiding the development of their children as athletes. Involving parents will also demonstrate first hand what a tough job you have, meaning that they should cut you some slack when times get tough.
Keep Up the Communication
Parents know their children better than you do, so take advantage of them when it comes to understanding what makes your players tick. Meanwhile, parents can also learn about their children from coaches, with many youngsters acting differently on the pitch or court as they would do at home. This is normally in a positive light, with shy kids showing leadership qualities or self-confidence with a ball at their feet or captaining their team, however parents will also wish to know about any negative actions too.
For youngsters, sport should really only be about one word, fun! However, ensuring that organised physical activity is enjoyable is easier said than done, with everyone having different personalities and needs in this area. So, just how can coaches ensure that they consistently put on engaging sessions?