Have some coach’s relationships with parents hit rock bottom or vice versa? – If so do we need to rethink the current landscape?
When speaking to current coaches across a number of different sports in the UK about their relationships with parents, many responses are predominantly negative. Not all by any means but enough to suggest that we need to look at the current landscape.
Some of the responses we received include, ‘parents are a nightmare,’ ‘I try not to talk to my set of parents,’ ‘I avoid the ones that are bonkers,’ and ‘parents are totally irrational when it comes to their own children.’
Some coaches were really grateful for the work that we are doing, ‘Thank you-for trying to help and support us trying to solve what has become a bit of a minefield.’
Many coaches are of the opinion that the parents are responsible for a large number of problems in children’s sport.
The RFU have removed some of the competition from their junior age groups partly due to parental behaviour and the pressure placed on the result of matches, whilst the FA have tried campaigns like the ‘RESPECT’ campaign but many of the messages continue to go unheeded.
The reality is that this problem is not going to go away. Coaches and organisations need to engage with parents for the children to gain the most from their sporting experience. Here at WWPIS we are constantly looking to get our information to parents in the most empathetic, thought provoking way.
We are certainly not trying to preach from an ivory tower telling people what to do. We want to engage parents, make people think about their behaviour (both good and bad) and stimulate discussion; conversation and awareness in the hope that all parties can help make a difference.
How can we look to piece back together the athletic triangle which currently looks fractured to say the least? Below are some potential solutions.
1. BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN PARENT AND COACH
Clubs and organisations need to bring parents and coaches together. Create a consistent culture that runs through the club and create a culture that connects and values parental contribution.
If parents do not like a club culture they will probably leave but the more organisations who deliver good practise will make this less and less of an issue.
2. HAVE A STRATEGY FOR ENGAGING PARENTS
Clubs and organisations need to create events and workshops for parents to help support them. Show them that they are appreciated and direct them to sites such as www.parentsinsport.co.uk and give them appropriate social media links so they receive regular, consistent material delivering the same messages.
3. IMPROVE EDUCATION OF COACHES
Lots of coaches in grassroots sport are volunteers. They have no real experience of communicating and dealing with parents in this type of environment. Clubs and organisations need to make coaches aware of potential issues and arm them with strategies to use when speaking with parents and ways to solve potential problem areas.
If these things can be put in place and enough people can make a positive impact then we may just be able to rescue an area that is in danger of spiralling out of control.