As the new season approaches and we look forward to getting back into coaching, here are a some top tips for getting your parents onside at the start of the new season.
- Treat your parents as allies
We need to start seeing parents as a valuable tool in achieving the best outcomes for young people.
They are not the enemy and in most cases they have the biggest influence on their children. They can help share valuable insight about their children with us as well as help support our messages around the sporting experience.
This seems so obvious but many coaches often want to keep parents at a distance.
Welcome them into your group, get to know them on a personal level and find out something about them and their children. Don’t just know them as ‘Sam’s mum’.
Some parents may be able to enhance your environment utilising skills that they may have as part of their day jobs.
- Get yourself organised
You want to be spending your time coaching and not getting bogged down with administrative tasks.
Spond is a great app to help coaches with their logistical planning and is designed with the best interests of coaches and parents in mind, keeping your admin to a minimum.
- Run a Parents Meeting or social event
Be positive from the start in your communication and body language, engage and articulate your philosophies, give parents a voice, have fun together, stress the need to work in partnership, making the event welcoming.
Don’t forget to talk rather than tell!
- Create a simple document outlining some key information
This should be specific to your club and environment. Get across key messages which may include club culture, your philosophy, important dates, first aid and safeguarding information and ensure you have a very clear playing time and selection policy, this is often an area of most concern for parents.
- Have a clear communication strategy in place
Explain your desire to be really proactive in your communication, that you will give parents as much information as possible and that you recognise and value their contribution in managing logistics. Let them know you will do all that you can to give them advanced warning of any changes.
Explain what methods of communication you will use, when you are available for conversations and have a discussion around what to do if they disagree or are upset about something.
- Do you have any jobs that can help support you in your role?
Do not be afraid of asking parents for some help. Many are really passionate and enthusiastic about their children’s sporting experience and many may have skills in their day jobs that could help support you and your club.
- Don’t worry If some parents don’t engage
All you can do is the very best in your role as a coach.
Parents may have other things going on in their lives and may well be amazing parents away from the sporting experience.
Do not judge them and try to support those children whose parents are not around as much with a few more conversations and keep communicating with the parents even if responses or gratitude are thin on the ground.
Both Spond and WWPIS want you to get the most enjoyment from your coaching experience.
Hopefully, by getting some of these things in place before the new season starts, the time invested now means that you can focus your time and energy throughout the season on the most important thing – COACHING!