Coaching youth sports can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. Teaching children the fundamentals of the game, along with how to compete at an early age, is what drives many adults to volunteer their free time to coaching.
However, there are some aspects of coaching and managing that can be problematic if not handled correctly.
One of those is communicating with parents.
Be honest with how you run your team. Emphasize what is important in the development of their child, which includes explaining how teamwork will improve the team.
While most parents have their child’s best welfare at heart, that doesn’t make them the best judge of when to lay down a bunt, or steal second base. That’s why it’s important for coaches to share their coaching philosophy with the parents of their players, said softball coach Michael Carrington.
“Be honest with how you run your team,” said Mr. Carrington. “Emphasize what is important in the development of their child, which includes explaining how teamwork will improve the team.”
Mr. Carrington has discovered through many years of coaching, that getting parents to understand his philosophy needs to happen as soon as possible.
“The main reason I feel that it is important to have an understanding with parents is to keep potential problems to a minimum,” said Mr. Carrington. “I love walking into a practice with my team knowing that the players are ready to compete and improve.”
Mr. Carrington acknowledges that the few hours a day he might spend with his players is nothing compared to the time they spend with their parents. Adults who teach and coach their children at home can have the biggest influence on a player.
That’s why it’s important for the coaches and parents to be on the same page when it comes to what the coach’s philosophy and instructions are.
“I feel it’s something that needs to be discussed as many times as possible,” said Mr. Carrington. “As a coach, you have to always have something to work on with the players. Parents are very vocal, and as a coach you need to listen to their concerns. If it’s something that involves the development for the team, then I would need to change something to make sure the players are developing in a positive way.”
Mr. Carrington says for the most part, parents understand and respect what he is trying to get across to the players. But not every parent comes to the same conclusion. There are times when parents believe they know more than the coach, or do not like how the coach is teaching them.
“I listen to them and I respond to them,” said Mr. Carrington. “Most of the time, it’s usually a misunderstanding, but if it’s something extreme, we usually part ways just because some parents have other goals for their children,” he said. “I’ve learned and come to accept that I can’t make everyone happy. sometimes, you just have to go do with what’s best for the team.”
From GameChanger and Michael Kinney.