Coaches are pretty good about keeping up with the changes in their sport. They study games, research training methods, watch other coaches work.
They aren’t always so diligent, however, about keeping up with the off-the-field requirements of their jobs. Everyone is well-aware of the value of coach-player communication, but the players are not the only ones with which coaches need to stay connected.
Some coaches don’t feel the need to include parents in their communication efforts. But making sure parents are part of the group can avoid problems and help solve them.
One simple reason is that if the parents are not in your group, they could form their own, leaving you with a divisive and destructive situation you will waste time solving.
“An important part of coaching today is accepting that parents are going to be part of the experience,” Travis Daugherty, a veteran basketball coach in Indiana, told USA Today in an article titled ‘Coaches: Youth Sports, Social Media, Parents Have Changed the Job.’ “The days of keeping your distance … is not the reality of the profession anymore. In some ways, if you don’t get engaged in the process of parent involvement, it creates more opportunities for parents with an agenda to take the lead instead of the coach.”
Most parents, the large majority, just want to help their child have a good experience. And while some may need reminders, they understand that if everyone has a good experience, their kid will have a great one.
Something that can ruin the experience quickly is when the parents have to speculate about team-related issues because they don’t have the correct information.
Just taking the time to send informative messages and answer questions can keep trouble from starting and parents from getting frustrated. And one-way communication is not good enough. Simply telling the parent group what you’re doing or how their child will be used accomplishes only half the job.
“I learned early not to be afraid to listen to parents,” Brian Woodard, an Indiana high school football coach told USA Today. “They might be right. I’m not an ego guy, so that helps I guess, and just because I hear a suggestion or idea from someone outside our coaches’ office doesn’t mean it’s not something worth considering.”