10 Ways to Eliminate Issues and Build Relationships with Sports Parents

  1. Gather Feedback

Send out a Google Form asking parents questions about the reasons they want their child to play sports and anything else you should know that will help you coach their child better.

  1. Learn Their Names

It’s a pretty obvious first step, but one we often forget. If you want a relationship with someone, it's important to know their name! But don't stop there; learn more about them as a person (not just about them as a sports parent).

  1. Offer Athlete-Parent-Coach Conferences

Parents want to know you are invested in their child. Offering athlete-parent-coach conferences is a powerful way to further build a relationship with the parent, learn more about the child, and share what’s going well and any concerns you may have for their child.

  1. Host a Parent Meeting Early in Season

Avoid bogging down this traditional meeting with logistics. Instead, share the following:

  • Coaching Philosophy: Why you coach and why you coach the way you do.
  • Culture System: Your plan to create connections and hold high standards.
  • Playing Time: How playing time decisions are made and communicated.
  • Parent-Coach Communication: Let them know the conversations you want to have with parents.
  1. Host a Parent Experience Event

Go beyond the parent meeting by doing team bonding with the parents. My clients' favorites is just running a parent practice where they practice with, play against, or are coached by their children.

  1. Send a Weekly Parent Email

Similar to the parent meeting, this shouldn't just be logistics; it should include:

  • Reflections on the previous week
  • What you are working on in the upcoming week
  • Celebrate a few individuals for cultural behaviors
  • Thank any parents who helped out
  1. Check in with Parents

I’ve written about this previously. Once or twice a day, call, text, email, or just speak to a different parent in the program, letting them know how their child is doing, why you enjoy working with their child, and thanking them for the opportunity to coach their child. 

  1. Involve Parents in a Team Experience or Activity

If you want them to support the team, let them feel a part of it! Here are a few ideas:

  • Run a parent appreciation week
  • Host a team dinner with parents
  • Invite parents into a team film session
  • Invite parents to join the team for a post-game celebration or talk after a hard loss
  1. Meet with Administrators to Discuss Parents

Too often, we wait until we have a parent issue to learn about how our administration will support us. It’s important for every coach to meet with them beforehand to discuss a plan for addressing any concerns or complaints from parents.

  1. Enforce Boundaries

You can’t be for everyone. You need to know what you are willing to be fired for. You have to be more afraid of sacrificing your principles & losing respect than losing your job. At some points you will need to set boundaries and possibly for families to move on and find a different club.

If you found this article valuable, you can download my Sports Parents Checklist for Coaches here

Also, check out my book The Sports Parent Solution. It’s full of practical ways to work with parents, to eliminate the common parenting issues that can derail a season and a team culture. The Sports Parent Solution is available on Amazon, Audible, and Apple Books.

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