At times, the most challenging aspect of coaching and training is dealing with the parents of athletes. Unless you have children of your own (especially those that play sports), it would be difficult to understand why they ask numerous questions or why they constantly try and tell you how to do your job. These parents love their children and they want the best for them, even if they go about showing it in an interesting manner.
Here are the steps to creating a positive parent-coach relationship, if you want to limit the issues you have with these parents.
Step One: Communicate
Parents always want to know what's going on with their child athlete. Inform the parents of the drills and purposes behind what their child is working on. Encourage the parents to ask questions about any concerns that they may have about training.
Step Two: Collaborate
Parents love to feel like they are a part of the training process, even when it is indirect; they want to feel like they are doing all that they can to ensure their child's success. Offer them opportunities to assist by recommending tasks that they can have their child do at home. Refer to their expertise when dealing with challenges that arise from their child.
Step Three: Praise
Never speak in a negative manner about the parents of an athlete. In fact, make a habit to do just the opposite. Commend the parents for investing the extra time and energy (and money) that is necessary for their child's success. Refrain from labeling actions recommended by parents as wrong, silly, or anything derogatory. Simply reemphasize techniques and methods that are proven effective and continue to move forward with your training.
Step Four: Set Rules
It's obvious that parents have a right to be involved in their child's athletic careers, but be sure to set boundaries in the beginning. Let parents know what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Give them clear guidelines about practice and competitions and what type of behavior is encouraged.
Instead of dreading the inevitable contact with parents, learn how to get the most out of each interaction.
Your priority as a coach or trainer should be to take actions that are in the best interest of the athlete.
Once a parent realizes this truth, they will be more inclined to become a supporter and an advocate. The positive relationship that you create with your child's parent will ultimately allow you to do your job better.
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