How do you deal with athletes parents?
This week we are targeting those coaches working with children and young adults. For those of us that have coached children, I am sure we all have stories of when a parent has tried to tell you how to do your job, or tried to bark orders at the side line during a game…so how do you deal with this? Here are some questions to get you thinking:
* How do you engage positively with parents?
* Do you struggle with competitive parents?
* Do you have any tips you would offer to other coaches about communicating effectively with parents?
* Have you ever been challenged by a parent? How did that make you feel?
Torchbearer via Forum
“I have so many stories about this. Most of the time I have got on well with parents and often they have trusted my judgement and left me to it, however, I have had one or two who think they knew better than me after deciding their child (9 years old) was not being pushed hard enough. They made the child do an extra 3 sessions per week in secret to me – hill training and endurance running. So in total, they were doing 5 sessions of running as well as 5 swimming and gymnastics thrown in somewhere to.”
Caroline via Forum
“Learnt my lesson very early on in my coaching career. I coached a talented youngster who came to me at 14 a bit podgy and slow. He came out the following season breaking records after just basically getting him fit. Parent then woke up to a possible world beater and became his coach…. he still had him doing my sessions, but added double and triple the work on rest days. The result was that he developed a whole set of injuries due to overtraining, including at least 3 that required surgery.
He left the sport before he was 21… What did I learn? That parents will always have the ace card, and will do whatever they want – so now, although I will give my opinion, I won’t go into battle any more. I would prefer to spend my time and efforts on those youngsters who have parents that are happy to allow me to coach their kids, and trust my judgement as to levels and content of training. If the parents aren’t happy with that, I request that they find a different coach.”
CarmenP via Forum
“Oh heavens! As a parent and a coach to a small kid I dread becoming that meddling parent. Last weekend our 7-8-9 year olds had a ringette tournament, which is usually three games in a row x 20 minutes each. The head coach was there, as were two “care takers,” so I stayed on the sidelines – completely ridiculous to be on the ice: four adults for six kids!
Anyways, I was in a position to give directions from the side boards and I did. I was conscious of keeping my voice down because I knew the girls could hear me. Some words of encouragement and direction got them going and they played really well. The games and the teams were pretty evenly matched. As for dealing with parents, well, we have a few that try to over-advocate on their daughters’ behalf. The head coach of the whole team is only 17 and she has stood her ground, she has done well. The language barrier often keeps me out of the conversation and I am not charged with making any big decisions for the girls. ”.
Ksnmiyagi via Twitter
“On joining every student & parent is issued with a code of conduct. Respect is required. My way or the highway.”
Priya Sameul via Twitter
“Coaches spend time on their Coach CPD, equally vital to develop non sport related skills and attributes e.g. relationship mgt. Vital to ensure participants enjoy sessions & perform to optimum. My q is ‘do coaches invest time to meet with parents?”