Following is one of the 10 case studies in The Power of Double Goal Coaching, the latest book by PCA Founder and Executive Director Jim Thompson.
Making Parents an Asset
The last time you coached, parents were a negative influence that kept your team from achieving its potential. It's a new season with new players and parents. As a Double-Goal Coach, what can you do to avoid a repeat of last season?
Some coaches only want to coach kids, not deal with unruly or unreasonable parents. But kids bring parents with them. Here's how to make parents an asset to your team.
- When your team has been formed, call players to tell them you are excited they are on your team. Then ask to speak to their mom or dad. Tell the parent that you look forward to working with them to help their child have a terrific experience this season, and that you will soon send a letter or e-mail explaining your Double-Goal coaching philosophy.
- Use a parent meeting to review the principles of Double-Goal Coaching (ELM Tree of Mastery, Filling Emotional Tanks, and Honoring the Game). Ask them to promote these ideas with the team. Tell them you know your team will get bad calls, but ask them to commit to Honoring the Game no matter what.
- Explain that the Emotional Tank and the ELM Tree of Mastery are research-based concepts that are keys to their child's performance. Ask them to fill E-Tanks and reinforce the ELM Tree with their child throughout the season.
- Hand out the PCA Parent Pledge. After you have reviewed the document, ask them if they have any questions. Then ask them to sign it.
- Recruit "Culture Keepers" for the team who will work to keep other parents positive on the sidelines during games.
- When in doubt, communicate. Coaches run into problems when they assume parents understand why they coach the way they do. Don't assume. If you have rules about playing time or missing practice, for example, tell them. Ask them to contact you with concerns rather than share them with their child. Give them your contact information and let them know when to talk with you (e.g., not right before practice). Over-communicating will save you time over the course of the season, and it will enhance your players' experience.
- Fill parents' E-Tanks with truthful and specific praise when they do something positive. Thank them for helping you build a positive team culture. Try to tell them something positive about their child every time you see them (again being truthful and specific). If you do, they will think you are a genius as a coach!