One of the most difficult areas of coaching a youth soccer team is having successful relationships with the parent group.
These tips should allow for optimal success by setting expectations, hearing and addressing concerns, and allowing for positive relationships throughout the entire season.
Once your team is selected, prior to the first practice, have 2 meetings. Have a meeting with your players whereby you can discuss your expectations, allow players to ask anything of you, and also it provides a great opportunity for the players to meet and interact with each other.
The second meeting should be with only the parents group. The players could go outside with the assistant coach and play a game, or if held at a house they could all watch a movie are some ideas.
The parent meeting is very similar to the player meeting, and is the most important first step in having a successful coach/parent relationship. This shows your organized, well prepared, and have clear goals in mind.
Set clear expectations.
Simple as that. Lay out what YOU expect of THEM. Some suggestion areas to discuss at the meeting would be:
– Explain your coaching style. Everyone has their own style of coaching, so if you explain how you like to coach for success, parents have the understanding of how you coach.
– Explain your goals and objectives. By understanding what success looks like to you, parents will better understand what you are looking for, and what areas of success you are focussing on.
– I ask that you do not coach your child from the sideline. Cheer and encourage as much as possible, but please allow me to provide the coaching. I may have a plan in place for the team, and having sometimes 30+ extra coaches on the sideline can create confusion for the players.
– If you have concerns about your child or the team, please talk to me before, or after the next practice. I ask this so we can think through and have time to digest any concern. It allows for me to review the game, and you to review and think through your concern so we can discuss properly.
– Playtime, you must clarify your plan for playtime. If it is equal, inform and stick to it. If not, be upfront and honest and answer any and all concerns to address parental concerns.
– Allow them to ask you anything, and answer as thoroughly and clearly as possible. This allows for them to get to know who you are and how you will address specific areas of concern.
Using these tips should give you a great first step in having a positive relationship with your soccer team parent group.
By setting expectations early, of how you want the team to perform, and how you want the parents to handle certain situations, should greatly reduce the amount of “angry parents” during a season. Typically, in my experience, when a parent gets angry it is usually over an area whereby an expectation has not been set by the coach.
Hopefully you have found these tips useful, and good luck coaching your teams!