Parent strategies
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Author:  ldpaul [ 06 Apr 2010, 01:31 ]
Post subject:  Parent strategies

Just wondering:

How many of you call for parent meetings: A) prior to tryouts? B) When players are cut; C) when the team is formed; D) updates on schedule and season along with any issues with players etc. I called for at least 3 and had (2-3) parents show, so email seemed the way to go.

My reason for asking is simple but the issue surrounding it is complex. This past season I had an issue with a parent regarding - which players were going to be on the team and how that affected their son.

My coaching philosopy for this age group 13-14 (grade 9-10) is simple: if there is a kid that wants to play, I'll teach him. We dont have 20+ kids to tryouts. I am lucky to get 12-16 and be able to keep all of them. Some quit for jobs, are committed to other sports and miss a large portion of the season, and normally I end up with 7-12 players for games and practices. That said I have played tournaments with 5-7 players often. Yet we compete, if you see my other posts, we went to the Island Championships placing 5th overall (first time in almost 19 yrs).

Anyway, to my own fault I went against my better judgement and only because I am a volunteer coach that works full time asked for a parent to help out. The first couple practices, she did in fact help. However, she began to note the team had a distinct difference in abilities. I knew it and based my practices to challenge all of them. Well at the end of a practice she sat down and started to politely ask me about the weaker players , if I was going to keep them, indicating that she and her son (very talented player) were concerned about them and how they were going to get her son the ball when they have difficulty making passes.

I kept my calm and reiterated my philosophy that is well supported by my school, that I will develop all players, all players will get on the floor to gain experience and that I will not show any preference to anyone no matter the talent level. I explained that this is not a club team, nor does it have single sport players. I have Provincial level vollyball (that lasted into October) Provincial soccer players (January) and her son is one of those who missed many practices and games for volleyball.

She hoped I didnt take offence and she was just offering her opinion and hoped that she didnt cross the line, I ended with saying that she did cross the line and that I did not wish to have her help me any further.

The next practice, I did pull her son over and had a quick conversation with him stating " dont let differences between me and your parents interfer with me and you" and for the most part it didn't. He is a great kid, talented althelete.

Anyway, long story really long, as I am staying with the Jr team, and her older son is moving up to Sr ball next year, I thought there wouldn't be any further issues. Until, I get a call from the Principal of my school to let me know their younger son transferred to our school and will play next year.

So my question is this, I know I should approach them first to iron out any issues, but how do I do that. I dont plan on changing my philosophy or how I teach the kids. But how can I smooth this situation out without affecting their younger sons outlook towards me and the team?

My other parents were very happy with their kids development, the season on whole and wished I was coaching the Sr Boys team next year with them. I know we as coaches are going to have a difficult parent but feel it necessary to try and sort this out before next season. Sorry for the length....

Author:  JeffHaefner [ 06 Apr 2010, 06:32 ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent strategies

Personally, I think a mandatory parent meeting should be done before the season starts. This is where all your philosphies are explained and the stage is set! You document all the key points in a letter and make sure all parents have this letter.

Take a look at this article. It outlines pretty much everything I would suggest:

Good luck!

Author:  Coach Sar [ 06 Apr 2010, 07:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent strategies

I agree with Jeff.

We had a pre season meeting after the team was picked... we did this after what we called the Blue White game where all teams played. I explained my philosophies and the school rules. I made everything perfectly clear.

I take it this is a high school program? IF that is the case the Head coach should make all those decisions... I did and it took all the pressure off my assistants.

Author:  ldpaul [ 06 Apr 2010, 11:45 ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent strategies

Yes it is a Jr High program, and yes I did call for a meeting several times and only 2-3 parents would show. Therefore to get messages out I would send them home wsith the players and email them to the parents myself. The problem arose from not having an assistant and that is why I ended with a parent volunteer who took that opportunity to overstep her boundry.

Author:  Coach Sar [ 06 Apr 2010, 12:25 ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent strategies

Parents can be more of a problem than the help they want to give you. Enlist them to take the book for you and take stats? Keep them busy and out of your hair.

When I coached younger kids I didn't have an assistant either.... that made me 100% more organized....practice plans were down to the minute, kept the kids busy and learning. When it came to scrimmaging... I broke the teams down and told one team to sub themselves... IF You don't get in its your problem.... that worked for me too.

Author:  nhayden [ 06 Apr 2010, 16:31 ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent strategies

I agree with Jeff. Have a parent meeting as soon as your team is picked and establish your team guidelines then. I would also suggest sending home a letter to any player trying out. Within the letter give a brief description of yourself and your guidelines.
You want to build a relationship with parents but not a working relationship. Parents are involved for one reason only, to see their child play. I don't blame them, but most will not have the interests of the team.
Get parents involved but do so through concesssion stand, clock keeper, fundraisers, and etc...NOT COACHING.
Best of luck.

Author:  ldpaul [ 07 Apr 2010, 00:33 ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent strategies

Well bad news, even though I was confirmed as next years Jr Boys coach, this parent that I had issues with has gone far above just a personal issue.

I found out today that as she has a younger son that would have been playing for me next year, she has been contacting current and past parent groups seeing if she can get any backing to have me replaced. When that didn't work, she has got her best friend a teacher at our school to take over the team and this parent will assist next year. I was told by the principal today that school board policy states that if a teacher with the school wants to coach, they get preference. He apologized, provided me with a very nice letter of recommendation.

My issue now is this and most agree, I wanted to build a program. In two years, we were able to have two winning seasons and go to the Island Championships the first time in eons. One difficult parent has disrupted that for personal reasons and now when her son becomes a Sr, she will follow, leaving the Jr program looking for another coach? It doesn't make sense.

I was asked if I wanted to take another program at the school (girls), but given the fact that I can be "let go" at the whim of a teacher/parent, not sure I want to. anyway, things happen for a reason, and I am looking for a team!!

Author:  Coach Sar [ 07 Apr 2010, 07:10 ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent strategies

I'm sorry to hear about your situation, its not fair but as we all know, life isn't fair. In our area coaches are hired from year to year and they can replace you at the whim of the administration. YES, teachers in the school get priority over out side coaches.... its in our contracts.

It's a shame since you had done such a good job building the program but it happens all the time. I don't know if this is an option for you, but get a teaching certificate and then your situation could be better - but remember, they could still replace you if they feel the need. Administrators rather placate parents than do the right thing at times.

I was the Head boys coach at a high school for 16 years and in my last year they took the job away..... knowing full well we had a good team coming back and a chance to win the conference (which they did)
The reasoning? I was to hard on the boys.... guess what I did my last year? Coached Sophomore girls... now you figure that out. (the guy that screwed me out of the job was fired the day before the season started - so, what goes around comes around)

I had a friend of mine win two conference hampionships and Regional championships his first two years as head coach...... 1 possesion shy of Sectional championships.. they fired him too. You figure that one out.

Hang in there and find a school that appreciates you.

Author:  rgast [ 07 Apr 2010, 21:57 ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent strategies

I guess the original question was about parents meetings. I coach elementary boys and have never had a parents meeting, but I use e-mail extensively to keep parents informed and it seems to work well for our school. Meetings can get out of hand if there is any disention.

My only problem with parents was this year when a parent of a 4th grader wanted to coach his son. That was fine, I needed help. I wanted all of us to work together and use the same "Motion Offense"we use with the 6th grade, but he said he couldn't practice at the times I practiced, then scheduled practices at the same time at a diffierent court. The rub was that he went behind my back to the AD who said OK him having a separate team without talking to me. I had worked with this parent because my grandson is the same age as his child. Well, let's just say he is inexperienced.
We have two sections in our league, 6th grade and 5th grade. My plan for a continuing program went out the window. We finished 8 & 2, losing one game in the regular season and one in the tournament.

Author:  Coach Sar [ 08 Apr 2010, 06:31 ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent strategies

The most important thing that I found was to make sure that everyone was on the same page. IF your coaching staff isn't loyal you are in for a tough time.

We had several coaches meetings prior to the season.... 1- for administrative type items, district & school rules etc. 2- Offensive 3- Defensive. As for 2 & 3, there was a lot of give and take but I made the final decisions. Anyone that wasn't with the program was let go the following year. This was the high school level, your situation is a little different. When you take on an assistant, make sure that they are on the same page, otherwise, you are better off doing it all yourself.

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