In general, coaches would rather not have to deal with the parents. They would like to keep them as far away as possible to not spend time with issues that arise due to frustration with team placement after tryouts, lack of playing time and their child’s role on the team. In today’s society, coaches need to realize that it is inevitable that parents are going to get involved. It can be disappointing because the parents are enabling their children by not allowing them to grow through the challenges they face. Coaches need to realize that it is only a matter of time when it is going to happen. Even today, it is crazy to think that Coach K is getting calls from parents. So, you can imagine what is happening on the high school level.
In interview #13 of The Jim Huber Show, Jon Gordon discussed how a program can build a winning culture. He firmly believes that to have a successful culture you need to get your parents feeling a part of it. So you should consider them support staff and members of your team to get them to buy in and believe. They are a part of your culture whether you like it or not, because parents are going to influence their children at home in a good or bad way.
Get them to be part of the culture early on so that they feel a part of it. Jon is a big believer in having an initial meeting before the season begins. In this meeting you need to equip them with everything they need to know about the program. Here is a list of possible items to discuss.
- Standards of behavior
- Vision of Your Culture
- Challenges and Obstacles That Can Occur
- Consequences for Student-Athletes Making Decisions Against Your Culture
- No Negativity & Energy Vampires
Don’t just rely on the initial meeting to keep your parents bought into your culture throughout the season. It is very important to create a form of weekly communication. Let them know that there is an open channel to visit about anything regards to the program’s culture. You need to let them know that doesn’t include conversations about your child’s playing time or about other kid’s performance. The majority of Coaches don’t like to talk to parents about playing time. I encourage players and parents to not mention playing time in the conversation. It would be beneficial to talk about ways they can become a better player, how they can help the team succeed or assist in strengthening the culture. It would not be a bad idea to have more than one meeting throughout the year. This will allow you to keep everyone committed to protecting the culture.
Jon has seen leaders have tremendous success by getting the parents informed and getting them to think more positive. You will be amazed by how they will be a part of your culture and support it when you include them in the process. For this to happen make sure that you are transparent and up front from the beginning.