The importance of communication can't be overlooked in youth sports. Coaches and parents must work together to create a positive experience for everyone involved.
In order for this to happen, there need to be clear lines of communication between coaches and parents at all times. This is especially important when it comes to volunteer requirements, game & practice schedules, event cancellations, and playing time expectations.
Youth sports parents and coaches don't always see eye to eye. Coaches are often making decisions on the fly, while parents want their kid to get more playing time or to play a specific position.
When you're a a parent speaking with a coach: Be direct about what is bothering you and why; focus more on solving the problem rather than assigning blame; avoid getting emotional. Remember the coach is a volunteer and trying to do their best.
When you're a coach speaking with a parent: Be specific about what bothers you and why. Be respectful and be mindful of coming across as being condescending.
Embracing technology in the form of a sports team management solution can significantly improve the organizational structure of your team and enhance the overall sports experience for everyone involved.
Let’s dive in!
1. Communicate Key Information to Parents Early and Often
A negative parent-coach relationship can have an extremely harmful impact on parents, players, and coaches and affect the program as a whole.
Parents expect to be constantly updated with details about their children’s field performance as well as their overall development. When coaches and administrators make a serious effort to involve moms and dads in a responsible way, parents provide emotional support that can make a big difference in a child’s ability to be committed to and perform in a program.
Communicate Coaching & Program Philosophy From the Get-Go
Every sports program has a core set of values and vision for creating an experience that helps young athletes to grow and prosper. New athletes as well as their families need time to get acquainted with the program's traditions, history, and culture which is why it’s important for them to be introduced in a way that sets out and clarifies these values from the start.
Parents want assurances about their child's involvement in what is ultimately going to be one of the most crucial factors shaping their children into young adults. Parents also need clarity and appreciate open communication which will help them understand your organization’s coaching perspective better. They’ll also have peace of mind knowing that their children are getting involved with someone who truly cares about both sport and character development. This way, coaches and parents build rapport and trust.
Communicate Updates on Program Basics
When the action begins, there’s important information that needs to be shared with parents. These include details on where practices and games will be held; what equipment is required for training or participating in off-season programs; guidelines on issues that can trigger disciplinary action which could result in a child being bumped off the program. These details can change, so it’s crucial to keep parents informed via a centralized platform such as an easy-to-navigate website or a newsletter.
Address Parent Concerns
Parents should feel comfortable approaching coaches about any concern, big or small. Encouraging one-on-one meetings is an effective way of meeting their expectations and providing a platform for them to involve themselves in your program in a constructive way. Whether parents wish to discuss mental and physical well-being or about managing certain behaviors, by working together, both parties can help children realize their full potential on and off the field.
Set playing time expectations with parents prior to the season so there are no surprises!
2. Use Modern Communication Tools
Coach-parent communication can be complex at times and calls for the use of online tools to manage the complexity and to make things simple.
Coaches and administrators want solutions that let them quickly access various services without detracting from their core tasks. They need to be able to access and sort emails and phone numbers fast. Modern platforms should have the features needed to sort the contact information by sports, seasons, age groups, and team size. Jersey Watch’s built for sports communication hub ticks all the boxes and enables you to send messages and updates with just a few clicks.
Coaches can send targeted messages to specific lists quickly. Some parents may have children who participate in different teams under the same organization. Coaches also need a way to add parents in multiple lists. A well-structured information hub will streamline setting up such a communication platform.
3. Set Appropriate Boundaries with Parents
While communicating with parents and letting them know how their children are performing on the field is crucial, many coaches are aware of the need to maintain certain boundaries. It's normal for a parent to push against the boundaries in various ways.
For example, some may feel that their child deserves more playing time or attention. An effective communication platform, and code of conduct with solid protocols helps set the ground rules.
4. Reach Everyone in Your Youth Sports Community Through the Website
Website are a central location for storing critical information that a coach may want to share with teams, individual players, or parents. They can be used to announce important events, meetings, game cancellations, and registration announcements.
Regardless of whether an athlete is a beginner or has more field experience, there’s a lot of information they’ll need to digest when working with a coach. Some of the information that a coach may want to share with his or her team include schedules, program philosophy, and competition updates.
Using a website as a hub for communication can relieve a lot of stress before and during your season.
Coaches handling multiple sports classes may wish to communicate the program basics to every player from time to time. A centralized way to disseminate such information is needed depending on the context of the information.
5. Create a Seamless Communication System
Managing the athletic triangle requires volunteers to use modern tools that free time while creating stronger ties between all members of the team roster. With communication tools, the needs of the administrators, parents, staff, coaches, and sponsors can all easily be managed in one place.
When there is recurring and clear communication, all the members of the organization can collaborate easily. They can develop plans which maximize the gains made by children on the field and in other important developmental areas of their lives.
Streamline Sports Management for Your Next Season
The use of online platforms to enhance collaboration and communication between coaches, teams, and parents is important to manage a sports organization effectively. Jersey Watch offers a complete package that coaches can leverage to render a range of administration tasks easier and faster.