For a player to thrive, building a healthy Player-Coach-Parent Relationship triangle is important. Unfortunately, parents and coaches can often have different ideas about the best approaches to coaching their player. Research conducted by the Montana University surveying parents about the most desirable characteristics in a coach can provide us with some insight about what they want. Here are 5 ways we think you can apply this research to help you deal with even your most difficult customers:
- Communicate expectations clearly from the start
At the top of the pyramid of parent expectations was that a coach give the children an honest assessment of their ability. Holding a team meeting at the start of the season to give players and parents an idea of what to realistically expect is a great way to get everyone on the same page and clear up any misunderstandings.
- Respect officials and the other team every game
Being committed to developing good sportsmanship in their children was another aspect that parent’s valued highly. As a coach, it’s important to lead from the front in this regard. Showing respect to the officials by thanking them after the game and getting your team to shake hands and thank the other team for playing are a few steps that go a long way to teaching sportsmanship. Doing so even after bad calls were made can be an especially important for keeping parent’s emotions in check.
- Verbally reinforce lessons
One important factor in parent satisfaction was that the coach could demonstrate an ability to teach effectively. The study found that one highly successful method was to get the player to explain back to the coach what he/she was taught. Such a strategy allows for the player to verbally reinforce key concepts, which leads to a better understanding of the game.
- Clear communication pt. 2
Again, the key to fair treatment of a player lies in clear communication. The study identified key issues as: playing time, coach’s expectations and discussing player strengths and weaknesses. If a player isn’t playing often don’t be afraid to explain why to both the parent and the player. Providing a child with realistic goals to earn more playing time can also be a great motivator.
- Be Organized and committed
Nothing impresses a player and a parent more then a coach showing their dedication to the sport. Turning up earlier to practice and staying late to help other players develop skills sets a solid example. Coming into practice prepared with the day’s drills is beneficial for everyone.
That’s all I have today coaches- 5 simple ways to deal with difficult parents. Do you have any tips that you’d like to share with the community? Head over to our Facebook or Twitter to join the discussion!
- Until next time, see you on the courts!
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