Coach-Parent Relationship

Coach Parent Relationship Pre-Season Parent Coach Meeting Youth Football AthletesAs a Positive Coach, you want to help your players develop as athletes and as people. Likely your closest allies in that effort will be your players’ parents. Any well-meaning parents will want the best for their children, and they know a Positive Coach can provide a great deal on and off the field.

For example, Johnny may listen to you in a way that he will not listen to his parent for no other reason than the fact that you are not his parent! You are in a tremendously powerful position to shape Johnny’s future, to help move him in the positive directions his parents want, but cannot necessarily achieve on their own..

Of course, there also may be challenges inherent in the coach-parent relationship. After all, each of your players’ parents may be concerned with only their own child, while your concerns must extend to all players on the team…and to the team as a whole.

As in so many other aspects of Positive Coaching clear communication goes a long way toward accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative. First step is a pre-season parent meeting for all your players’ parents.

The Pre-Season Parent Meeting

It is important to enter the meeting prepared, composed, knowledgeable about your sport, sensitive to socio-economic circumstances and self-aware enough to realize how much you still will have to learn even in this first meeting. It helps to have an agenda, including such items as:

When Issues Arise

They will. Using the above advice, you have laid the groundwork for positive relationships focused on the well-being of any individual player and the team as a whole. Ideally, you also have continued to proactively communicate with parents, getting to know them and their children so you can get the most out of them as players and help them develop as people.

Depending on the age of your players, you may prefer that they approach you with their own concerns, rather than parents doing so. Players who take that initiative are in the process of learning life lessons about advocating for themselves with authority figures. Those lessons will be important in later life, and you should be proud and happy to have a role in that part of your players’ development.

Parents who have concerns may still contact you. Often, they just want to get things off their chest or need a sounding board to help process their own thoughts or experiences.

Try hard not be defensive or evasive. Welcome the chance to deepen your relationship with the players’ parents. You may learn some things about them, their children – and maybe even yourself – that help improve your coaching. Hear the parents out. Seek first to understand before being understood.

Then, if you remain convinced of the position you have taken on typical issues such as playing time or position, feel free to maintain your ground . Parents can be valuable sources of input, but at the end of the day, there is a reason you are the coach.

As a Positive Coach, you do what you think is right. Just as you would teach your players to do, and just as the players’ parents would teach them to do also.


In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for partners in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive program powered by Positive Coaching Alliance.

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