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Coaches and Conflict

Coaches and Conflict: Top 5 for Outsmarting Parent Conflict

1. As you build your schedule for the year, create a simple communication plan beginning with the parent meeting.
  • Think about it this way: What do you want parents to know or do?

  • What support documents do you need to provide?

For your parent meeting, meet in smaller groups, so the dynamics will foster connection and interaction. More meetings now = fewer meetings later.
  • People will ask questions and give feedback in smaller groups when they won’t in larger gatherings. This also allows parents to see you as a person, not just the coach/boss.

  • Share something personal like a picture of your family, or a favorite coach that inspired you as a player.

2. Explain the evaluation process and how playing time is earned.
  • Things that get measured get managed.

  • Lay out ground rules for parent communication with the help of a mentor and input from your AD/Administrator.

3. Establish yourself as a credible communicator and leader. Get a coach, or mentor to give you honest feedback on your presentation skills.
  • The goal is always to communicate that coaches and parents are on the same team; we all want to be a part of a player’s growth as a strong leader.

  • Hammer the language; repetition is necessary. When people start making fun of the message, the idea is just starting to sink in.

  • Check your defensiveness, that’s always a credibility killer.

4. Invite parents to watch or participate consistently, possibly five to six times per year. Pull back the curtain so they can see behind the scenes.
  • Ideas include watching video, attending special practices, participating in radio shows, taking pictures for social media….

  • There is no end to what you can do here. Parents love to have the inside track.

5. When parents want to schedule a meeting because they are upset, do the following:
  • Slow down the timeline for the meeting. Schedule out at least three days so everyone has a chance to calm down and you have time to get a plan for the meeting.

  • Have an appointment immediately following the meeting so you don’t get hijacked into a long and draining meeting. Be sure to communicate this early. “Sure, I can meet with you at 2pm on Thursday of next week. I have practice at 3, so that should give us plenty of time.” An hour is a generous amount of time for any parent meeting and spares everyone unproductive repetition.

  • Talk to your AD and ask what is needed from you during the meeting. Ask for what you need as well. Work together on a plan.

Bonus: Be proactive and use social media to your advantage. This provides a consistent and controlled source of information that highlights your program. Practically speaking, you are the face of the program, so people learn about you too.
Amanda Box | | 601-896-4622 |

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