Overbearing parents who, at their heart, want the best for their sons can be a difficult part of the coaching profession. As a coach, it’s important to keep in mind that both the parents and the coaches are on the same side, and have the same goal for their son, to have the best experience possible playing football. There are several things that coaches can do to develop a great relationship with parents so it can go from Dealing with Parents to Working With Parents.
How to Deal with Overbearing Football Parents
The first, and most crucial step, is to be proactive in meeting the parents. The goal of the coach is to meet all of the parents before the season starts and begin to form a relationship with them. By forming a relationship early in the season, before things are going wrong, the coach is building a level of trust with the parents so that if things are going poorly they aren’t meeting them for the first time in a negative setting.
Another huge step towards creating a positive relationship between parents and coaches is to clearly outline the behaviors of a great parent. Too many times we don’t give any sort of guidance to the parents and then get angry when they don’t act like we want them to. To get around this it’s important you, as the coach, outline what great parent support looks like in your program and what bad parent support looks like. This isn’t to say that parents will always follow these expectations, but if they know they exist they at least have a chance to support the program.
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While these are great proactive ideas, it’s important to remember that in any season there will be stressful and trying times. In these situations it’s important to create a model for how parents can voice their concerns. As a coach, one of my guiding principles is that we are teaching boys to become men. As a part of this process, if they are upset about playing time the athlete needs to be the one having the conversation, not the parent. This is something that should be covered in the initial meeting, but when it is framed as a development tool for teaching young men to advocate for themselves and have those hard conversations, parents are much more likely to get on board with the plan.
There is no silver bullet for dealing with parents. Just like players, and coaches, parents can become emotional and make poor judgements. As a Coach it’s important to form the relationship where both you and the parents know that you have the same goal in mind and will work together to help develop their child through football.