Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Educate the Vocal Parent Who Doesn't Understand Your Sport

vocal parents
You know who I am talking about.  Luckily, they are not part of every team out there, but some teams have the pleasure.

Tough job: coaching a sport when a stakeholder that influences your program doesn't understand the sport. 

Who are your stakeholders?  Usually, they are executive/management, host school, players, parents, sponsors and media.

My focus here is on some parents.  And those parents don't always realize they're doing it.

Years ago, my oldest son had one of the best (ice) hockey coaches any of my sons ever had.  His name
is Scott and he was the coach during my son's Novice year.

Every practice, and usually the entire practice, revolved around skating and stick handling.  Needless to say,  I loved it and I loved his patience with which he delivered the program.  In case Kirk is reading this, my son's coach the year before, Kirk, was also very good :)  (To keep things fair, I mentioned Kirk's team in another post a few years ago.  One of my favourite. )

"You have two choices: ignore 
that parent or educate them."

Scott had his detractors.  There were some who thought he should be working on the "break out" or Penalty-Kill or Power-Play and openly discussed that with other parents.  I do not know the nuts and bolts of coaching hockey, but I do know a bit about coaching, and I know this guy had NO IDEA what he was talking about.  The problem is when somebody who doesn't know what they're talking about tells it to somebody else who doesn't know hat they're talking about.

If one of those parents was charismatic enough, they could have developed a following and their children are the audience during the car ride to and from the arena.  The difficulty starts when the players hear the talk.

"Educating your parents can help reinforce your coaching..."

Occasionally, their talk is intentional, but a lack of accurate information is usually what influences the topic of conversation.

You have two choices: ignore that parent or educate them.  Ignoring them is not the answer because they will just keep talking and the kids will just keep hearing them.  Getting rid of that parent/child is NOT the answer.  Ever.

Education.  Period.
  • Share you philosophy before the season starts.  If you have try-outs, share it so parents know before sending their child out to play.
  • Make sure your coaching is influenced by your philosophy.
  • If you have a parent meeting after tryouts, share your philosophy again.  And again.
  • If a parent doesn't agree with your philosophy and wants to "talk", remember they knew the situation before coming on board and should be reminded of that.
  • Be firm when you share your philosophy.  If you can't be firm, you have to ask yourself if it really is your philosophy.
Educating your parents can help reinforce your coaching when your players are away from your team.

Remember, educate and influence the conversation.  I have stated in many articles and will say it again "parents are not the enemy".  You're not appeasing parents, you're strengthening the environment for the players.

Educate.  Educate.  Educate.  

No comments: