How coaches can communicate well with parents and players

By Frank Bartscheck | Posted 11/28/2016

One of the biggest frustrations that parents of youth athletes often face are coaches who don’t clearly and effectively communicate scheduling, and changes to the schedule.

As a sports parent, I’ve worked with a variety of coaches, some that communicated well and many that didn’t. Here’s what I wanted to know from each coach:

  • A season schedule at team tryouts or signups. This type of early communication helps families plan ahead.
  • Schedule changes as soon as they are made.
  • His/Her coaching philosophy and an understanding of how they run things.

Many coaches hold a pre-season meeting and I always appreciated when coaches covered these topics as well:

  • How and where to sign up for volunteering.
  • All costs—from uniforms to travel expenses.
  • A schedule of all games and practices.
  • Contact information for coaches and team parents or instructions on how to use an online organizational website.
  • A Hierarchy: who to contact regarding what (i.e. volunteering, team meals, etc.).
  • Team Picture Date.
  • Team or League Rules and Policies.

Sports parents have hectic schedules and do not want to be surprised after the season has already begun. They want to know all the details up front. They want to know what to expect from the coach, what is expected of them, and what is expected of their kids. Consistent, clear communication is the only thing that will keep things running smoothly on the team.

If the true purpose of youth sports is for kids to grow and develop, then it’s also important for coaches to communicate the why behind the what. Why your child isn’t getting as much playing time as she wants. Why your son can’t play the position he wants. Why the coach is running this offense or defense. When parents and athletes are equally informed, it will go a long way on cutting down the season’s conflicts.


Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called Her new book 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents is on Amazon.