8 things parents look for in a coach

By Janis Meredith | Posted 3/1/2017

Sports parents don’t look for perfect coaches, but most of them do have a list of things that they hope their child’s coach displays.

Here are eight things that parents look for in a coach:

Shows consistency. Parents want a coach who upholds the rules for all players. A coach should not bend the rules just because he needs a certain player in the game. What message does it send if an athlete thinks they are above the rules?

Communicates to parents. Parents like to know what to expect. They want schedules for games, practices, and team meals. They like a reminder when it’s their turn to work the snack bar. As parents, we’ve got a lot to remember and when coaches take the time to clearly communicate, it lessens the conflicts and confusion.

Communicates to players. Parents like to see coaches who, when they pull a player out of the game, takes the time to coach him. Kids need to know what they did wrong and what they did right so they can learn. Unfortunately, many coaches don’t take the time to do this. They pull a kid, then keep them guessing as to what they did wrong.

Challenges players. My kids’ favorite coaches were ones who pushed them to be better players. They didn’t want coaches who were babysitters. Bill McCartney, former Colorado coach, put it this way: All coaching is is taking a player where he can’t take himself.”

Shows fairness. Parents are frustrated when they see a player pulled out of a game for a mistake, while another stays in and makes the very same mistake over and over. Parents don’t necessarily want special treatment for their kids; they want fair treatment.

Encourages players. In order to get the best out of their players, coaches should have a balance between “chewing” and encouragement.

Enjoys kids. A coach who enjoys kids will have a greater impact on those kids’ lives. Kids will be drawn to him, feel comfortable with him, and never feel like they are bothering him.

My husband was one of the best examples of this that I know. He has always loved high school kids. They never hesitated to come up and talk to him. Was it because he taught them how to block on the line or tackle correctly? Maybe, but it was more likely because they know he likes them.

Sets a good example. Parents like to know their kids are spending time with people who exhibit good morals, a caring attitude, integrity, and authenticity.

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