Why parents, coaches must be partners

By Janis Meredith | Posted 10/15/2018

In an ideal season, parents and coaches work together — sports parents feel supported by the coach and the coach feels supported by the parents. Everyone — players, coaches and parents — benefit from a unified effort.

However, we know that a parent-coach partnership can sometimes be a myth and the ones who suffer the most are the kids.

Why is it so important for coaches and parents to work at this partnership and not give up just because it seems unlikely or difficult? Here are a couple of reasons why a divisive parent-coach relationship is not good for your child.

Division causes tension and even fear in your child.

Even when kids adore their parents and respect their coaches, loyalty to one or the other will affect their relationship if the two are at odds with one another. How can kids trust a coach who’s battling with their parents? Your child is worried about displeasing their coach and how it will affect their performance and playing time, as well as their role on the team.

At the same time, your child worries about disappointing Mom and Dad.

Division causes confusion in your child.

When your child hears conflicting opinions and instructions from the parent and coach, who should they listen to? This not only happens during the game, but at home when Mom and Dad are telling a child to do something that goes against what the coach is telling them at practice.

Your child is then caught in the middle, confused on which is the best way to go.

How can you show your child that you are partnering with their coach?

Here are a few simple ways to encourage the parent/coach partnership:

   Show up at the parent meeting, practices and game with an attitude of optimism and trust. If you are relaxed, your child will be more relaxed. If you are tense and waiting for the coach to mess up, then your child will most likely mirror those emotions.

   Respect the rules. Be on time to practice, don’t let your child skip for frivolous reasons, and abide by the behavioral guidelines the coach has established for players.

   Don’t trash talk the coach. Let your child vent, if they feel the need, but don’t join in on their rants. This only feeds their frustration.

   Talk to the coach about how you can both help your child. Don’t attack or accuse the coach. Go in with questions that will help you both work together to give your child the best experience they can have.

Parents and coaches do not have to agree on everything to be partners. They merely need to remember they are both on the same side when it comes to giving the players a positive and impactful youth sports experience. This type of relationship demands honesty, respect, a love for youth athletes and an underlying desire to see them all grow up through the youth sports experience.

Janis B. Meredith is a parenting coach. She provides resources to help parents raise champions. Learn more about how she can help parents Raise Champions.