What Coaches & Parents Should Be Saying

By Janis Meredith | Posted 11/4/2020

There’s a lot of conversations in the world of youth sports—on the sidelines, in the bleachers, in the game, and in parent clusters after the game.
Unfortunately, much of that totally unnecessary and not at all constructive.

However, there are some conversations that should be happening between coaches and parents. They are vital to having a healthy team and a positive season.

What are those conversations?

Talk about safety. First and foremost, parents and coaches should be discussing safety issues. Coaches should be trained in concussion protocol, there should always be a medical person available and in this day and age, everyone must abide by COVID-19 guidelines. 
If parents do not feel these topics are being addressed, speak up! You are not being overprotective; you are being smart.

Talk about coaching philosophy. Parents want to understand what kind of season they are facing: Will my child get to play much? Will there be equal playing time? And it’s up to coaches to explain their coaching strategy before each season. Parents may not agree with it or like it and they won’t be able to change anything, but at least they will know what to expect. 

Talk about what’s best for the child AND the team. The over-riding goal of every youth sports coach should be to develop players, help kids grow and learn from their experience. So, when parents and coaches disagree about an issue, their first concern should be: What is best for the child and for the team in this circumstance? Not, what is best for our record? Or what is best for my job as a coach? 

Coaches and parents must provide solutions that help an individual grow and develop and at the same time, do what benefits the team. This is sometimes a very hard conversation to navigate because every parent wants what’s best for their child, and every coach wants what’s best for the whole team. Resolving issues in a way that addresses both concerns takes a commitment to good sportsmanship and to the growth of each athlete.

Talk about how they can work together. It’s important for parents and coaches to remember they are on the same team when it comes to doing what’s best for the athletes. They must be open to how each can help the other. Coaches may need to communicate more often and more clearly. Parents may need to volunteer to help more and support the coach even when they don’t see eye-to-eye. 

I’ve been involved in way too many teams where coaches and parents barely talk and when they do, it’s to argue or complain. Those conversations rarely end up in a solution that’s good for the children. Instead, start parent-coach conversations with a willingness to listen and learn. 

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.


USA Football's new model for youth football is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and by teaching the game based on an athlete's age, the skill they are learning and game type.