Whether you stepped forward to coach a youth volleyball team because you love the game and want to make a difference to the kids, or because you just couldn’t say no to the friendly person at the registration desk, there are no two ways about it – you will have to deal with parents.
Fortunately, most of the parents of the kids you coach are supportive, caring, and naturally want the best for their kids. Who knows, they may even turn out to be great assets as assistant coaches. However, it’s inevitable that you will also come across parents who while they may also want the best for their kids are less than pleasant to deal with. For example, they may demand more playing time for their child, or they may even act inappropriately during matches.
Therefore, to avoid these issues as much as possible it’s best to make sure that you as the coach and the parents are on the same page. After all, it’s all about the kids at the end of the day, so you want to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.
Here are 4 things we recommend all volleyball coaches do.
Setup an Initial Meeting
In our opinion, it’s best to schedule a meeting with all the parents before you begin coaching. This initial meeting is important because it gives you the opportunity to lay out a few ground rules of what behavior is expected during matches, as well as the responsibilities the parents have to their kids and their kids’ teammates throughout the season.
It’s a good idea to describe and explain your coaching methods, as well as how you plan to distribute playing time and positions. If you are able to provide a clear picture of how you expect the season to unfold, there won’t be any room for misunderstandings later down the line.
Involve the Parents
Parents invest a lot of time and money into the season by getting their kids to practice on time, buying all the equipment their kids need (like a volleyball backpack, volleyball shoes, ankle braces, knee pads, knee sleeves, and so on), as well as perhaps even helping out with postmatch treats and drinks for the whole team. It’s, therefore, a good idea to see if you can find ways to get them involved throughout the season, like helping out at practice for example.
So don’t be afraid of asking parents if they want to help out in some way, as they are often only too happy too and want to be more involved in their children’s interests.
As mentioned, it’s a great idea to conduct a preseason meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page, but the communication shouldn’t stop there. You want to frequently communicate with the parents to update them on their child’s progress and where they’re really excelling. This can be as simple as having a quick chat before or after practice.
If there’s a more important issue to discuss, either put forward by you or the parent, don’t hesitate to speak in private next time you meet or over the phone.
Keeping parents fully informed and letting them know that you are interested in what they have to say goes a long way in building a great relationship throughout the season.