It’s a challenge every youth lacrosse coach faces: how to deal with unhappy sports parents. Whether the issue is playing time or a losing season, new coaches must develop a strategy to effectively manage these important relationships.
Hold a Sports Parents Meeting
If you are coaching youth lacrosse next season, your work starts well before the first face off. Once your team’s roster is established, invite all your players’ parents to an informal meeting. It will give you the opportunity to introduce yourself in a setting that is less frantic than the first practice or game. If you get to know the parents on a personal level, you will be in a much better position to handle disputes during the year.
Set Rules at the Outset
Since today’s sports parents tend to be very involved, you might want to set some ground rules. Inform parents when it is appropriate to communicate concerns about their child and how is the best way to do it. Also, let everyone know that ultimately you are responsible for making the decisions, and these choices must be respected.
If you feel it is necessary, you could create a written contract for every parent to sign.
Appoint a Parent Captain
Just like an on-the-field team leader, a parent captain can act as a liaison with you and your players’ support system. This main point of contact can help you coordinate with parents when there are issues pop up like canceled practices or rescheduled games.
Communicate Effectively with Everyone
If you are a youth lacrosse coach, the importance of communication cannot be understated. It starts at the sports parents meeting, and it should continue after the season concludes.
3 Quick Communication Tips
- Set goals for the season
- Let parents know what to expect
- Relay essential information in a way that is easy to understand
Have an Open Door Policy
Once practices get underway, let parents know they can always come to you with any issues. The best policy is to keep your door open to everyone. Then, if a problem arises, parents will feel comfortable voicing their concerns to you.
Always Remain Positive
In many ways, a youth lacrosse coach is the face of the team. If you keep a positive attitude at all times, it will be contagious. Even if you face a little adversity, keep your chin up and don’t take anything personally.
Ultimately, everyone has the same goal: enriching the youth lacrosse experience.