How to Successfully Deal with Sports Parents Behavior

Dealing with Parents: Practical Solutions to Common Problems

Guest Post by Jim Harshaw.

Surveys show that dealing with parents is one of the most time consuming and frustrating tasks that coaches deal with on a regular basis.

Having coached for 15 years from youth through Division I, I’ve spent countless hours researching best practices on dealing with sports parents behavior. I’ve read books and blogs, listened to audio podcasts and talked with dozens of coaches about it.

Here are some practical solutions to common problems that I have learned that you can use right away.
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Playing Time: A rule about playing time should be set in the very beginning of the season. Many coaches have told me that their rule is such that a parent is not permitted to contact the coach regarding playing time unless the athlete first asks the coach what he/she can do to earn more playing time.
The Parent That’s a Friend: As much as possible, keep it a professional relationship. Sometimes you simply have to distance yourself.
The Over-involved Parent: (comes to practice, asks too many questions, offers too much help): Get them engaged, give them ownership and responsibility over some part of the program. They’re asking for it so give them what they want. If you can unload a task then it’s a win-win.
The Parent That Always Has Something to Say: (sometimes this is the parent with some degree of experience/psuedo-expertise): You’ll never win with this parent. If you win you lose because they simply want to demonstrate that they know something else that you don’t know. Acknowledge their input. Thank them for caring so deeply that they wanted to share with you. If you do this genuinely then you’ve earned the right to assert your leadership, end the conversation and move on.

Get many more tips and tactics as well as worksheets and templates in the Dealing Successfully with Sports Parents ebook. Access to this proactive guide will help you spend less time reacting to criticism, responding to emails and looking over your shoulder… and more time coaching. Download it here instantly.

This is a guest post by Jim Harshaw. In addition to learning how to deal successfully with sports parents behavior as a youth, high school and college coach, Jim Harshaw learned many life lessons on the wrestling mat. He was a 3X ACC Champion for the University of Virginia, trained at the Olympic Training Center and competed overseas for Team USA. He lives in Charlottesville, Va with this wife Allison and four children.

See more from Jim at his presentation below.

Stay on plane…

About CoachK

Owner and head instructor at Colonial Baseball Instruction. CBI serves Southern VA with baseball camps and private lessons. CBI also developed My Coach: Baseball App and sells a variety of baseball training aids.