Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Cultivating optimal parent-coach relationships
August 17th, 2007 5PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  youth boys

MOST COMMENTED

By David Jacobson

"What is the optimal parent-coach relationship?"

That's what Positive Coaching Alliance trainers address during the Double-Goal Coach and Second-Goal Parent workshops we conduct throughout the country. The answer appears in the very names of the workshops.

A Double-Goal Coach has two goals. The first goal is winning, and the second, more-important goal is teaching life lessons through sports.

A Second-Goal Parent focuses on that more important goal - life lessons - leaving coaches and players to pursue winning. In my community, the backs of the coaches' shirts remind parents and spectators on the sidelines: "I coach, they play, you cheer."

Rita Boule - the soccer coach at Silver Spring John F. Kennedy High School in Maryland, who won a PCA Double-Goal Coach Award at our 2006 National Youth Sports Awards ceremony - told the story of a player she moved from left forward in the first half to right forward in the second half. That way the player could not hear her intimidating, meddling, distracting father. She was free to focus on the game, so she could excel, rather than on her father's demands for whatever he considered excellence.

Ironically, the louder, more insistent and more urgent a parent's "instruction," the less likely it is to produce the desired result. Players become confused by contradictions between parents and coaches and sometimes so embarrassed by their parents' behavior that the soccer field is the last place they want to be. An overbearing parent also distracts the other players and undermines the coach's authority and ability to implement strategy.

Here are a few tips to cultivate optimal parent-coach relationships:

* Preseason meetings. At a meeting among all team members, parents, coaches and players should understand ground rules for the team's culture. By "culture" we simply mean the way we do things here.

For example, the coach might say, "The way we do things here is that if you have issues or ideas on playing time, positions or strategies, please phone or e-mail me. Unless your child is ill or injured, please do not approach me with advice or complaints immediately before, during or after a game." (PCA offers a Parent Pledge downloadable from the Use Our Resources section of www.PositiveCoach.org.)


If coaches do not call preseason meetings, parents should make early, positive contact with the coaches. Parents should offer the coaches whatever help they may need and explain they hope for the best possible experience for their children and the team as a whole. That way, parents who have an issue later in the season, won't be presenting themselves to the coaches for the first time ... just to issue a complaint.

* Identify a culture keeper. At the preseason meeting, the coaches and parents may appoint a "culture keeper," whose job is to remind others - in the heat of the game - to observe the previously established ground rules. Often, this is achieved non-verbally, perhaps through just a hand motion to "keep it down." The ideal culture keeper supports the coach and is generally personable and well-respected among the other parents.

* Live up to your preseason promises. Coaches must remain open and responsive to parents who approach them within the ground rules. They must remain firm in maintaining those ground rules when parents encroach. Likewise, it is incumbent on parents to take coaches up on their offers to hear advice at certain times and to deliver the help they originally offered the coach.

Note that all these tips are not just directed at keeping a peaceful sideline. They all contribute to an environment where players can concentrate on playing and coaches can focus on coaching. All other things being equal, that environment cultivates winning and the possibility of that second, more-important goal.

David Jacobson is the Marketing Communications Manager of the Positive Coaching Alliance. His previous contributions to the Youth Soccer Insider were A Positive Approach to Player Development and Filling a player's 'emotional tank.'



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Is it OK to play in pain?     
"What's the difference between discomfort and pain? And is it OK for me to keep playing ...
The benefits of pool play vs. traditional leagues for U-10s     
The Youth Soccer Insider asked Sam Snow, Technical Director of U.S. Youth Soccer, to explain the ...
Ref Watch: Why three is so much better than one     
When I moved to Florida for business 27 years ago, I lived and worked in Orlando ...
Tab Ramos auditions new talent for U-20 World Cup     
Coach Tab Ramos has called up three players to the U.S. U-20 national team, which is ...
George Altirs boosts New Jersey-area youth ball     
As a boy, George Altirs spent his free time playing as much soccer as possible in ...
Are tire crumbs on fields a cancer threat?    
Some environmental and health advocacy groups have claimed that the crumb rubber infill, used in artificial ...
A World Cup for Richie Williams, better late than never     
Richie Williams might just be the USA's most successful player who never played in a World ...
USA avoids debacle in U-17 World Cup qualifying    
Ultimately, the USA's quest to qualify for the 2015 Under-17 World Cup hinged on shots from ...
Americans down to one last chance at U-17 World Cup qualifying    
One of the U.S. national team program's consistencies for nearly three decades was that the USA ...
Video Games vs. Youth Soccer, the mismatch    
In an article by John O'Sullivan, founder of Changing the Game Project, he writes that three ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives