Planning a Parent’s Meeting

Updated 17th February 2023

As a coach, approaching a new team or season can be an exciting but challenging experience. One of the keys to success is developing a positive and collaborative relationship with parents. In the world of football, parental involvement can have a significant impact on a child’s learning and overall experience. However, this requires a multidimensional process known as the Athletic Triangle, which involves self-reflection and a commitment to building relationships with all parties involved.

Therefore, planning parents meeting at the start of a youth sports season is a crucial step in creating a positive and collaborative relationship with parents. This meeting provides coaches and parents with an opportunity to get to know each other, share expectations and set the tone for the season. It also allows coaches to share important information about practice schedules, game dates, and expectations for both players and parents.

Coaches and clubs that prioritise developing a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities with parents can create a positive environment for everyone. By sharing a clear and reflective philosophy, coaches can help parents understand their behaviour and beliefs, creating a foundation for a successful partnership. Embracing parental involvement is an essential step in creating a supportive and collaborative environment that can benefit players and parents alike.

Here is a list of potential topics that could be discussed and shared within the parent’s meeting with youth sports parents at the start of the season:

  1. Introduction of the coaching staff and their qualifications and coaching philosophy
  2. Overview of the league, including game and practice schedules, expectations, and rules
  3. Expectations for players and parents, including attendance, behaviour, and commitment to the team
  4. Overview of the Athletic Triangle and how it applies to the team’s approach
  5. Importance of safety and injury prevention, including information on equipment, first aid, and concussion protocol
  6. Opportunities for volunteer work and involvement in team activities
  7. Overview of the team’s goals for the season, and how those goals will be achieved
  8. Communication plan for parents, including team website, email, and social media channels
  9. Plan for handling conflicts or concerns, including open communication channels between parents and coaches
  10. Opportunities for feedback and discussion, including questions and concerns from parents.

By discussing these topics, coaches and parents can establish clear expectations and create an environment that is focused on supporting the players and achieving the team’s goals. It also provides a forum for open communication between parents and coaches, which can be essential for creating a successful and positive sports experience for everyone involved.

It seems that there is a widespread agreement that parents can create a more positive youth sports environment for their children if they are provided with information that helps them understand the impact of their behaviour and beliefs. To ensure the best development for the child and the team, it is crucial for coaches and parents to understand all that is happening. I strongly encourage coaches to establish two-way communication to foster effective collaboration among all parties involved. It is essential for coaches to educate parents and maintain open communication.

It is important for parents to have a clear understanding of their expectations for their child in youth sports, as it can have both positive and negative effects. On the one hand, having expectations for their child’s performance can motivate them to work harder and achieve their goals. It can also help parents set boundaries and make informed decisions about their child’s participation. On the other hand, unrealistic or overly high expectations can create undue pressure and stress for the child, potentially leading to burnout or resentment towards the sport

During a parent meeting, coaches can encourage parents to reflect on their expectations for their child in youth sports, and discuss the potential impacts of those expectations. Coaches can provide guidance on setting realistic and attainable goals for their children, and remind parents that the primary focus should be on the child’s enjoyment and growth in the sport. Coaches can also encourage open communication and dialogue between parents, players and the coaching staff so that any concerns or issues can be addressed in a timely and constructive manner. Overall, it is important for parents to have a balanced and reasonable approach to their child’s participation in youth sports, and for coaches to facilitate these discussions in a supportive and collaborative manner.

It’s crucial for young players to know what is expected of them in the upcoming youth sports season, having clear expectations can serve as a source of motivation for players, spurring them to work harder and improve their abilities. Furthermore, it can help them establish personal goals that they can strive for throughout the season. However, if expectations are unrealistic or too high, this can result in undue pressure and stress for the player, which can lead to burnout or a diminished enjoyment of the sport. Therefore, it’s important for coaches to have a discussion with the players and their parents during the meeting, about how they can work together to establish appropriate expectations and set realistic goals for the season. This will help to ensure that the players are able to grow and develop in a positive and supportive environment.

Coaches and parents must discuss and create clear standards for training and match day expectations, especially in terms of player behaviour. A major component of this is minimising parental coaching from the sidelines, which may be exceedingly distracting for the players and interfere with their ability to focus on the game. It is critical to remember that young players require the flexibility to make their own judgements and to learn the game in a natural way. When parents scream and shout from the sidelines, they not only intrude on their children’s activity, but they also interfere with their capacity to learn and improve their skills. While it’s crucial to provide support and encouragement to players, it’s equally important to avoid coaching from the sidelines. In fact, one of the worst things that a parent or coach can do is to attempt to “coach” from the sidelines

Long-term player development in youth football is another important consideration for coaches and parents alike. Providing appropriate, supportive, and inclusive building block coaching and support can be key to helping young players develop their skills and achieve their potential. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that every player is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to coaching and development. It’s important to have a clear discussion and ensure that everyone is on the same page, working together towards the same goals. This may involve developing individualised training plans, providing opportunities for players to develop their skills in a supportive and positive environment, and prioritising the physical and emotional well-being of young athletes. While it can be tempting to focus on short-term results, a focus on long-term player development can help ensure that young players have the skills, confidence, and love for the game that will enable them to continue playing and succeeding for years to come.

Post-match or training approach behaviour can play a vital role in the development and confidence of young players. It is important for parents and coaches to approach their children with a supportive and positive attitude, and engage in conversation that supports reflection, enjoyment, personal development, and self-awareness. Open-ended questions can be an effective tool to encourage children to express their thoughts and feelings about their performance and to help them identify areas for improvement. Some examples of open-ended questions that parents can use with their child post-match or training include: “What was your favourite part of the game?” “What was something you did well?” “What’s something you want to improve?” “How do you think the team played together?” “How did you feel during the game?” These types of questions help children reflect on their performance and can provide valuable feedback for future training and development.

In youth sports, there is a common debate about the importance of winning versus development. While competitiveness is an inherent aspect of sports, it should not be the only focus when determining success and development. Success can be measured in various ways, such as personal and team goals achieved and participation levels. Winning may not necessarily reflect a good performance, and losing does not always mean a poor performance. Coaches, parents, and players should understand that success is not solely determined by wins and losses, and they need to support their children in having successful performance experiences by prioritising personal growth and development rather than solely focusing on outcomes and results. It’s essential to instil in young players the importance of embracing the game, having fun, and learning as well as promoting a healthy competitive spirit.

Hosting a meeting with parents at the beginning of a youth sports season can be crucial for coaches to create a positive and collaborative relationship with parents. The meeting provides a platform for coaches and parents to get to know each other, share expectations, and establish clear guidelines for the season. It is an opportunity for coaches to convey vital information about practice schedules, game dates, and expectations for both players and parents. A successful meeting can create a supportive and collaborative environment for everyone involved, benefitting the players, parents, and the team.

Thank you – Diolch yn fawr

The Sporting Resource

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