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Engaging Your Parents

Parents are an integral part of your  athlete’s success. How do we build and maintain an environment that engages parents?

Coach/Entraîneure: Elodie Brault Photo: John Major (CAC/ACE)

Tips and tricks to parental involvement – By Jessica Cunha – Skating Coach

Parents are an athlete’s number one fan; driving them to all of their practices, games and competitions, encouraging them during times of self-defeat and pushing them to be the best versions of themselves. So how can we have parents feel like an integral part of the association?

Building and maintaining parental relationships allows parents to develop a sense of connection that increases their loyalty and trust in the organization. This not only helps to grow and retain membership, but also positively impacts club culture.

  1. Volunteer Opportunities

Encourage parents to volunteer for club events. Volunteers not only help alleviate extra duties, but volunteering will allow parents to feel a sense of responsibility as they contribute to the success of an event. Alternatively, encouraging them to volunteer as board members is also beneficial. Parents will be able to provide insight from their perspective that may have been overlooked when running programs. They can also relate to other parents and help ease their transition into the new environment.

  1. Communicate!

The key to any good relationship is open communication. Provide meetings at the beginning, middle and end of the season to discuss what parents can expect from you as a coach, what you expect from their athlete, and what the parents expect from you. You can also utilize this time to talk to parents about the importance of putting down the technology. Often times I have had my athletes looking at their parents after a great execution of a skill, only to be disappointed when they see them playing games on their tablet. Communication between the athlete, coach and the parent is a triangle, the more communication, the better the experience.

  1. Educate

Offer monthly workshops where you can utilize what you have learned from your NCCP training courses. Teach parents about proper nutrition for their athletes and psychological practices they can do at home such as envisioning their routine. Something I personally enjoy doing is giving my athlete a book filled with exercises they need to work on at home and have their parents understand the positioning to look for as they execute it. Some parents even join in on the exercises!

How do you  engage your sport parents?
How do you build and maintain positive parental relationships? What are some best practices, tips or tricks you use to keep parents engaged?

 

Coach Edward – Baseball – Thunder bay – 11 Years

“…Communicate, communicate, communicate. Did I mention communication? Put yourself in their shoes, and think about what would you want to know. Or better yet, ask! Have a meeting, ask the parents what they would like to hear about, how often and in what form. But go into the meeting with a general idea of what you would like to share with them. Now they are part of the solution and not the problem. Parents want to know that their child matters, and is important to you, the coach. The parent is part of the triangle of success, it takes an athlete, a coach and parents to achieve success…”

Coach Sally – Soccer – Ajax – 7 Years 

“…Encouraging parental volunteers is always tough. We found a way at our club that really works. We give discounts to families who volunteer. The more you volunteer, the more they save, up to a certain degree of course. We give away things such as savings on equipment, registration fees, travel discounts; who doesn’t like to be rewarded! We find it is a very effective way of saying thank you, but also works as the incentive to get people in the door, so to speak, and involved with the club…”

Coach Sue – Swimming – London – 6 Years 

“…I always have 2 meetings per year; one at the beginning and one half way, to deliver my expectations, your role as a parent, what we plan to achieve and why we do things the way we do, answer questions. I find that it really helps alleviate parent questions, especially at the start of the year when you have a new coach for the year, travel trips planned etc. ON top of this I send monthly newsletters with all information upcoming about competitions, practice changes, what we have been working on and where we are going. Parents just want to be kept in the loop, and most are very appreciative for the constant updates…”

Coach Marg – Figure Skating – Kawartha Lakes

“…Regularly communicate by email as sometimes sets of parents have some pretty set views on how things should be.  By emailing they have the opportunity to digest what could be coming down the pike and enter a meeting with some times less adverse positions…”