For the last couple of years I have been coaching senior teams solely. When speaking to youth coaches our club, who usually are in charge of the majority of the youth teams, a couple of them have had a hard time in dealing with parents. Managing parent relationships can prove very draining for any basketball coach, but it is one aspect with coaching basketball teams which you cannot avoid. You must understand that interacting with parents of your players is a very important aspect of your coaching profession. You must set the goals early in your season, because establishing the goals head-on will reduce (notice I did not say get rid of) emotional conflict while maintaining your team’s positivity.

There are many reasons why conflicts occur between coaches and parents. I want to touch on the most common reasons why conflict occurs. Sometimes parents feel their children are not getting enough “playtime” on the court. Parents will challenge your coaching skills as well as your coaching decisions. No matter how great of a coach you believe you are, these conflicts mentioned will almost always have to be addressed between basketball coaches and parents.

You must minimize these conflicts by investing into yourself. What do I mean by this? You need to contain the self-esteem needed when dealing with these situations. You must know that you are making the best decisions for your team as compared to what the parents demand. You must also ensure that your players have self-confidence in not only themselves but their basketball abilities, too. Try to sympathize with the parents for they are only looking out for their children, however, the parents have to understand that your basketball team consists of many players, not only their child and you are running a team, not a personalized team for their child.

You must establish the ground rules from the beginning of the season. Inform not only the players of these rules but the parents. Let the parents know the expectations for playtime and you are emphasizing the goal to win for your basketball team. Allow the parents to know of your coaching style and how your style will allow your team to hopefully have a winning season.

You must communicate with your players and their parents. This of course is no guarantee that there will not be conflicts, however, this can minimize the conflict if the parents and players know the expectations early on, before the season starts.

Instill an “open door policy” for your players in order to squash conflicts early on. You want to ensure that you are available for your players as well as parents in order to answer questions as well as solve conflicts. This can prove to be an effective method in keeping negativity to a minimum. Do not have meetings before or after your basketball games for your mind as well as your player’s minds needs to be focused on the game.

No matter how good at communicating you are, conflicts are going to arise. You must ensure that you are prepared while making it your goal to work through it with your players and parents effectively. In the future, you will find that you will be able to deal with these conflicts with a calmer manner while leading your team to a successful season.

Picture credit: madmoleculeCreative Commons Attribution

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