Coaching and how to deal with parents

We know. We know.  It's not the kids. It's the parents. They'll drive you right out of the game. (If you let them!)...  
Just keep a few things in mind before you continue to read this entire post:
  • All parents are blinded by one thing: LOVE! (they can't objectively see anything - keep that in mind)
  • The lower the level of basketball, the wider variety of expectations. 
Note: Many parents may not be well equipped to be more thoughtful, sensitive, caring, empathetic, understanding, optimistic, respectful, and appreciative toward you. 
  • You are not alone if you are experiencing trouble with 3, 4, 5, ... OR MAYBE JUST THAT ONE PARENT! 
  • To make sure that all of the parents "get it."
  • To get parents to understand why you had to take their kid out of a game. 

(There are some things that you can do make it easier on you, though)


  • To make sure that their kids learn the life lessons that you have to offer them. 
  • To treat their child with respect and to keep them safe at all times.

The "PLAYING TIME" Problem: 

Many parents will just be concerned with more playing time. A few will want to talk about strategy. Some will use strategy to talk about playing time.  Here are the best strategies to help avoid the TWO biggest problems that will drive you nuts when it comes to coaching and how to deal with parents:
  1. Playing time
  2. Strategy 


ADDRESS SEASON STANDARDS AND EXPECTATIONS (15-30 minutes should be enough time) 

  • Many parents may not attend.It may be an inconvenience to you to schedule it. It's worth it. 
  • Have the meeting and lay out a brief set of standards and expectations.
  • These expectations state clearly the boundaries that parents are not to cross.

After the meeting, make sure to send an email to all parents restating the expectations from the meeting.

These 5 standards and expectations for parents should help you get started:

  1. I will not criticize or belittle my son/daughter.
  2. I will not criticize or belittle any of their teammates.
  3. I will not use inappropriate language.
  4. I will not discuss playing time with the coach. 
  5. I will not discuss strategy with the coach. 

Note:  Those alone will do wonders for you. (you may want to include others, such as: "No text messaging." 

Parents will often look at you with a weird, inquisitive, offended look... like, "Why are we having a meeting about this?... I would never do that. Of course I wouldn't do that?.. Who would do such a thing?"... 

Then... (by game 5)... Many of them will do exactly those things!

The standards are in place not because they will not be breached by parents.

They are in place for you so that you can refer to them immediately whenever they are breached. 

You can simply reply with:

  • "I'm sorry, we don't have conversations with parents about playing time."   
  • "I'm sorry, we don't discuss game strategy with parents." 

You should certainly be willing to talk to players about strategy and playing time. And you should have a different set up principles, standards, and expectations for players than parents.

If you want to know how you can get all of your players more playing time, read this.  


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