When the topic of parents comes up in the coaching realm, the first reaction is likely going to be to cringe. The relationship between coaches and parents, throughout youth sport in particular, has been a rocky one. We have labels for categories of parents: the Overprotective ones, the Critical ones, the Ones Who Think They Know How to Coach Better Than I Do, and if you’re lucky you get the Mind Their Own Business kind. Though they mean well and only want to make sure their children have the best opportunities possible… Sometimes they can be a pain in the coach’s neck.
But isn’t this reaction exactly what us coaches are getting frustrated about in the first place? Complaining, blaming, being critical, and being sure that we know much better than they do… Perhaps we as coaches need to change our way of thinking to make things better. If we truly think we know the game, why do we get defensive of parents asking questions?
Though I don’t believe parents should know every detail of a coaching strategy or the exact process you went through to decide to bench their kid, I do believe in honesty. Most coaches can honestly say that they do not solicit coaching tips from every parent they meet. However, we can use their help in other areas such as fundraising or team bonding. Find new ways for these parents to contribute, so they can leave the coaching to you. Take the high road: appreciate that they are bugging you only because they care and help them allow you to do your job.