As a high school varsity coach, we make a point at the pre-season meeting to set the tone with parents regarding how, when, and why to address the coaches and which topics we are willing to discuss.  This way, it is clear to the athletes and their parents. We are setting the standard for communication before the season begins and we work to manage their expectations in order to prevent headaches later.  We state clearly that at the varsity level we will discuss playing time, practice times, areas of improvement, and time off requests with athletes directly and NEVER with parents!

At the varsity level it is time for student athletes to learn how to manage their time, communicate and articulate their thoughts directly to the coach, without the crutch of their parents. We want our athletes to cultivate their relationship with us (coaches) without the help of their parents.  When this precedent is not set, the coach’s job becomes much too large.  Their job is to coach, not to handle an athlete’s social calendar or to counsel a parent regarding their child’s playing time.  Parents have nothing to do with playing time; everything an athlete must do to increase playing time is 100% up to them, which is why any questions/concerns should be between the athlete and the coach.

girlslaxAthletes can approach either the Assistant Coach or the Head Coach directly. The Assistant Coach is able to gauge whether or not the topic at hand is worth including the Head Coach.  Typically the matter can be handled by the Assistant without distracting the Head Coach, this is part of the Assistant’s job – to handle any extraneous concerns.  If an athlete has a question, it is appropriate to address the coach before or after practice or send an email to schedule a time to discuss one on one or over the phone.  A discussion should never occur via email or text – it should only be used to schedule a time to talk.

That being said, I strongly encourage parents to introduce themselves to the coaches early on in the season, ask the coaches if they need any assistance or help with scorekeeping, management, ordering jerseys, pictures, team dinners, etc.  Recognize when the coach does something you like and encourage other parents to do the same, this makes it much easier to address the coach later on.  Positive reinforcement is not only appreciated by athletes but by coaches as well!

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