Coaching Association of Canada

How to Maintain a Positive Coach-Parent Relationship

Parents play a key role in the sport experience of many athletes. In many cases, it is the parents who initiate the child’s involvement in sport. As a result, coach-parent relationships also have a major effect — positive and negative — on athletes' experience in sport. It is therefore important for coaches to:

  • Develop positive and meaningful relationships with athletes’ parents
  • Seek influence to influence parents and guide them so that they can have a positive and supportive influence on their child’s sport experience.

Here are 5 suggestions for how to develop such relationships:

  • Organize a formal meeting with parents to discuss the objectives of your program and your approach to coaching.
  • Describe to parents — in detail — the behaviour you will be reinforcing in athletes. For example, if you plan to reward effort rather than performance, let parents know.
  • Explain to parents the behaviour you expect from them. For instance, make it clear that you expect them to show respect for officials, that you do NOT want them to yell instructions to players.
  • Recognize the need for regular, open communication with parents. Since misunderstandings between coaches and parents are usually the result of poor communication, it’s important to work hard at such communication.
  • Be positive and open about feedback – it will build parents' trust in you and lead to an even better program.

Coach Initiation in Sport is an online NCCP module developed to introduce new or experienced coaches to the foundational skills in coaching. Access Coach Initiation in Sport online module in the Locker, for $15, and start learning TODAY!