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The Importance of Keeping Parents Informed

By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA

Most coaches are extremely passionate and totally engrossed in conducting practice sessions and orchestrating their team during games.  But effectively communicating with the parents of athletes and keeping them informed can be as important as anything that a coach does.  Why?

Despite of your knowledge of skills and strategy, and your efforts to prepare the team for the next game, irate parents can cause more problems than you may ever imagine.  This means that you need to think ahead and let them know what is happening with the team and how these developments affect their son or daughter.

The following represent a few items to keep in mind:

  • All time and schedule changes, and this would include the start and ending time for practice sessions, have to be communicated.  Parents need this information in order to plan transportation.  If a change has to be made, parents need to be notified as quickly as possible—days ahead of time if possible.
  • Inform parents of the anticipated return time from away contests.  And if there is a bus problem on the way back, you should have a method to communicate this development with parents.  Communication options include a “Phone Tree,” Twitter, a text message system that alerts all parents (there is software to do this), or an e-mail distribution list.
  • Emergency contact information always has to be available in order to contact the parents.  Parents have to be notified whenever their son or daughter suffers an injury and they are not at the game or practice. This means that Emergency Cards for every player have to be up-to-date, and a copy has to be kept in the team’s medical kit.
  • Always provide parents the best time and how they should contact you with a question or concern.  You might include a request that phone calls should not be later than 10 PM, for example,  so that your family is not inconvenienced.
  • When parents have a question or concern, it is important that you return the phone call or answer the e-mail message as soon as you can.  You don’t have to agree with the parent, but you do have a responsibility to respond, listen, and always be a professional.

 

David Hoch retired in 2010 after a 41-year career as a high school athletic director and coach.  In 2009, Dr. Hoch was honored as the Eastern District Athletic Director of the Year by the Nastional Association for Sport and Physical Education.  He was also presented with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award, and in 2000 he was named the Maryland State Athletic Director Association's Athletic Director of the Year.  Dr. Hoch has authored over 460 professional articles and made more than 70 presentations around the country.

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