Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Spring Parents’ Meeting

Posted by admin April - 29 - 2011 - Friday

We had our spring parents’ and players’ meeting last night. It was my initial contact with all of my players and parents in one place. I thought the meeting went well because of a number of positive comments that I received after it was completed.

For those of you who’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know that I took over our program in late December. As a new coach coming into a school with an established program, there were things that I felt like I needed to do to get the ball rolling in the right direction. The editor of American Football Monthly magazine asked me to write an article documenting what those steps I’ve taken have been. It’s going to appear in Gridiron Strategies this spring or early summer. Check it out!

What I want to comment on in this entry are those statements that parents made to me after the conclusion of the meeting that stood out as important to them. These are things that I think any coach should be aware of. They will be in no particular order of importance— I just want to relay those factors that you need to consider in building parents’ confidence in you as a successful high school football coach.

1- Several parents came up and thanked me for stating that practice will end at a specific time every day. If it was a lousy practice, then we “lost a day” that we can’t earn back. We won’t run past the time stated on the daily practice schedule. Our’s is a private institution with strong academics. Grades are important to everyone. When parents know that practices are going to end on time, they are appreciative of the organizational skills that you as a coach possess.

2- Character counts. I talked about sportsmanship, respect, no profanity and Christian character. Though we are not a religiously-affiliated school and I will not be evangelical in my approach with the players, parents appreciate that you are concerned about all phases of their son’s life. The emphasis can’t just be on the physical aspect. I think you must include the emotional/mental and… the spiritual. I’ve found that you can apply Biblical principles to any organization and never even mention God. Yep, the Bible is that foundational to our lives! I talked about everyone having a positive attitude and that “Attitude is EVERTHING!” There’s the emotional/mental component. This is high school football. We as coaches have to be positive role models for the young men who play for us.

3- The final thing that several people commented on was… that I am interested in keeping the doors of communication between parents and me (our staff) open. If you take the attitude that: “this is my program and I’ll run it the way I want with NO interference from meddling parents” then you’re in for a lot of heartburn and frustration. Our parents know who’s in charge but they also know that if they have a concern or need some help with their son (there are so many boys out there with a Mom trying to raise him alone), they can come to me. I don’t want to create an adversarial relationship with parents. Get them involved… they want to help you too… IF you just ask! Get people to invest in your program. That means that they will care about what happens to everything that relates to your team. I am very fortunate that I am part of a real community at my new school. There is tremendous school pride and the people band together to support each other. My job is to cultivate that. It’s a strength and I want it to just get stronger. I am blessed!

These parents are placing the responsibility of taking care of their most prized possession (their son) in your hands. They want to know that he is going to be treated well while he’s with you. If you let them know that you want to work with them, you’ll build walls around your “Village” and not between you and the parents.

Just some thoughts. I hope they help. Comments???

One Response to “Spring Parents’ Meeting”

  1. Coach Ray says:

    Coach,

    I could not agree more with you on keeping parents invovled and informed. I have tired several times to get parents together to speake to them about the program that I am starting, but for what ever reason, it seems to fall on deaf ears. I will continue to try! It is my hope that once the program officially gets off the ground next season, the communication doors will be open. Thanks for your great thoughts.

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