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Jan 19, 2009
What rules do you have (written or unwritten) for meeting with parents? Are there topics you consider off-limits? Do you have a rule as to when you will meet with parents, who can be present? This is for High School, but all replies are welcome.

As of now when I have an initial meeting with all of my parents, I plan on saying something like the following:

I would like to answer a few of your questions ahead of time so that if they come up you will already have the answer.

1. Why isn't my daughter starting? Answer: As coaches we feel the ones starting give us the best chance to win.

2. But I think my daughter is better than____ ? Answer: We are not going to discuss another player (unless it is really positive). It is the opinion of the coaching staff that the best players are playing.

3. My daughter is starting, but isn't playing her best (or favorite) position. Why can't she play it? Answer: Players are playing where we are it best fits the needs of the team.

4. But my daughter is a senior, (or upperclassman, etc...) Answer: What grade your daughter is in is not a factor in decision making.
Feb 8, 2009
You might try relating your coaching philosophy upfront. No parent wants to hear the "we're playing the players that give us the best chance to win" - the implication being "your kid would cost us the game". Tell them you will work with all of the kids to make them better, and be available to say what they need to work on to get on the field. If you avoid parents, you will cause more problems . Be willing to communicate. Parents will respect you if you are honest but also diplomatic. They won't be happy at the time, but at the end of the day they will appreciate your efforts. You will still have malcontents, parents that can't be reasoned with, but don't make all parents pay for the poor attitudes of others.
Jan 19, 2009
This is a very good answer. I am probably the easiest going coach at my school, and I tell the parents that I will do my best to find playing time for everyone, even though I can never make everyone happy. I have always had an open door policy and this has led to too many discussions. I have been known for too much tact. The problem is, there are always a few parents who never buy into a team concept. The girls have a better understanding than most parents.

I have talked to a number of other coaches and my AD, and they all say the same thing- there are some things that are not discussed- playing time, positions, etc.- coaching decisions. I could just say that. The players and parents all know that I really care about the girls, and probably because I get along with so many they feel they have the right to question coaching decisions. I am sure we all second guess other coaches, but some things are not meant for discussion. I will talk to players and parents about what they need to work on, grades, things that may be happening outside of softball that could be affecting them, college- whether they are going to play ball or not, and anything else that doesn't include a decision- unless of course it is something good that I don't mind sharing.

This is a varsity sport, not guaranteed playing time league.

I don't know if this makes sense or not, but I am trying to find out what you are willing to discuss, and what you are not- these I want to tackle at the first meeting and get it out of the way all at once- even though there will be those who don't care.

Thanks again
May 22, 2008
NW Pennsylvania
I dont coach high school, but travel ball is similar.I try to have a meeting with players & parents both at first practice & tell them point balnk that this is not rec ball & at this level, playing time is earned- then I tell them how to earn playing time. your standards probably differ from mine, but get it right out on the table. I also tell parents that at lower levels playing is earned by showing up for practice on time, having a great attitude & hard work, & let them know that this is just something that is expected at this level of play & not anything out of the ordinary. I also tell the parents that I will gladly discuss the things I feel their DD needs to be working on to improve their game, & that I refuse to talk about any other girl that their DD. As a high school coach,I would probably end by saying to the parents that I understand & respect that each one of you probably feels your DD is the most special girl on the field & that you need to respect the fact that all the girls are special to me There can only be 1 coach & for this year, I am it.
Jun 16, 2008
It might be helpful to have a player evaluation form or spreadsheet, if you don't already. It's hard for parents or players to argue with it. You don't have to compare players, but if they don't throw as hard or run as fast or can't hit an outside pitch, then you can show them.
This will allow you to show the parent where the player needs to improve. It's objective and measurable.
In business, we call it a performance improvement plan. It's where we get to work twice as hard to try to get someone to do the work they should already be doing. :rolleyes:

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