This is How You Win Athletes' Parents

The video below from Glazier's Head Coach Academy and offers some great advice on how to win the parents of your athletes.

Working with parents of athletes is one of the biggest challenges that coaches face. It is not an easy relationship to manage. Even the best and most well intended coaches will have parent issues.  But, the number of those issues you have can be reduced!

In the video Coach DeLano discusses his 95-5 rule. 95% of the parents are going to be supportive and 5% are going to be against you no matter what you do.

Below the video, we have an outline for a pre-season parent meeting agenda that will help you win those 95% of parents at your pre-season parent meeting.  You can download the agenda for your use too with our compliments.

The goal of parent relationships should be to set boundaries for the 5% who are guaranteed to be against you and to win the trust of the other 95%.

Some things to keep in mind as you interact with the parents of your athletes.

  • Coaches and parents have different agendas. Your number one goal is for the team to experience success. Parents are focused on the success of their child. Sometimes those two agendas can co-exist, sometimes they are at odds with each other.

  • If an athlete respects and appreciates what you do for him or her and for the team, that will go a long way in making their parents supportive as well.

  • Work to find ways to improve your skills of interacting with parents, but don’t take anything personally. Many parents will use you as a scapegoat when their children don’t experience the success that they envision. Many times that vision the parents have is unrealistic. As a coach, it is much easier for you to see that than it is for a parent.

  • We all get caught up in the moment. We have all done or said things in the heat of emotion that later we regret and want to avoid in the future. Parents are no different. Be willing to forgive their outbursts the same way that we want others to forgive ours.

Wanting success for their child does not make someone a bad person. It is not to say that you have to compromise your standards. It is to say that as coaches, we need to do the best we can to see things from the point of view of others and to have compassion.

One of the items Coach DeLano discusses in Glazier Academies is having a meaningful parent meeting to begin every season.  

A pre-season parent meeting is a great opportunity for you to present yourself and your vision for what their children will experience to the parents. If you will prepare to “win the parent meeting” just like you prepare to win a game, you can earn the benefit of the doubt. By earning the benefit of the doubt, you will have built some credibility if a conflict does arise at some point.


Parent Meeting Agenda

Here is a sample agenda that will give you a structure to win the parent meeting.

Whatever your agenda ends up being, have a printed version available at the meeting to distribute. Also have a staff member responsible for delivering it electronically to all parents—both those who did and those who didn’t attend.

  1. Thank you for your attendance this evening and for dealing with our practice times throughout the year. There are seven different teams (Freshman, JV, Varsity, Middle School both girls and boys programs) that use the facilities for practice and games. We have to schedule our practice times in conjunction with all of those event

  2. Quote to summarize the philosophy of our coaching staff.

I don't think coaching is about making a million dollars a year. I don't think coaching is about winning championships. I don't think coaching is about going to a great school. I think coaching is about helping young people have a chance to succeed. There is no more awesome responsibility than that. I think one of the greatest honors a person can have is to be called ‘Coach.’ ”   —Lou Holtz

Our coaching staff believes that we are at a great school and want to do all we can to make it even better!

  1. Introduce Coaching Staff and take attendance for information purpose—pass a sign in sheet

  2. Our goals for the season

    Goal #1 for coaches: Establish a life—long relationship with each participant that can never be broken.   (I prefer the term “participant” to encompass not only the athletes, but also student managers, student trainers, student video, student statisticians, and all students in a support role for the program.

    Goal #2 for coaches: Assist in the development of all aspects of the lives of the participants.

    Goal for participants: Have the most rewarding season of his/her career to this point in our sport.

  3. Costs ofr parents

  4. Relationship of coach and parents

    A. I understand that your children are the most important thing in your lives. Having the privilege to work with them in (sport) is a responsibility that I take seriously. I know that enjoying the opportunity to play is an important part of their lives.  Watching will become memories for your family to cherish for years to come. You have the commitment of our coaching staff that we will do everything we can to provide the leadership to make the experience the best we can for all of us.

  5. I look forward to a friendly, professional, and productive relationship with every parent. We are playing different roles, but are on the same team:  Providing the best experience for your child.

  6. The roles I see in sports are:

    1. Play
    2. Coach
    3. Officiate
    4. Support (Parents, fans, administration)


    It is my belief that everything is better for everyone if they stick to their roles. I don’t want our players to officiate and I will stay off of the officials. I don’t think it is helpful for parents to coach. Our coaching staff sees practice, scouts to prepare for other teams, and has years of experience to decide on the best course of action. And, we are thinking of the entire team, where as it is easy to have a more narrow focus on your child as a parent.

    Please be supportive. I will never criticize any of you to your child or to anyone else on the team. I understand that you will not agree with all of my decisions regarding strategy and playing time. I am not asking you to agree with everything I decide, I am simply asking you to respect that I am doing the best I can to make tough decisions.  I put the interests of the team and the individuals on the team ahead of my own ego.

    When your child asks you for advice, the best advice you can give them is:

         “Listen to your coaches about your sport."

          We have an entire program to consider. Over 100 students in grades 5-12.

  1. Program Notebook—please look at your son/daughter’s team notebook that we provide him/her.  It will help you understand our philosophy.
  2. Playing time—Coach’s decision and is not negotiable.  If parents were able to negotiate more playing time for their child, another athlete would lose playing time to appease the complaining parent. I don't want to be involved in that.

  3. Role in program or program level (Varsity, JV, Freshman)—Coach’s decision and not negotiable.  Same reasoning as playing time.

  4. Strategy—Coach’s decision and not open for debate with the staff.  We have years of experience, scouting reports, and are in the best position to determine strategy.  It is not a productive use of our time to have to defend our decision in meetings.


  5. I will not discuss other families athletes with parents. If you say that

  6. I am eager to talk to you about any other area that can help your son/daughter

  7. Please support our priorities—again, please see your player’s notebooks.  We put their

    1) Personal spirituality
    2) Family and personal health
    3) Citizenship
    4) Academics

    as higher priorities than our sport.  

    I would rather have him miss practice for a doctor appointment than to miss a class.  Of course, I would prefer he not miss class or practice, but if a choice has to be made, he would be excused from practice as long as I know ahead of time so that I am not surprised.  

    I hope it doesn't happen, but I do realize there are emergencies where communication ahead of time with a coach is not a priority. We will work with you if anything like that arises.

  8. We ask that you follow the chain of command on all concerns. If your son has a concern that he shares with you, please ask him if he has spoken to the coach about it. We would appreciate your son extending us the courtesy of seeing the coach he has a concern with first.

    I am not perfect, but I am the coach and it is my job to deal with any problem that affects the program. I would appreciate hearing concerns directly from your son.  I do my best to be someone who is worthy of their trust and respect to be able to approach when there is an issue.


  9. Parents may attend practice. However, it is the opinion of our coaching staff that it is not in the best interest of your son for you to do so frequently. We feel it puts undo pressure on him, but each child is different in how they handle that.

  10. Administrative Items Web Site Waiver, Prospect Sheet, Code of Conduct

  11. Web Site, E-mails

  12. Food for away games (need volunteers)

  13. Question and answer 

  14. Other ideas for parent support--signs, buttons, spirit wear pictures, having the team over to your home for meals. Please follow our priorities if the players are at your home.
  15. Locker room tour for parents and watch tonight's practice if you are able to stay for that.

We hope you have found a few items to include in your next parent meeting.  Winning the parent meeting means establishing a positive rapport that will continue throughout your season. 

The quickest way to become a winner in all aspects of your program is to learn from coaches who have accomplishes just that.  The staff of Glazier Academies is the best online mentor you will find anywhere.  Click below to find out more

Glazier Academies

This coaching lesson is taken from Glazier Academies video: Everything They Don't Tell You About Being a Coach. 

It is one of the 67+ lessons from coaches with 60+ years of combined experience for coaches of all sports and all levels

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