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UK Coaching Team
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Rapport Building and Communicating

Building Positive Relationships with Parents

Gordon MacLelland offers some advice for coaches on how to build a harmonious relationship with parents and avoid unnecessary conflict in this two-part guide compiled by Blake Richardson

Poor parents. Not only must they bat away daily complaints from their children – “why do you never listen to my point of view?”; “why are you always telling me to be quiet?” – at weekends they can find themselves back in the firing line from coaches. Only this time it is the parents who are being told to button their lips, are criticised for having an opinion and are left feeling chastised and hard done by.

They must be fed up of fielding flak from two different directions.

Remember the grass-roots campaign Give Us Back Our Game, aimed at reclaiming children’s football from the oppressive behaviour of pushy parents? Enough articles have been written painting ‘suffocating parents’ as the bad guys that every side-line spectator must think even the most amiable of coaches is in the habit of whinging about them behind their back. 

The truth is, branding parents as controlling and overbearing is not helping anyone, not least the children, whose development can suffer as a consequence of coaches missing an obvious solution to the problem: using parents to their advantage.

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UK Coaching Team