Good or poor communication is typically held up as a root cause for successful or unsuccessful groups/teams/relationships/etc. The problem therein is that communication is such a broad topic that it’s hard for a coach to act on the directive of having “good communication with parents”. After I looked back at all the best seasons I’ve experienced with parents, here are the commonalities that I noticed:
- Introductory email – Provide a bit of background about the coaches and what the parents can expect for the season from you. Template here.
- Meet Your Team Day – Use this as an opportunity for your team to get to know you and each other in a fun and relaxed way. Sample agenda here.
- Pre-practice email – Mainly for housekeeping. Go over the equipment needed. Remember that you need to collect registration forms from EVERY player before they can practice. Refer your parents here if they need instructions. Template here.
- First practice player meeting – A 15 minute chance to set your tone for the season. Sample agenda here.
- First week recap – Provide some initial feedback on what you’ve covered at practice and how they’re progressing towards your goals as a team. Template here
- Preseason email – Here is where I like to formally set some expectations around parent roles and responsibilities, behavioral expectations, etc. Template here
- First game recap – How did they do against your objectives (it’s not about the score). What positives did you note? Template here.
- Monthly updates – How did they do against your last month’s objectives. What are this month’s objectives the team will be focused on. Template here
- Half season “gathering” – This is a casual get together in or around a practice. This is mainly about letting your team bond and have fun together though. More on this here.
- Season recap – Layout everything they’ve accomplished over the year and include some fun observations. Template here.
- “Last Practice” Celebration – Your chance for you and players to end the season on a high note no matter their record for the year. Ideas here.
Over the course of 4 months this translates to a small amount of time each week. But it will have an outsized result in your families recognizing all the great work you’ve been doing for their children and should head off some of the common issues coaches face. It is also the key to how you will bring parents into your team’s culture.