Association's Parent Meeting
In addition to educating coaches about the game and player development, associations should work to educate parents. Several associations have recommended holding a parents meeting at the start of the season. During this meeting association officers discuss the philosophy of the association, parent expectations, and also explain other important topics such as the weather hotline or specific events.
Coach's Parent Meeting
Coaches are also advised to meet either formally or informally with parents. In order to ensure that every child has a parent present, it is a good idea to meet either at the first practice or before the start of the first game. The coach should discuss his/her personal coaching philosophy, ask for any help managing the team or coaching, get parents' cell phone and emails, as well as go over the practice and game schedules. In the past talking with parents at the start of the season about expectations for them and their children has proven highly effective in reducing questions and problems during the season.
Parents' Code of Conduct
Many associations will create parents' code of conduct. Sometimes this is given out to individual parents and they are asked to sign. Other times one parent from each player is asked to read and sign the team's form.
Sample Team Form
Sample Parent Slideshow (PowerPoint Presentation)
Game day is a great time for parents to learn more about the laws of the game. Associations can ask referees prior to the game or at half time to go over a different set of rules each week with parents on the sidelines. Although more experienced referees are more comfortable doing this, associations can provide a weekly sheet of laws for the referee to address. If associations inform the parents of this talk, it may give less experienced referees the confidence to address the parents.
Each month US Youth Soccer posts a monthly newsletter for parents on their webpage. The short newsletter also has a featured article that is a great resource for parents. The parents' resource page can be found at http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/ Below are links to a few of the articles. Coaches and associations should try to get this information out to their parents.
Game Day by Tom Goodman: Gives information concerning situations kids may face and what parents can say.
Top Ten Sport Parenting Myths by Rick Wolff: Disputes some of the misinformation that is given to parents with regards to player development.
Parental Involvement in Youth Sports by Sean P. Cumming & Martha E. Ewing: Details the parents' role in youth sports and some of the current issues with parents that have arisen.
The FA Parents Page
The FA launched a Respect campaign aimed at positive behavior at games for parents. There are also a number of excellent articles involving player development. Many of the links are on the pictures at the bottom of the page.
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