Coach Communication: Parents and Players

Dan Arel

Dan Arel is the Director of Coaching Education and Development for the San Diego Oilers and head coach of their 12U A team. He was also named the 2020 San Diego Gulls Foundation's Coach of the Year. You can email him at [email protected]

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At the start of the season, have a team meeting that includes players AND parents. That's where the communication will begin.
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One of my favourite Virtual Hockey Summit presentations in recent years came from Troy Ward and St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube about the importance of communication.

Regardless of the level, communicating with players is the only way they know what you want from them, what you expect from them, and how they can engage in their own development process with the coaching staff. It also allows you to build relationships with the players, which is just as vital as teaching them.

Yet, in youth hockey you don’t only communicate with the player, you also must communicate with their parents or guardians. Many coaches I have met over the years try to limit their communication directly with parents. They utilize a team manager or team parent to send out important information, organize events, and keep the parent/coach communications to a minimum. This can be as simple as “they’re working hard,” or “they did great today.” Superficial comments that keep parents happy, but not engaged.

At the start of the season, have a team meeting that includes players AND parents. That's where the communication will begin . . .

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