The first parent meeting of the year is always exciting for minor hockey coaches. It’s a chance to share our philosophies, our goals, and our chosen methods for working with the players. The hype train is about to leave the station, so this meeting is the first and best chance to invite everyone on board.
So, in light of my approach to these meetings, you can imagine my dismay when, about 10 years ago, one particular meeting flew off the proverbial rails. It was a chilly Saturday morning and instead of being greeted with like-minded support, my coaching staff was immediately accosted with complaints about ice time and roles within the team – before the season started!
“This happens every year,” my assistant coach said for everyone to hear, and I knew what was coming next.
“The parents ruin everything.”
Like every early-season hockey meeting, this one began with the best intentions: to remind parents that we support them as stakeholders in their children and we plan on being transparent in our decisions, but we also needed them to be stakeholders in the team and support the collective group. Because, as we all know, not all of those decisions will work out.
Part of the parents’ interference is understandable; they make the financial commitment, they devote time and energy and in some cases, they expect a return on their investment.
But let’s stop right there. Just what is it, exactly, they think they’re investing in?
Parent support is paramount. It’s what drives the attitudes of the players while they’re with the team.
However, parent support is different than parent involvement.
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