Introducing yourself as a coach to parents is one of the early tone-setting exercises that begins to shape your team's youth sports season, for better or worse.
"I always send an email out before the season letting parents know a little bit about me," says youth sports coach Nick Buonocore, founder of the Reformed Sports Project. "A little about me and my expectations for the season."
Set ground rules in your introduction email to parents
Do this in writing first.
"I preface the email with a little bit of my own background of athletic experience as a player and a coach, to show them this isn't my first rodeo, I know what I'm doing and I know how to coach."
"In writing, I tell parents to keep in mind these kids are 9, 10 or 11, or whatever the age is," says Nick. "So I say we're not just chasing wins here."
"I tell them my goal is to work to have every kid prepared so that if I can play them at each position, I'm gonna do it."
"The introduction email is just about just putting those things out there to the parents."
Here's a sample coach introduction letter/email to parents to help get you started.
Reinforce ground rules at the first practice of the season
Nick meets the parents at the fence during first practice.
"That's when again I share a little about me, a little bit about what we're looking to do and some ground rules," says Nick.
"I tell them, 'Let's not get carried away with yelling from the sidelines this year. I'm a parent six times over so I know how enthusiastic you are - I get enthusiastic too. But as parents, we're not gonna coach through the fence."
"You're not gonna stand out here and scream on the field. Resist the urge to coach through the fence."
"Resist the urge to coach through the fence."
"So I really address those things in front of the parents in our meeting, let them know up front."
Establish your own ground rules then communicate them in person at the first practice of the season.
This is when parents are most appreciative, excited and receptive.
Limit communication with parents to your team communication app
The key to successful communication with parents is clearly defining when and how they can reach you.
Here's where Heja's team communication and scheduling app comes in.
Eliminate the need to check emails, WhatsApp groups, group chats and text messages from parents.
By streamlining all coach-parent communication inside Heja, you can find out who is available to play, share all relevant team information, and handle all parent questions in one place.
"My communication process is: I'm gonna communicate with you twice a week," says Nick. "After we play a game like, 'Hey, great job tonight. We'll see everyone at practice next Thursday at 2 o'clock. Thank you and any questions'."
"It's letting parents know you're there. You can be reached. But having boundaries. I think that's important."