h) Top 9 Ways to Positively Engage Parents at your Club

Parent support is imperative to ensure a positive experience for all involved in your club including players, coaches, volunteers and other parents.  Parent support can be the difference between a great experience and negative one.

Below are some great ways to keep the culture of your club positive and ensure all parents remain engaged.


1.       Create a clear communication strategy with parents

In all of our tips for positively engaging parents, communication plays a vital role.  Having a clear and defined communication policy ensures that your efforts have the maximum impact and are inclusive of all members and families.

It is a great idea to use a number of different mediums, for example, social media and email, to ensure all families are reached.

These may include things like;

–          Inviting families into a private Facebook group to post communications.

–          Having an email list to send out communications.

–          Ensuring phone numbers are listed for each player for texting or calling.

–          Using the club room notice board.

Whichever strategy is chosen, parents will need to be informed, to ensure they can take responsibility for receiving your club’s communications.


2.       Ensure parents are fully informed about your Participation Policy and Values

Whether your club is striving to win or supporting equal participation it is important that the parents are fully informed.  This clear communication provides parents with the opportunity to make choices in the best interest of their child.

Having your Participation Policy and Club’s Values clear also helps to alleviate pressure sometimes placed on coaches by enthusiastic or frustrated parents.  It also provides the club with a reference point when speaking with parents if questioned about their child’s involvement in the game.


3.        Define your team’s goals and keep parents updated

Defining goals for your teams helps parents to understand coaching and club decisions.

Short communications throughout the year, ensures that parents feel informed about their child’s progress.  Addressing how the team are going, what they are currently working on during training and goals during games can help to avoid parents making incorrect assumptions and feeling confused.  This keeps parents positive and united.


4.       Ensure there is clear communication with players

Parents will often react emotionally based on the feelings and reactions of their child.  If a player feels valued and understands the decisions made by the coach they are more likely to leave feeling good about themselves.

It is vital that the coach is clear with every player about why decisions are made, in a nurturing and supportive way.  Giving each player individual goals to strive for, keeps them motivated and ensures the player knows what to work on to keep improving.


5.       Induct parents into your club’s culture

One of the most exciting times for young players is getting their uniform and becoming part of a team.  Parents are also part of this journey and too appreciate being part of a community.  Holding social nights and other functions can be a great way to help parents create friendships at the club.

Other ideas can include things like a social media page for your club.  It is important however, when using social media that your club committee monitor this constantly to ensure all posts are in line with your club’s values.

When providing opportunities for Parents to grow relationships it is also important to be inclusive of all families and ensure it is communicated clearly.


6.       Include parents in the responsibilities of running your club

Not all parents have the time but for those that do, including them into the running of your club provides a great sense of ownership and pride.  From helping at the canteen to being club secretary, any role, small or large can help parents to feel more involved.

An involved parent is likely to be a strong supporter of your club and creates an additional reason to support their child to remain active within your club.


7.       Ensure there is a clear and open procedure for any concerns to be raised

When dealing with young players and parents there will be times when parents may have concerns.  Dealing with these as soon as possible is key to ensuring the culture of the club remains positive.  A negative parent can cause a lot of damage when talking with other families both within the club and externally.

Outlining to all families the policy for raising concerns is extremely important so they know who to contact and how, if needed.


8.       Ensure parents are informed about expectations of behaviour and Code of Conduct

When issues do arise, it is important to have a clear Code of Conduct for both players and parents.  This outlines the expectations of behaviours and should be communicated as members are joining your club.  It not only helps to guide behaviour but also gives your club a document to refer to during any difficult discussions.


9.       Allocate a Committee Member to follow up any issues

Any issues or communications are best to be followed up in person or if necessary on the phone, and in a timely manner.  Emails and letters can be very easily misinterpreted and can lead to a more emotionally charged issue than it needed to be.  Diffusing issues as soon as they arise ensures that the issue isn’t repeated and doesn’t get blown out of proportion.

It is important to ensure that your club has a committee member that is confident to speak with parents on behalf of your club and has the skills to rationally diffuse sometimes emotional situations.