If you coach young athletes, one of your major roles is to deal with the parents
of the athletes that you coach. It is a role that cannot be ignored, sidestepped
or trivialized. To be fully effective, you should approach this role in an
organized, comprehensive, professional and up-front manner.
One strategy that can be used to achieve this is to develop what I will term a "Coaching Information Kit." A Coaching Information Kit (CIK) is a handout that aims to inform parents about all important aspects of your coaching operation. To be most effective, it should be handed to a parent on their initial inquiry about your coaching, and/or sent home with your athletes on the very first day of practice.
The process of developing and using a CIK has a number of benefits:
IT FORCES YOU TO GET ORGANIZED
The process of developing a CIK is as important as the product. It makes you think extensively about how you want your coaching to operate and the type of details you need to provide to parents. Having all of the information in writing means that each parent receives the same information and there is less chance of you forgetting to communicate some of the details.
DEVELOPING AN INFORMATION KIT
Below are some major pieces of information that you will want to consider including in your CIK.
Coaching Mission Statement
Your Coaching Background
Coaching Philosophy and Individual and Team Goals
Athlete Training Progression
Organization and other information
THE COACHING MISSION STATEMENT
Your coaching mission statement is your formal statement of purpose as a coach,
for your athletes and for the team. It focuses on what you want to be and what
you want to do as a coach. It is the key criterion by which everything you do
with your coaching is evaluated.
To develop your coaching mission statement:
List your most important coaching-related values (up to twenty). Examples may include: fun, positive experiences, leadership, full potential, growth, improvement, healthy lifestyle, etc.
Narrow these down to the seven most important to you. If you could only have seven, which ones would they be?
Craft a statement based on these values until it reflects your coaching. It
should be strong and clear. It is not something you usually write overnight; it
may take many sittings and many revisions over days, weeks or months. Persist
for at least half an hour at the first sitting, then revisit it the next day.
NOTE: Your coaching mission statement is not set in stone. You may add to and alter it as appropriate.
Include here all of your coaching qualifications and experiences, including your non-track background. It is nice for parents to know who you are and what you have done.
COACHING PHILOSOPHY AND GOALS
Some people use "philosophy" and "mission statement" interchangeably, however I believe that, while your coaching philosophies should reflect your mission statement, there are subtle but important differences. Your coaching philosophies are principles or beliefs that reflect how you actually coach, e.g., "All young athletes should avoid early specialization."
Don't forget any general or specific team goals you might have and goals regarding individual development. Make these goals challenging, but realistic (achievable).
ATHLETE TRAINING PROGRESSION
This provides parents with some idea about how you plan to progress the young athlete as he/she advances during his/her prep career. It provides information about what they will be doing each year and how this fits into the overall picture. It is very important to provide parents with a "big picture" and educate them to look long-term.
ORGANIZATION AND OTHER INFORMATION
This is the nuts and bolts of your coaching. some elements to include are:
How practice sessions are organized
When, where, what time and for how long you train
What to bring
What to do if an athlete cannot attend
What happens in very hot or wet weather
What if an athlete is sick or injured
Expected athlete behavior
Discuss here the relationship and respect between coach and athlete, what will be expected in terms of ordinary courtesy, reliability, attitude, etc.:
Include here relevant phone numbers and even a postal address. The parent should know how to contact the coach, and vice versa.
FROM: TRACK COACH 163