• Identify expectations. Every coach is different; some may want you to take over everything administrative, others may just need your help in a few areas. Whether you’ve volunteered for the position or you’ve been asked, the first thing you need to know is what exactly does Coach want and expect of you.
• Take as much as possible off the coach’s plate. Your child’s coach may hesitate to ask you for too much help because, after all, you are a busy sports parent. But your job is to free Coach up so that she can do the job of coaching your child’s team. So a little gentle persuasion may be necessary. I’d really like to take that off your plate so that you can focus on the kids, why don’t you let me do that? This does not mean, however, that you do everything yourself; it merely means that you become a very good delegator and recruit other parents to help.
• Be the Coach’s ally. This does not mean that you agree with everything he does, but it does mean that he knows you will not turn on him or talk to others about him behind
his back. He trusts that you will come to him with problems, instead of talking to everyone else about them.
• Handle conflicts correctly. This ties into being an ally of the coach, but it also means that when conflicts arise—and they will!!—you show other parents the proper way to resolve them. Whether you like it or not, you will be looked to as a leader and if other parents see you handling a situation in a positive, supportive way, they will be more likely to follow suit.
• Thank the coach. Even though a coach doesn’t do her job for the accolades, she still loves hearing the word “thank you” throughout the season and especially at the end. As the team parent, be sure that your coach is given a thank-you gift at the end of the season.
As a coach’s wife for 3 decades, I saw my husband work with a variety of team parents, and the ones that made his job the easiest were the ones that truly cared about the kids on the team, the ones that let him be the coach, and the ones that released him from details so he could focus on coaching kids. If you can do that as a team parent, you will not only be aiding the coach, you will be helping the entire team have a better season.