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Team Policies for Parents

Team Policies for Parents

Parents can be your greatest allies; they help your team in many ways: encouraging their children, paying their children’s expenses, providing transportation, organizing awards functions, fund-raising, and serving as fans, assistant coaches, or managers. Their attitudes toward sport, both positive and negative, can make a big difference to team cooperation, spirit, and discipline.

Think about the parents of some of the athletes you have coached and how their attitudes and willingness (or lack thereof) to help affected your athletes and team. Can you recall a parent whose optimism or encouraging words persuaded a discouraged athlete to keep trying despite setbacks? How many of your athletes’ parents regularly volunteer for demanding but unrewarded roles such as laundering uniforms, transporting athletes to tournaments, assembling team records, keeping score in games, or soliciting sponsorship?

Most parents are cooperative and have balanced and a positive attitude toward sport, but the occasional disruptive or abusive parent (sometimes called the “ugly parent”) focuses attention on the inappropriate behavior of a few. You can probably recall parents who questioned your team selection criteria or felt compelled to share their ideas about team strategy, or whose overeager commentary at games verged on abuse of officials and opponents.  

How about the parent who seems to take the sport more seriously than his or her child does? Have you ever observed the devastating effect of a parent’s negative comment about his or her child’s performance? There are even extremes of parental behavior, such as parents from opposing teams who physically fight with each other, sometimes with disastrous consequences, over the outcome of a game.

In selecting your team policies for parents, you might consider the following:

  • The age and skill level of your athletes.
  • How much time do you want to spend meeting with parents?
  • How important is parental input into your team’s activities?
  • Is there a history of strong parental support or inappropriate parental behavior in your sport or organization?
  • Do parents in your school have particular expertise that might be useful?

 

SAMPLE CODES OF CONDUCT FOR PARENTS

COACH A'S CHOICES

Parental support is important; parents are encouraged to become actively involved in their children’s sport activities.  Parents of team members should understand that they are expected to act with honor and dignity at all sporting events and to show self-respect and respect for athletes, coaches, officials, and others involved in sport. They should behave in ways that are consistent with the following values:

Respectfulness

  • Act respectfully in both victory and defeat.
  • Try to use positive words when discussing my child’s performance.
  • Respect the coach.
  • Speak respectfully about athletes, coaches, and officials in front of my child.
  • Avoid using profanity or abusive language or gestures at sport activities.
  • Speak to officials or opposing players, coaches, parents, and fans only if needed and with respect.

Responsibility

  • Encourage my child to attend school and to maintain academic eligibility.
  • Consider whether the coach should be aware of any change in family circumstances that might affect my child’s punctuality or attendance at practice or games.
  • Encourage my child to take care of the team uniform and equipment.
  • Support the coach’s decisions on disciplinary action; seek to discuss with the coach any disciplinary action involving my child.

Caring

  • Encourage my child to cooperate with teammates in practice and games.
  • Encourage my child to lead a healthy lifestyle and to be fit and healthy enough to participate in sport.

Honesty

  • Be honest with the coach, the school, medical and support staff, and recruiters.
  • Encourage my child to be loyal to the team.

Fairness

  • Encourage my child to play fairly within the written rules of the sport.

Good citizenship

  • Encourage my child to strive for excellence.
  • Support the team’s rules on tobacco use and substance abuse.

 

COACH B'S CHOICES

Sport is an important part of a young person's development and education. Our team values the development of good character through sport and the principles espoused in the six  moral values: respectfulness, responsibility, caring, honesty, fairness, and  good citizenship.

As a parent of  a team member, I will act with respect and dignity and will demonstrate self-respect and act respectfully at all times toward everyone involved in sport, including athletes, coaches, other parents, support staff, officials, opponents, volunteers, and spectators. I will behave in ways that are  consistent with the  following values:

Respectfulness

  • Show respect to athletes, opponents, officials, and spectators regardless of the outcome of a competition. I will avoid excessive displays of emotion and will teach my child to respect opponents and to pursue victory with  honor.
  • Listen  to  my  child's views and  use  positive words  when  discussing his or her  participation in  sport. I will avoid  using negative words  to  criticize performance and  outcome and  will instead  praise  effort and  encourage my  child's  enjoyment and improvement.
  • Speak  respectfully about  and  avoid  criticizing  athletes, coaches, and  officials. I will accept decisions without arguing and support the  efforts of coaches, officials, and  other  athletes.
  • Respect  the  coach and trust his or her decisions about  training, game  strategy, team  selec­tion, and  discipline.
  • Make an appointment with  the  coach  if I wish  to speak  with  him  or her.
  • Discuss  with  the  coach  only  issues  relating to  my  child  and  recognize that  it is inappropri­ ate  for me to discuss  playing time, team  selection, game  strategy, training drills, and team members other  than  my  children.
  • Use positive words, even  when  being  critical, and avoid  using  vulgar or offensive language or gestures or aggressive or taunting actions or language at any  sport  activity.
  • Not talk  directly to  or give  instructions to  any  athlete, including my  own  child, at any  time during a game.
  • Not talk  directly with  officials or opposing players or coaches  at any time  before, during, or after  a game  or match.
  • Be ejected from  practice or games  and barred from  attending practice or games  if  Idisrupt practice or games  by being abusive or using  obscene  language or gestures.

Responsibility

  • Actively support my child's education and encourage him  or her to  be a student first  and to achieve academically. I will support the enforcement of team rules  on academic eligibility, including rules  on attendance and  grades.
  • Inform the  coach  of any change  in family circumstances that  might affect  my  child's  punc­tuality or attendance at practices, games, matches, or meets.
  • Share  responsibility with  my  child  for  caring  for the  team  uniform and equipment and  pay the  cost  of repairing or  replacing uniforms or equipment lost  or damaged beyond that  ex pected  by normal use.
  • Actively teach  my child  to exercise self-control in all sport-related activities; discourage my child  from displaying excessive emotion, anger, or  physical or verbal aggression; exercise self-control myself when  watching competition.
  • Accept  the  coach's  decisions on disciplinary action  without question.

Caring

  • Teach my child  to cooperate with  teammates, to demonstrate concern for them, and to sup­port them. I will teach my child to put the  needs  of the team ahead  of personal glory.
  • Ensure that  my child leads a healthy lifestyle, which  includes getting enough  sleep; eating a healthy diet; allowing time to recover from  illness  or injury; and avoiding unhealthy behav­ iors such  as smoking, drinking alcohol, and using  drugs  or banned  substances.
  • Ensure  that  my  child  is medically fit  before  joining the  team; arrange and pay for medical clearance and a physical examination of my child  by a medical practitioner, who must  certify that  my  child  is medically fit  to  participate.

 Honesty

  • Be open and  honest  with  the  coach, the  school, medical and support staff, and  recruiters. I will  volunteer relevant information and will  not  lie or withhold information.
  • Teach my  child  to  be loyal  to the  team  and to  put  the  needs  of the team ahead  of personal glory  and goals.  I will model this  behavior myself.

 Fairness

  • Actively encourage my  child  to  play  by both  the  written and  unwritten rules and within the spirit of the  rules. I will encourage my  child  to avoid  bending or knowingly breaking a  rule or cheating to gain  an advantage and will applaud fair  play and excellent performance of all players, including those  on the  opposing team.

 Good citizenship

  • Encourage my  child to continually improve and  strive for  excellence. I will focus on and acknowledge my child's efforts, improvement, and  outstanding performance regardless of outcome (e.g., winning or losing).
  • Support the  enforcement of team  rules  on tobacco  use and  substance abuse.  I will  actively discourage my  child's  use of tobacco  and  controlled substances and  will  accept  the  coach's disciplinary actions in breaches of the  team's policies  on tobacco  and substance abuse.

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