This is the second part of a four part series about 5 Non X and O Training Camp Outcomes.
My first August Training Camp as a Head Coach was in 2003. I was 27 years old. I was at that school for two years as a varsity asst/head JV coach. I was in a VERY interesting situation with the parents. Here I had been their son’s only head football coach for most of them. For the juniors and sophomores I had been their head JV coach. So I knew many of the parents pretty well. But what made my situation interesting was that I had the son of the principal, the son of the Athletic Director, and the son of the Superintendent all on my team!! That’s an interesting situation to be in. On one hand, we had a lot of support. On the other hand, we were under a bigger microscope than most staffs.
I’ll never forget my first practice ever as a Head Football Coach. It was a morning practice, and it was hot! Well, the Superintendent (mom to one of my players) sent a message through the AD that the kids were running too much. This was a pretty frustrating message to get obviously. Was she saying this as a mom, or a Superintendent?!
Gaining parent support during your August camp is imperative to a season functioning right with the parents. Some of you don’t need to worry about what parents think at all. You have already earned their trust and respect, and can do anything you want to without the fear of losing parental support. Some of you are so well protected by the admin surrounding you that it doesn’t matter what parents think. And some of you might be out after this season if the parents don’t like the job you do. I’ve worked in private schools, and public schools. I’m connected with many coaches nationwide. I know that every situation is different, every situation.
However, I would encourage every coach to garner the support of the parents in the program. It will only help you in the long run. I’ve had great relationships with the parent group, and I’ve had sour relationships with the parent group. I can tell you this, when you win the relationship is usually good, and when you lose, well you know the end of that story.
Earning parent support during training camp can help the rest of your season run smooth. Tick off the parents at the beginning of the season, during camp, and you are behind the eight ball all year.
A few ideas to get parent support during August Training Camp:
- Have a parent meeting where you communicate the expectations for your program. This is extremely important to do each season.
- Have a barbeque after your parent meeting where you can talk with many of the parents one on one, get to shake their hands, etc.
- Have some open practices. If you don’t always have “open” practices then open some up during Training Camp. This will help build trust with the parents, and they will get to see how hard your job really is.
- Have a Father/Son Pancake Breakfast before practice one morning. I’ve done this a few times, and it is a great experience. I bring in a speaker to talk to the group, have some sort of script for dads and sons to talk about one on one. For many dads, they need this 20 minutes to spend time one on one with their kid. The parents in your program will appreciate this part of the program.
- If you don’t have a Booster Club going yet, start one. I have some articles on this site about Booster Clubs.