In Chapter 6 of my book, Coaching Made Easier, titled “Parents -How to Keep Them on Your Side and Out of Your Hair” I spend a great deal of time on the art of communicating to the parents of your players. As in any endeavor, proper communication is key to a smooth running organization. This is true in the corporate board room and on the ball field. Just as a well oiled team of executives has to be on the same page so does your team. Everyone has different ways that they like to be communicated with so this chapter takes you through a variety of different ways. Finding which ways works best for your particular group of parents may take some trial and error.
The various options discussed in my book are:
- Web Site
Each of these methods are presented in detail in this chapter but the bottom line is that you can’t over communicate. Despite my anal attention to detail and communication, and despite disseminating information in all of the above methods, I would inevitably have little Johnny’s mother come up to me, look me square in the eye and tell me that she didn’t know the practice time had been changed. Don’t ever expect to have parents get the message by communicating it one time – they are not dense, they simply have too much information coming their way.
Since my book was written there have been a couple of other methods that have come onto the scene. I want to thank my good friend and fellow coach, Bob Starnes for contributing these ideas to me. There a web solution to assist you with your communication chores. This offers an easy to use communication method for any group: church, civic, sports teams or whatever. You can tour the site and learn more about it at: http://www.callingpost.com/default.asp . Basically, you set up every parents’ cell or home number in the on line calling post. You then have an 800 number as a coach you call to give the message (usually 30 seconds) and it is sent to all phones on the list within 1 minute. It will redial a certain number of times until an answering machine or person answers. It does not call anyone prior to 9am or after 9pm. You can see on line who got the call, where an answering machine picked up or no answer. It cost 5 cents per person called – a pretty cheap method for quick/dependable communications.
Another, more modern method is to do a mass text message. You set them up in your phone and it sends a text to everyone. If you have limited text messages on your phone like 250 or someone like my wife who doesn't have text, this method won't work. But as this form of communication grows among our children, texting will become a more common, convenient, inexpensive and reliable way to get messages out to your team.
Let me repeat that you should not rely on any one method – the more times a message is delivered the more likely it will be received. Make sure that your message is consistent and accurate regardless of the method of delivery. Another caution is to make sure that only one person is communicating – mixed/different messages will cause a tremendous amount of confusion and chaos within your team. The key words to happy parents are: communication, communication, communication!