Saturday, April 28, 2012

Working With Parents

Parents want what is best for their kids.  It is that simple.  They don’t want surprises and they need to know they’re safe.  Some parents didn’t have the opportunities that their kids are getting now.  Some had more opportunities than their kids are getting.  Some parents don’t value extracurricular activities and some know the importance of the WHOLE high school experience.  You will have some of all of these types of parents on your team.  Some want to be involved and some just want to drop off and pick up.  Whatever the case and whatever the attitude, as a coach, we have to figure out how to deal with them all.  They are not all going to be happy all the time, but if they feel informed and somewhat involved, they will be content.

Make sure the parents all know and understand what your philosophy is as a coach and what the expectations of them and their children are.  They need to know that you care about their child and how to contact you if they need to talk about their child.

Some coaches prefer their cheer parents to have little to no involvement with the teams.  No coaching, no helping out directly with the team whatsoever.  This can be good for drama issues.  You don’t have to hear the phrase “She only gets to do that because her mom is the coach!”  You don’t have the worry of coach/parent/athlete distractions.  This also means that unless you have an amazing staff of outside assistant coaches you are all on you own!

If you are not sure if you want parent involvement, start small.  Allow parents to help but in ways that don’t directly involve coaching.  Give tasks and small jobs, not coaching responsibilities.  This will allow them to be involved without the issues of coaching.  Once you start building great parent support, you can add jobs and duties to your willing parents.

Parent Boosters
This can be set up in a way that the parents take on all the fundraising and travel.  They would choose a president, set up a board and have a mission and goals.  Much like that of the school boosters.  This works best in a large team setting.  Teams that spend money on traveling to competitions and work on competitions use boosters often.  It takes much of the pressure off the coach to organize and keep track of the fundraising and travel for competitions.  Smaller teams may not need an entire booster club.

The rest of the jobs can be used in the booster setting or just choose a few for the parents to participate with.  Make sure that all final decisions are cleared by the coach before given to the team. 

Communication Chair
This person would be in charge of contacting all cheerleaders and parents, informing them of schedules, changes, and other need-to-know information.  They can call, text or email the information. Choose someone that can convey information without gossiping.

Transportation Chair
If you are in a district that doesn’t provide transportation or your group is required to find its own way to games and competitions you can have a parent that could be in charge of making the arrangements for travel.  They would be responsible for contacting the parents that will car-pool and discussing the details.  They could also be in charge of renting vans and finding drivers, if that is something your team does. 

Fundraising Chair
This person would be in charge if taking the budget and organizing enough fundraisers to pay for uniforms, travel fees, competition fees, etc.  They would be in charge of researching ideas, setting up fundraisers, locations, distributing information to the teams, and collecting money.  This person should have a good understanding of the team dynamic and what will benefit the team the most.  Choose a trustworthy person with a good grasp of accounting or has a background in accounting.

Party Chair
This person would coordinate all squad-bonding activities for the season.  Ideas would include slumber parties, holiday parties, pre-game meals, tailgate parties, and the end of year banquet.  You could also have them organize any bowling, skating, or team outings.

Snack Parent
This parent would be in charge of providing the team with nutritious snacks during the games and competitions.  They can set up the water station or bring bottled water for the team.

Publicity Chair
This parent would write and distribute press releases about the squad to the local media.  They would call upon the local media to do stories about the cheerleaders.  They would also be in charge of finding community events where the team can perform and or volunteer their time.

Competition Chair
This person gets information about all the competitions, completes the needed paperwork and keeps a copy of the music needed for routine.  They would also communication to parents about the competitions, entry fees and spectator fees.  He or she would distribute lists of the items the cheerleaders need to bring to all competitions.

Scrapbook Chair
They would collect photos from the cheerleaders during the year, memorabilia from each event ad makes a scrapbook for the end-of-the-year party.  They can make color copies for the cheerleaders as a gift or for the parents to purchase.

The parent tapes all events and puts together a video of the last party of the year.

The photographer takes pictures of events, practices, games, fundraisers, etc throughout the year and coordinates with the Scrapbook Chair.

Parent coordination takes some trial and error to find a groove that works for you.  Make sure your are choosing parents that buy into the philosophy and will not infringe on your coaching and what is best for the team.


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