May 10, 2017 • From the BenchWinning Hoops

A letter to communicate your philosophy to parents

by Mike Bailey, boys basketball coach, St. Patrick High School, Illinois

Basketball programs must effectively communicate to parents as a way to avoid altercations or disagreements during the season. Coach Mike Bailey, who leads the boy’s basketball team at St. Patrick High School (Illinois), does this by creating a communications plan that details his goals and expectations for the program. Below is a letter he provides for parents describing that philosophy.

Dear parents:

Just as a classroom teacher needs your support to bring out the best in your son, we also look for your help in this area.

Inevitably your son will, at some point during the season, feel frustrated or disappointed with some aspect of the program. Often this frustration is a result of a coaching decision that affects him.

If he has a question, a problem or a misunderstanding, encourage him to see us for the explanation. Avoid taking sides with him until he has discussed the situation with us, as we may be the only ones who can adequately give him a satisfactory answer. As has been explained, we will openly and clearly explain our position.

The player-coach relationship is very delicate and demands a great deal of mutual respect. We will develop our respect for him if your son deals with his problems directly with us. Parental interference can damage the relationship that we are hoping to develop. Having the player deal directly with adults is an important aspect of the maturation process. It should be encouraged at all times.

  » RELATED: Dealing with parents & playing time issues

If you wish to speak with us about a matter concerning your son’s playing performance, please remember that we will openly discuss things with you provided that common courtesy is extended. An emotional outburst or confrontation will only serve to draw us apart. Ultimately, your son will sense the lack of cooperation between his parents and coaches, and tend to lose his interest for what we are hoping to accomplish. It is critical that we work together on your son’s behalf—it is of no benefit to him if we pull against each other. Encourage your son’s relationship with us; He wants and needs your constant support and approval.

We fully understand and appreciate how much you want your son to play his best. However, it is important that you leave all the coaching to us. As professionals in the field of basketball coaching, we know what is best for your son’s and our team’s improvement. We know our coaching profession just as well as a parent knows his profession or trade. In your eagerness to see him do well, you may suggest to him to do just the opposite of what we have instructed him to do. Naturally, this results in confusion and leads to poor performance.

In your son’s best interest, trust that we are experts in our field and allow him the benefit of playing the game one way—the coach’s way. We have spent years studying the best ways to teach the game. This is carried over in our teaching of sound principles of basketball play. Our previous history of coaching success bears this out.

Finally, remember that parental support is of the utmost value in the important task of helping your son do his very best. One or two parents thinking negatively can do a great deal of harm to the entire basketball program.