3 Tips to Develop Players, Parents & Coach Relationships

In this blog we analyse how important the Players, Parents & Coach Relationships are and how you can develop this with 3 top tips. As a coach, often we are placed in difficult situations due to the nature of football, winning and losing.

As a result, if we do not support and educate parents on HOW/WHAT you’re trying to create within your environment you could be potentially limiting how much learning could be taking place.

The three key people in the relationship when dealing with players are the Players, Parents & Coach. See 3 Tips below:

Tip One: Player’s come first…

The FA have followed the coaching method of a ‘Player Centered approach’, which places the player at the forefront of the decisions of coaches. In doing so, this enables coaches to make sure that any decisions that they make; whether it’s what position they play or how much game time they may have, coaches are able to justify and feel confident they’ve done everything to help support each individual child. This is crucial to ensure that parents know you’re fully onboard to do all that you can support their child in their development through football.



The mindset I urge coaches to have when working with children in the Foundation Age Groups (5-11) and older, is to be development focused. Do not deter from the process of what you feel is best for each child, through the nature of the game i.e. results etc. Look at each individual and think… “What do they need? What are they best at? How can I help?” By having a mindset focused on development, this will ensure that any decisions you make are always with the best intention to help support that child.

To ensure that there is a consistent and clear message for the child and parent, I would encourage coaches to create a way of providing players with a visual plan (age appropriate) which may have some targets and an action plan on how to meet them. Involve parents and players in this and agree upon how you’re as a coach going to help support that child.

Each ‘Individual Development Plan’ will really help support you to focus and refocus your thoughts on how you’re going to support each child in training and in games. By providing this plan and reviewing this with the player and parents however often you decide, it will give you an opportunity to really hone in the work you’ve been doing to support that child’s needs, but also look at how you may change this as they develop.

Player, Parents & Coach Relationships

Tip Three: Parental EDUCATION

We’ve all had those thoughts on how to deal with parents and whether you should keep them informed on every single decision. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether you should or just keep them at arm’s length. My belief is the later may make your life easier, but it certainly won’t help to align how you’re going to help the child whilst their under your care. Parent education can be daunting, opening yourself to all sorts of criticism and questions, however, honesty and clarity are behaviours that parents will respect and appreciate.

My advice is to be upfront on how/what you’re trying to do within your environment (share with them any coaching documents, code of conduct etc). This will make sure there is clarity on how you work and what you’re going to try to achieve. How to do this? Think about providing them with regular parent meetings with individuals and whole groups of parents to remind and refocus them on everything that you and your club is about. Standing on the other side of the pitch as a parent, they won’t all be thinking like you. However, the consistent messages of how you work and what you’re trying to do will only help support in creating a positive environment.

A parent & player code of conduct is essential in this, to give clear rules and guidance on how you wish to work as a coach to give the best learning environment. Stick to these and do not deviate away to make sure that there are sanctions if conduct breaks this.

Key points of the Player, Parent & Coach Relationship:

  1. Make sure you put the player’s development, safety and welfare first
  2. Focus on the PROCESS and not the outcome
  3. Be clear on how you work and how you will help each child develop
  4. Provide educational workshops to educate parents on how you work
  5. Involve parents in discussions about their child’s development in regular meetings


Lastly, to help shape the above, involve both Parents and Players in everything that you do. By providing them with a voice on how they wish for the environment to be, what behaviours and conduct you expect, with ownership given to them and by having them involved in the process, you’ll be in a stronger position to create something that everyone really believes in.