Thursday, April 23, 2015

Guest Blog Post: Jim Harshaw

One of the most difficult issues in sports is being able to communicate and build relationships with parents. When I first began coaching I had now clue what this would entail. It is one of the most important things we must do as coaches.  I have screwed up many times in my dealings with parents, and each time is a valuable learning experience.

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Jim Harshaw about a book he has written called Dealing Successfully With Parents. Coach Harshaw has coached at every level of sports, and brings an outstanding perspective to this important issue. Jim has shared a guest post, and I have also included a link to his TED Talk. He offers tremendous insight that you can use to build stronger relationships with parents.

By: Jim Harshaw

Surveys show that dealing with parents is one of the top most time consuming and frustrating tasks that coaches deal with on a regular basis. 

Having coached for 15 years from youth through Division I, I've spent countless hours researching best practices on dealing with parents. I've read books and blogs, listened to audio podcasts and talked with dozens of coaches about it. Here's what I've found: it all boils down to communication and education. 

While these are simple concepts here are some practical solutions that you can use right away. 
  1. Let Them Talk: Many parents just want to be heard and by letting them talk without interruption you satisfy that need. Acknowledge that you've heard them and will consider their point of view and move on with your day. 
  2. Admit When You're Wrong: We all make mistakes. When we see a public figure make a mistake and try to explain it away or cover it up, we lose respect and end up talking poorly about them and even trying to undermine their authority. When they apologize and face the issue head-on, we are far more willing to give them slack and a second chance. It's the same with you. 
  3. How to Be a Sports Parent: Parents react with emotion instead of logic because they never took a class on how to be a good sports parents. It's your job to teach them things like how to be supportive at home, what kind of nutrition they should be providing and what kind of feedback is actually helpful for you. It will not only minimize the issues you have to deal with but also maximize the performance of your athletes.  
Get many more tips and tactics as well as worksheets and templates in the Dealing Successfully with Sports Parents ebook. Access to this proactive guide will help you spend less time reacting to criticism, responding to emails and looking over your shoulder... and more time coaching. Download Coach Harshaw's Book Here

This is a guest post by Jim Harshaw. In addition to learning how to deal successfully with parents as a youth, high school and college coach, Jim Harshaw learned many life lessons on the wrestling mat. He was a 3X ACC Champion for the University of Virginia, trained at the Olympic Training Center and competed overseas for Team USA. He lives in Charlottesville, Va with this wife Allison and four children. 

Here is a link to order Coach Harshaw's Book: Dealing Successfully With Parents

Here is a link to Coach Harshaw's TED Talk...

Coach Harshaw is more than an outstanding speaker, he is also a very good coach who cares about the success of his athletes away from sport. He has great advice for coaches of all levels. I have screwed up many times, and this information will help me to be a better coach.

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