Talk to any tennis coach these days and they will quickly tell you that the biggest challenge in coaching is dealing and communicating with tennis parents.
My first tip for coaches is this.
“Master your communication skills as fast as you can”.
The best tennis coaches are really great at communicating with their players and parents.
Here are 3 tips that can help make your job more easier and less stressful.
1). Listen with a true intent to understand them.
Let me explain what happen to me.
Japanese parents are very protective and they baby their kids all through life.
So, I would always have to have these long meeting with them weekly and I wouldn’t really be listening to them during the meeting!
I started tuning them out!
Which was bad, but the problem was I wasn’t even aware of it.
Now looking back at it, I realize that they felt it too.
But, here is the funny part.
When I finally stop resisting the meeting started listening with a true intent to understand their concerns.
Our relationship got better and we became good friends.
You must make your parents feel that they are the most important person in the world when you are listening and communicating with them.
2). Harmonize with them.
This is a great analogy for this tip.
Imagine your tennis parents as being a fast train coming at YOU.
If you stand directly in front of it, it will run you over, right?
That’s the key point right there.
Coaches should never do that.
Instead, look to harmonize with them and step into their mindset and world.
3). Re-direct them.
After you have harmonize with them.
Seek to re-direct them to your point of view.
They will often follow your lead too.
Most parents and people are looking for leadership.
There are many weak energies out there and the person with the strongest one, will always need up leading the others in the pack.
You must do this in a non-direct way.
It has to be natural or they will pick up on what you are doing and will resent you.
But don’t worry.
With daily practice, you will master this way of communicating.
Let review the steps to dealing with tennis parents.
“Listen with an intent to understand them, then harmonize with them and their feelings and last, re-direct them to see it your way or whatever way is best for the team.”
You know something?
After dealing with tennis parents for more than 25 years, this 3 step process has helped me enjoy working with tennis parents and it will do the same thing for you.
This isn’t easy, you must be aware and you must also drop your coaching ego or it won’t happen.