One of my favourite types of non-profit organizations to work with is Youth Sport Organizations. I have a long background in sport – both at the grassroots level and in elite sport, enjoying the opportunity to be both an athlete and coach. I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that sport can have on the lives of our youth, and I’ve also witnessed negative impact that unmitigated conflict can have on the sport environment.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of situations escalating to the point where parents abuse on-field officials or athletes or coaches boil over, resulting in physical altercations. However, when conflict is dealt with positively, we can help to increase performance, increase safety and enjoyment and ultimately keep individuals involved in sport, leading to health and happiness throughout the length of their lives. Surfacing and resolving conflict plays an important role in creating safe sport spaces for athletes, coaches, officials and other stakeholders involved in sport.
Within youth sport, of the main relationships that we see conflict in is the parent-coach relationship. We may see disagreements about playing time, time commitments, or coaching philosophy. At their heart, parents want what’s best for their kid, and there are several strategies that coaches can implement to help mitigate these issues.
What can coaches do?
So, the question is, what can coaches do to help deal with parent conflict? As coaches, we want to have skills and strategies to approach conflict at any point in the conflict life cycle – whether it’s before it comes up, while it is active or after it is resolved. Coaches want to be equipped to prevent, intervene in, and restore relationships after conflict.
Coaches play an important role in fostering safe sport spaces and one way we can do that is to support positive conflict resolution through prevention, intervention, and restoration. Interested in how to build these skills, or need help resolving conflict in your organization? Contact us today.