Survey Summary High School Coach & Athletic Directors

Over 3,000 high school coaches and athletic directors have responded to a nationwide survey conducted by Growing Great Relationships (GGR) in cooperation with the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA). The purpose of the survey is to seek to understand what coaches and athletic directors see as their greatest needs concerning coach-parent and coach-athlete communication and relationships. GGR and NHSCA will use the results to design trainings and programs that address the identified needs.

The first section of the survey addressed issues surrounding parents of athletes. The first question asked coaches about their greatest concerns dealing with parents. Over 50% indicated the over involved parent as their number one concern.

The second question asked coaches what they think parents are most concerned about. Overwhelmingly, almost 80% reported the child’s amount of playing time as their perception of a parent’s biggest issue.

The next question asked coaches what are the most difficult parents. Athlete “Wanabees” were identified by 55% of the respondents.

Coaches were then asked what parents should do to support them. Over 70% indicated keeping them informed of personal difficulties their child was having at home. This was followed by 63% asking parents not to use social media or to gossip about the team or the coach’s expertise. Athletic directors responses were similar but with different percentages. Almost 73% ranked not using social media or gossip about the team as the most important.

The second section of the survey asked coaches about their greatest concerns about their relationships with their athletes. The first question asked coaches about the challenges they face communicating with student athletes. Almost 58% indicated an athlete receiving contradictory advice from parents and other coaches/advisors. This was followed closely with 55% stating an athlete’s inflated belief about his/her ability. Athletic Director responses were similar but with somewhat different percentages. The greatest response, 70%, was the athlete receiving contradictory advice.

The second question asked the coaches for other factors interfering with their relationships with their student athletes. The factor indicated by 58% of coaches was an athlete over burdened with competing school demands (clubs, academics). For this particular question, the response from the Athletic Directors closely matched the coaches.

Athletic Directors were asked that in their role what their greatest concerns dealing with parents and athletes. The most frequent answer by 76% of athletic directors was parents bypassing coaches to complain directly to them.

In addition almost 500 coaches and athletic directors wrote in additional concerns not identified in the survey questions that they have in their ability to communicate and work with athletes and their parents.

In response to what we have learned, GGR in conjunction with NHSCA are recommending school districts join the Coach/Athlete/Parent Partnership – CAP PACT initiative to promote the most productive relationships among athletes, coaches and parents.

The CAP PACT™ will promote those values and practices that can be put in place that ensures mutual respect, effective communication and strong partnerships so needed to make the athletic experience fulfilling for all concerned.

More detailed information can be found in our Survey Report. Click here to access that report.