One of the reasons I was excited to embark on a new journey of coaching college as opposed to coaching at the HS level was that I no longer had to deal with parents – or so I thought.
As much as I encourage independence, parents still hover and college students still depend on their parents to get them out of a situation. I find that it's mostly the local girls, who are still living at home, whose parents do not view them as adults.
As a coach, we make decisions based on what is best for the team. Parents make decisions based on what they feel is best for their child. As a parent myself, I understand that sometimes a parent's love overrules logic or reason.
Effective communication is what will help bridge this gap between coaches and parents.
At the first team meeting – immediately after tryouts, I meet with the team and go over the rules and expectations, having each of them sign a copy, and keep a copy for themselves.
Keeping your parents and athletes informed from the very beginning helps with cooperation for the year. I provide the girls with access to the team's website, and soon after tryouts, provide them with a contact list for all coaches and everyone on the team. They know from the beginning, they can call or text me, email me, facebook me, etc… Due to technology, there is no excuse. I am always available (is that good or bad??)
Our team has an alumni committee, who designs and sends out a newsletter to alumni letting them know of the team's accomplishments and events. This year, we are also sending it to the parents, to keep them updated on the team.
It is always nice to have a couple of local parents willing to step up and help out with events such as dinner parties (so they have an opportunity to leave campus, and not have it at your house!) and any fundraising.
Keep the lines of communications open and the less likely it is that problems will arise. Also, make sure to keep the calendar on the team website updated and accurate. (I use yahoo groups). Listening skills are extremely important for a college cheerleading coach. Most of the time, all the parents or your athletes are looking for is a good listener.