parent coach timeout meeting, parents coaches timeout meeting, PCT meeting, youth sports problems, kid sports, youth sports, coaching youth, parent coach
PCT Meeting, Parents Coaches Meeting The PCT Meeting
Phone: 203-234-1404  Email:
Home Overview Parents Org-Leaders Kids PCT Details Resources Contact

There is an undeniable, ongoing need for 2-way communication between Parents and Coaches. For example the hockey season is 6 months long. Without a recurring periodic meeting between Parents and Coaches, can we expect unhealthy misunderstandings to develop? Yes.

These misunderstandings, caused by the season-long "communication gap" are completely unnecessary. What is needed is a structure for a simple-to-execute, periodic meeting.

The PCT provides that structure.

Glossary of PCT Terms- The list of terms used to describe and discuss the PCT process.

Frequently Asked Questions- The list of questions commonly asked by Coach and parents.

Here's what's in the PCT meeting for Coaches:

A Clear and Effective Structure for 2-Way Communication

Coaches avoid Parents as a group-- and with very good reason.

With no pre-agreed structure and no clear ground rules, a meeting with the Parent group can quickly devolve into a total gripe session. A "train wreck" meeting like that can leave a Coach feeling discouraged and possibly, very unappreciated. It is therefore logical for Coaches to avoid such meetings. However, this avoidance of Parents-as-a-group reduces essential and important communication during the season.

The PCT structure provides a clear and simple structure for a short, recurring meeting where Coaches can collect valuable feedback about the team's Parents, without giving up ANY authority.

Easy-to-Understand, Easy-to-Implement Structure

Head Coach does not need to be a manager or sociologist to run the PCT meeting effectively. The PCT is a simple set of easy-to-implement ground rules. Everyone who attends the meeting agrees to honor these ground rules. Any Head Coach, from any walk of life, can run the PCT meeting and get the benefits. It's simple, safe, and effective.

Unquestioned and Clear Authority

The Head Coach starts the PCT meeting and is in charge of running the meeting. The Head Coach starts the meeting, ends the meeting and administers ground rules.

While the Head Coach is in charge, he or she is not required to answer any questions. Instead, within a strict deadline, usually 24 hours, the Head Coach is required to distribute the written Followup. While the Parents actually do get a hearing, it is the Head Coach who is the authority at all times during the meeting, and after. After a cycle of a few meetings, Parents understand they are getting heard, while the Head Coach, as always, is fully in charge of coaching the team.

Useful Feedback from a Clear, Structured Meeting

Coached gain valuable feedback about the team from parents in a meeting that is structured and safe for the Head Coach. Coaches do not answer ANY questions during the meeting, and are not requiured to respond to feedback during the meeting. The meeting is short and structured.

During the meeting, team issues and not individual player issues are the natural topic of conversation. Coaches get information on how the parents perceive the team and the coaching staff. Coaches receive valuable non-verbal information on who is leading and following in the parent group. Coaches gain insight into individual players by gaining insight into parents.

Parents Behave as a Group, Not as Individuals

The PCT meeting forces the Parent-group to "get it together" and self-organize in preparation for each meeting. If they are disorganized as a group, the meeting is quickly over-- before the 3 questions are answered. The meeting is deliberately short to encourage the Parents to become a group-- to be a team. The PCT process focuses the Parents (at the group level) on each upcoming PCT meeting.

To self-organize around the meeting, the Parents must develop meeting goals at the group level. This means that individual concerns have lower priority than group-level concerns. In the end, this means that each Parent is now thinking at the team level, about the goals and objectives of the team as a whole, instead of just "their Child".

Any Parent who puts individual concerns above the concerns of the Parent-group-as-a-whole is not going to get much influence in that group. Through peer embarassment and other group-level mechanisms, Parents who push individual concerns find themselves marginalized in terms of voice in the group.

With the Parents operating as a group, the Head Coach can now more efficiently communicate essentials about the team to all Parents. This is accomplished through the recurring PCT meeting the written Followup issued right after the meeting.

In the end, the Head Coach is effectively given the tools to more fully understand the Parents, and therefore more fully understand the Kids. When the Parents start to think as a group, the Head Coach is in a better position to help all the Parents understand what the team is all about. Under the PCT process, the Head Coach is-- and remains-- the ultimate coaching authority for his team. The difference is the periodic "feedback loop" that helps Coaches and Parents to get in sync.

Over time the Parent group and the Coaching staff develop a shared understanding of what the team is. When this happens, the Coaches and the Parents get in sync and start to speak with one voice to the Kids.

This is the the entire point of the process. When Kids understand that Parents and Coaches are in agreement, they can safely assume the Player role with no split loyalties.

Clarity of task and Player performance naturally follow.

Relaxation, Insight and Reduced Stress

The PCT meeting reduces stress for coaches and parents by providing a structured and recurring outlet for Parents to express themselves as a group. During the meeting, Coaches do not answer questions; instead the Head Coach asks questions. This means the Coaches can relax, with no need to speak, and can carefully observe, and listen. This allows the Coaching staff to gain insight into Parents and Players. The Coaching staff also gains insight into the overall Parent group.

Parents in turn know they can express any group-level concerns to the coaching staff at the regularly scheduled meeting. Parents therefore are more likely to 'save' ad-hoc input for the next meeting. This makes the Coaching job easier.

The Coach runs the entire meeting, maintains Ground Rules, and issues written Followup. The Coach never has to answer a question, not even one time.

Once the meeting has been held a few times, Coaches and Parents know what to expect and look forward to the meeting. With each meeting, the Coaches and Parents get closer and closer to shared perception of what the team currently is, and what it is trying to be....all under the Head Coach's direction and clear authority.


Development of Shared Understanding with Parents

Coaches serve parents as volunteers. Parents explicitly delegate some authority to coaches instruct their children and develop them as athletes.

Stated objectives of coaches and actual objectives of coaches can differ. Within the coaching staff, differences of actual objectives can exist. The stated objectives of parents and actual objectives of parents can differ. The actual objectives of coaches and the actual objectives of parents can differ. Within the parent group, individual objectives for the team can vary.

None of these differences and misunderstandings are at all conducive to overall team performance.

The PCT meeting provides an opportunity to Coaches and Parents to observe each other, interact, and develop a shared perception of themselves and the team-as-a-whole. The PCT meeting provides a venue for clear, recurring, structured communication between Coaches and Parents. This tends to lead to a shared understanding and group-level learning.

Efficiency and Better Overall Team Performance

Shared perception among Coaches and Parents leads to much closer alignment of intentions for the team. A mutual perception of what the team is, shared by both Coaches and Parents, is faciliated by the recurring PCT meeting and subsequent written Followup. By using a recurring loop of feedback, the Coaches and the Parents-as-a-whole learn and adapt.

Once again, when Parents and Coaches have a shared perception of what the team is, they begin to speak with one voice to all the Kids. From there the Kids can simply relax within a single role-- a role they really want to be in-- the role of Player.

The Kids no longer have to be in the difficult position of being in the Child role and the Player role at the same time, since Parent and Coach speak with one voice.

Accelerated Player learning and a new level of overall team performance naturally follows.


Glossary of PCT Terms- The list of terms used to describe and discuss the PCT process.

Frequently Asked Questions- The list of questions commonly asked by Coach and parents.


See also:

Head Coach Role: Tasks and Boundaries


Are you using the PCT Process in your Youth Sports organization? Please contact me and tell me more-- I am keenly interested in receiving a report of your experience with the PCT Process.