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PCT Meeting, Parents Coaches Meeting The PCT Meeting
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How does a Coach kick off the PCT Process?

The PCT Process is a procedure with a set of ground rules and roles. The Coach needs to make sure every Parent understands the process, meeting and roles at least 2 weeks before the 1st meeting.

What's in it for the PLAYERS? How does PCT make hockey more fun for the kids?

The PCT encourages Parents, Organizations and Coaches to team up for the kids, so they can have FUN in ONE role: the role of Player. The design of the PCT encourages this. The problem to solve is the duel-role situation ... where the kid is both Child (of Parent) and Player (of Coaches Team). The kids need to know that they can occupy ONE role (Player) and have healthy relationship with Parents and Coach. PCT strongly encourages this.

How?

PCT encourages the single role of Player for all the kids. This is accomplished by getting Parents and Coaches talking in a structured way. That formal communication between the Parent group and Coaching staff encourages cooperation and collaboration towards the stated goal: more FUN for the kids. When Parents and Coaches are talking, understanding is the result and the kids benefit when Parents and Coaches have a shared understanding.

I am a Coach and I am not a professional manager of people. Am I going to be able to run these PCT meetings?

Yes. The structure is clear, the roles are completely defined, and there is no ambiguity. The meeting is short and you the Coach do not need to answer ANY questions. In fact the Coach is required to ASK questions and never answer ANY questions at this meeting. PCT is simple and anyone can do it in the Coach role.

What if some parents choose to not participate?

PCT meeting attendance by parents is optional; for Coach it is required. If a parent chooses to not attend, that is their choice. However, "not attending" also means that the absent parent is explicitly choosing to disengage from this aspect of team life. That means they are in some sense opting out on an important periodic team event.

Why the 2-week frequency?

The recurring, fixed-length period of time between meetings is an essential aspect of the PCT process. The 2-week frequency becomes a drumbeat throughout the season. Parents learn to expect (and look forward to and PLAN for) the repeating PCT meeting during the season.

In a typical hockey season, there 6 months and up to 12 PCT meetings. Other sports with shorter seasons might choose a 1-week PCT frequency. The main thing is to ALWAYS have the meetings every N weeks, where "N" is a number you decide is best for frequency.

The Coach is required to send an email (directly, or via the Parent/Team Manager) within 48 hours of every PCT meeting. What if the Parents do not like the email sent by Coach after the PCT meeting?

The Coach is always has full and formal authority over every aspect of team life during the season. This does not change when the PCT is used. Parents carefully examine the post-meeting email from Coach in preparation for the next meeting.

At the next meeting, parents may bring up content from the last email from Coach and express disagreement. If this happens, the Coach is protected because of the clear ground rule that Coach does NOT answer ANY questions during this meeting. This includes questions (if any) about his last email.

Coach may later choose to address the concern, or not, via the next post-meeting email. In this manner parents and Coaches gain experience and learn about each other's boundaries.

Can I ask the Coach any questions OUTSIDE of the PCT meeting?

Of course...the meeting does not replace 1-on-1 parent/Coach communciation. It simply provides a structured set of ground rules for when Coach meets periodically with parents as a group.

Outside of the meeting, everything is the same. The main thing about PCT is that it is a set of ground rules for a GROUP meeting. Outside of that meeting parents can and do communicate with the Coach in whatever way they are most comfortable. PCT does not replace 1-on-1 parent/Coach communication.

Doesn't the PCT Process provide a way for Parents to ambush the Coach in a group setting?

No. PCT in fact is designed to PREVENT this. Coach asks and does not answer questions during this meeting. Further, only 3 questions are asked in a compressed, 25-minute format. Parents explicitly agree to these rules as a condition of participation.

When the 3 questions are answered by parents, or the 25 minutes expire, the meeting is over and the Coach exits the meeting by leaving the room.

The PCT provides a forum for parents to express issues to Coach without Coach giving up any authority or opening him/herself up to any kind of group-level "ambush". The structured PCT meeting is run by Coach and is set up to protect the Coaching staff from any kind of verbal abuse.

What does the Coach give up in terms of authority if he/she implements this process?

The Coach does not give any authority with the PCT. The Coach runs this meeting, or authorizes an Assistant Coach to run the meeting in his absence. The Coach gives up no authority when using PCT. However, just like Parents, Coach is explicitly agreeing to all PCT ground rules. This means Coach agrees to receive answers to questions from Parents during the meeting. This also means Coach must respond via email to the Parents within an agreed-upon deadline, usually 48 hours. Coach is required to provide the Follow-Up feedback in writing, usually through the traditional Parent Manager.

What does the Coach gain if he/she implements this process?

The main thing the Coach gets is a tool for gathering the attention of the parent group. Coach uses the PCT to gather and focus parent attention on the team, the Coach, and Coach's plans and policies for the team.

Since meetings are frequent and short, parents must self-organize around the meeting and be well prepared. This usually means they gather some concerns, and get organized around the brief 25-minute format. After the meeting, all parents are anticipating Coach's email response to the meeting. The Coach now has all parents focused on his meeting and his emails after these meetings.

Now the parents are paying attention to Coach and what Coach thinks, does and says, both verbally and in writing. The Coach now has the full attention of the parent group.

In actual implementations of this PCT process, how does it work? How do Parents behave during this meeting?

Parents as a group behave according to the simple PCT meeting ground rules. Some parents attend, some do not.

Some parents attend out of respect for Coach, some out of curiousity. Most parents attend the PCT as an opportunity to communicate at the group level with Coach and coaching staff.

As a practical matter, all the parents cannot talk in the brief 25-minute format. So parents tend to self-select a person from the parent group who can speak the answers. This person effectively "speaks for all parents" during the meeting. This is exactly what PCT is designed to encourage.

Parents self-organize around the PCT meeting ground rules. In the end parents are actively discussing the team, and Coach, and the meeting ... during the 2 weeks before and after each meeting.

Can the Coach make huge mistakes with this process? If so what are they?

Yes. The biggest mistake a Coach can make with PCT is to defer, postpone or cancel any scheduled PCT meeting. There is no surer way to kill the PCT process. Coaches who choose to implement PCT must commit to scheduling and executing on every PCT meeting at fixed intervals (2 weeks for hockey teams) thoughout the season. Parents properly come to expect this meeting.

When the meeting is not held, the process unravels. It is essential to have EVERY meeting, and start and end on time. Implementing the PCT is a commitment to execute on a meeting at the agreed-upon fixed intervals throughout the season.

What is the scientific or theoretical basis for this process?

The PCT process is designed to encourage specific behaviors from parents, coaches and players. PCT draws from social complexity science. The main influences on PCT design are social complexity science, self-organizing systems, Scrum and group relations research.

You can learn more about the scientific basis of PCT by examining the PCT Resources page

What is the worst thing that can happen if I am Coach and I implement this process?

The worst thing that can happen is you fail to execute each and every PCT meeting as scheduled, thereby undermining both your credibility and the credibility of the PCT itself.

What is the BEST thing that can happen if I as Coach implement this process?

PCT is designed to encourage certain behaviors from parents and Coach. The PCT is designed to get parents and Coaches to identify and agree on some shared understandings. This is accomplished via the PCT structure for two-way communication. When parents and Coaches agree, kids are the winners. They get to take up ONE role-- "Player"-- when they are practicing and playing the sport. This reduces stress and increases the FUN that the youth sport can provide.

The best thing that can happen is that kids have MORE FUN, by taking up ONE role, the role of Player.....as they learn about the sport and each other. PCT is designed "from the ground up" to achieve this objective.

Why is a process like PCT required in Youth Sports and hockey in particular?

Parents can be quite dramatic. Absent clear and formal ground rules, all communication with Coach becomes a negotiation. PCT provides clear ground rules for a periodic and "safe" group-level meeting. These ground rules create structured 2-way communication every 2 weeks. Hockey has a long season, is expensive, and intense to play and watch.

The PCT is designed as a tool for Coaches to manage complexity.

Is this a silver bullet that solves all my Coaching problems related to the Parents?

No, but it is close...anyone in Coach role can implement PCT without any experience. PCT encourages direct and clear, structured communication with parents. This frequent communication sets up fixed-duration "loops of feedback" that allow parents and Coach to gain shared understandings. When this happens, kids have MORE FUN.

I want to do this. How to I contact an expert on this process to get my additional questions answered?

You may reach Dan Mezick at the link below....

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.