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Parents Handling a Closed Practice Policy

By Positive Coaching Alliance, 01/24/20, 2:15PM CST

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Clubs are implementing a "closed practice policy" where the parents are not allowed to watch their child(ren) participate during practice.

Another local club has implemented a "closed practice policy" where the parents are not allowed to watch their child(ren) participate during practice. I feel that this is inappropriate and I don't want this trend to come to my sports center. Are there any legal articles discussing this issue? Or could someone point me in a direction that would discourage a "closed practice policy"?

Response from PCA Senior Marketing Manager, Eric Fischer

Thanks for reaching out to PCA. I don't know of any legal articles on this, nor would we at PCA consider ourselves to be legal experts. However, normally a coach may have such a policy because they think it's in the best interest of the athlete to keep parents away.

They believe the athlete is more likely to improve, and they can be more effective in their coaching without parents standing over and watching.

I think it's important to understand why a coach may have such a policy.  At PCA we encourage open communication between parents and coaches, and it does seem like this situation does not encourage that. You might find this resource from our DevZone helpful.

Establishing a positive relationship with the coach can go a long way. Perhaps, after better understanding the closed practice policy, you can approach the coach and ask if you can watch, given that you understand you will "Let Coaches Coach." It can confuse players to hear someone other than the coach yelling out instructions, and also may put additional pressure on kids for you to watch their practice, so you may consider meeting the coach in the middle here, agreeing to a certain set of standards that allows you to watch practice.

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Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) develops BETTER ATHLETES, BETTER PEOPLE through resources for youth and high school sports coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes. PCA has partnered with roughly 3,500 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to deliver live group workshops, online courses and books by PCA Founder Jim Thompson that help those involved in youth and high school sports create a positive, character-building youth sports culture.

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