Positive parental involvement is essential to a successful Pop Warner flag football coaching experience. Before the season officially begins, hold a brief parent meeting where you can introduce yourself, explain your coaching philosophy, answer questions and get parents excited about the upcoming season.
Address safety first. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Pop Warner football has 12 percent fewer injuries per capita than youth soccer [source: Pop Warner]. Inform parents that you won't allow any tackling in practice or games, and ask for their help in reinforcing that rule. Always ask for questions before moving on.
Parents will also be concerned about playing time and positions [source: Schupak]. There are mandatory playing guidelines in all Pop Warner leagues. Since flag football is for the youngest players, emphasize that all players will have the opportunity to contribute significantly during games. Explain that everybody can't play quarterback or running back, but ensure parents that you'll do your best to match each young athlete with the best position.
Emphasize the parents' capacity as role models, especially during games. Encourage them to cheer for both teams, avoid criticizing officials and let the coach do the coaching. Pass around a sign-up sheet and ask for volunteers to help out at practices, and hand out a team roster with phone numbers so parents can arrange car pools.
Flag football should be a fun, positive experience for kids. As a coach, a lot depends on your attitude. For the next tip, we'll explain how to maintain and exhibit a positive, encouraging attitude.