Tips for Handling Special Requests from Parents
Now that registration season is underway - or for some of your Regions, complete - there are likely a handful of parents making special requests or asking for certain accommodations. Do any of the examples below sound familiar?
"Our daughter is really shy. Can we move her from team 1 to team 2 so she can be with her friend?" "I don't want my son to practice on Tuesdays, can he be switched to a team that practices on Mondays?"
Have you received questions similar to these? Some of AYSO's RCs discussed how to handle these requests and came up with some great suggestions:
1. Stick to the guidelines.
When fielding special requests from parents, hear them out, but inform them that you must stick to your Regional and National guidelines, and that if any request directly conflicts with the guidelines, you will not be able to approve it.
2. Ask parents to make requests early.
For those requests that you are accepting, ask parents to bring them to your attention early in the registration season, perhaps by writing them on their registration form. This is important because any special exceptions should be made early on, during the team-balancing process. Let parents know that the Region will do its best to accommodate them, but that you can't guarantee their request will be approved.
3. Be transparent as to what you can and can’t do.
One RC explains, “We go to great lengths to explain to parents what must be done to accommodate a request and how the request impacts other players.” Depending on several factors, switching a couple players’ teams can be a cumbersome process that affects a lot of teams, players and coaches. Let parents know if the request is too difficult to fulfill, and if you’d like, share why.
4. Make sure your policy fulfills the needs of your community.
Another RC addressed this point perfectly: “We want to be able to operate by policy and manage the exceptions. The creative part of leadership is developing local policy that maintains the integrity and spirit of Standard Regional Guidelines, National Policy, and Bylaws and answers most of the needs and concerns of our members.”
How do you handle special requests? Let us know!