"fraternizing" With Coaches

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Should coaches and parents hang out outside of the gym?

  • Sure, what's the harm?

    Votes: 27 42.2%
  • No way! Totally inappropriate!

    Votes: 14 21.9%
  • I wouldn't do it, but don't see it as a problem for others.

    Votes: 7 10.9%
  • It depends... (please explain)

    Votes: 16 25.0%

  • Total voters


Cheer Parent
Mar 6, 2011
Over the past few years I've become more aware of how involved some parents are with their kids' coaches. Going out to dinner with each other, hanging out at each others' houses, working out together, traveling to out of town competitions together... It took me a bit by surprise, as I thought certainly that is inappropriate, but it happens so frequently I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm being prude. Love to hear how others feel about this. Especially from the coaches and athletes viewpoints.
I used to say "sure, what's the harm?", but in my experience it leaves the door open to a lot of drama (as if there isn't enough already in cheerleading). Feelings get hurt by parents and athletes when the coach spends more time with one parent/athlete than another, and opens the door to accusations of the coach playing favorites both with their free time and within the routine. Personally, as a parent, it's also presented a problem when I have to confront the coach on something. It's harder to stand my ground (time off for injury, for example) when I care what he thinks of me personally.
I think it's a great opportunity... it "humanizes" the coaches if you will. I know CEA has weekly luncheons with Courtney that are open to ALL parents (crucial in my opinion) and they rotate the location making it easy for parents from each gym to attend.
As a coach, I'm happy to be friendly and cordial to all of the parents. I'll sit with them for a little at games, and sometimes they'll ask me questions about education (I teach in a neighboring district). But, I don't hang out, we don't do dinner, we don't go to each other's homes.
I like the idea of the weekly luncheons that are open to all parents. But I think that's different--that's still "gym related". I have to admit I'm guilty of socializing outside of the gym with coaches and gym owners, but I actually don't think it's appropriate. I think it definitely leads to jealousy and drama. I think people then feel like your kid is getting special treatment just because you're the "friend". And I totally agree with sun77 that it makes it much harder to keep the parent-coach relationship professional. It's a lot harder to stand your ground as a parent when it's someone you see as a friend. And I'd imagine a lot harder as a coach too. I would think it puts the coach in a pretty bad spot come tryout time, or even just if the kid needs to be moved in a routine.

And lastly, speaking from experience...it makes for a reeeeally bad situation when you want to go to a new gym and leave the one that is owned by someone who is now your friend.:( Definitely better to keep the gym--family relationship as a professional, not personal, one.
In a sport this competitive I think it's a bad idea for coaches to become friends outside the gym with parents. It creates drama and possible resentment for others at the gym. I think it's best to keep it professional and friendly.
I personally think it depends on the gym that you belong to. Our old gym...well, it caused conflict to get close to the coaches. When we chose to leave (there wasn't a level 5 there) to better my daughters opportunities, there is a coach who still will not speak to us. Our new gym, however, is not just a gym, coaches, owners, athletes, parents. We are a family. I live over an hour and a half from our gym yet I have never felt the closeness and positive energy that we have here! <3
Our gym is very much a "family" gym. Our owners, coaches and parents are all friends and for us, it works. The parents actually KNOW us, and know that when we make certain decisions that we have good reasons and intentions.

As a coach, I truly feel supported by the parents that have become my friends. I do see where there could be issues and thankfully, we haven't come across that...
I don't think its appropriate. Kids will look at it as that CP is the coaches favourite, they don't know any better but the coach spends all the time with that persons mum/dad. Doesn't lead to a united team!! And leaves the door open for all kinds of accusations!!!
I'm here to support my athletes in whatever they may need, however, I am not their parent nor their best friend. Outside of cheerleading functions, unless it is an extreme circumstance, is not my place. I can't think of many other businesses where employees would hang out with customers, other than in extreme circumstances and if they knew each other previously.
well from personal experice my mom was friends with the owner of my old gym, and my teamates would always say things like " she is only in that spot because of her mother" ect. when i decided to leave at the end of the season the friendship was "damaged" i would say they still talk but i guess its alkward between them now.
I feel parents do not need to soocialize with the coaches outside of the cheerleading world. Coaches are there to work with the girls and boys. Parents can talk to coaches in the gym to discuss information pertaining to their child. If parents and coaches get personal outside of the gym I feel problems will arise.
I really think this depends on the parent and the coach. If each can handle themselves appropriately at crucial times, then by all means.
Though we spend a lot of time together (traveling, comps, etc.,) at the end of the day, coaching is a coaches JOB. So IMO it's a matter of professionalism. Most parents at our gym are fb friends with the coaches and owners. I'm not - I "like" my gyms page(s) and that's only for informational purposes. Fb is a "social" site, not one for business. Keep everything in its place.