Don't talk to me for 48 hours
Please note, that you owe the $3,000+ for your child to play in this team, and you may not ask me any questions for 48 hours after a game because I don't want to be held accountable. I also don't want to deal with you, but I want your money. Your kid should also have the answers, but I won't give them to him.
That's what I hear when I hear about a '48-hour rule'. Or 24-hours, or whatever 'rule' you might have in your club. You may not talk to me about my decisions for a period of time to make sure that you have 'cooled off' and I am prepared to defend myself.
If you have taken any coaching course, in the US, the #1 issue that coaches and administrators will discuss are parents. How bad they are, how deluded they might be, how they push hard, how they don't understand, and how they coach from the sideline. It is all the parent's fault. So when they are confused, or mad, and they want answers to questions that a coach doesn't want to answer, a 'rule' of no talking is created. Pretty genius really.
Now change the script and put yourself in ANY service that you pay for. Internet, cell phone, car insurance, grocery delivery, Amazon, etc. After using any of those services, you may not talk to them for 48 hours. 99% of the time you probably don't need it anyway, but there will be one day and you can't. You just had a fender bender and need your insurance. Nope, not for 48 hours. Whilst it might seem ridiculous to think like that, it is exactly what a no-talking rule means to your families.
So, the is one absolute reason for a no-talking rule. Much like an insurance company saying no talking to us for 48 hours, only if you've had a crash. A youth soccer parent may not talk to their coach for 48 hours after their kid has not played much.
The only issue a parent really cares about, because they likely haven't been given anything else to care about.
What can we give a parent and a player to help 'ease' the playing time issue?
Get to know everyone.
Do you know the parent's names? Siblings too? Even pets? It matters.
Let them get to know you and build the experience around togetherness, not just you the coach, and them the families. Pre-season and team events are so awesome for this reason. It looks different now, but it can still be done. Build relationships, not business transactions, because when parents don't get what (playing time) they paid for, they'll let you know about it.
This is everything to me, and it should be to you. It is also everything to the player. You get to know them, you get to challenge them, and you get to watch them grow. You can connect with every player in a meaningful way, so maybe you do have a player that doesn't play much you can get to know them more (instead of unintentionally focusing on the best players) and give them a fair shot at being the best that they can be. Parents want to know their kid is cared for, and you can do that with an IDP. It isn't just for show and tell. It is meaningful and will help your player understand much more about themselves and the game they play, and ultimately what it takes for them to succeed.
More answers to the questions that haven't even been considered yet. Help your players understand what it is that you want from them by explaining their position profile. Tie it with their IDP.
Explain your Game Model.
Parents would love to support their player within the greater team. Give them answers on what they can expect for how the team will try to play. No, you are not giving away secrets, but you are letting them know what they might be looking for, instead of just goals.
A weekly update.
Include skill challenges or team specific actions. My very good friend, James, at Underground Coaching recently shared how they challenged every player in a group to go out of their way and help one person and share with the group what they did. The opportunities are endless for impacting and benefiting families far beyond how many minutes the kid gets to play.
'Ease' the playing time issue?
Yes, because players need to play, there will always be a concern about playing time, but not to the boiling point of being chased across the parking lot. To be honest, if it has gotten that far, you are fortunate to still have the player in your team, or perhaps a one-team town and there are no alternatives.
So when you introduce your model, and recap/preview each week make sure it includes expectations on the 'community' that is your team. Individual training, team events, and team recaps. Let them know what's going on with you and your experiences within the team/game. Spend time with each player and encourage them to give themselves feedback, and to assess how they're doing, with your guidance. Help them understand where they are at, and what they could be doing to help in their development. The conversation at home soon turns to themselves and taking control, and not that coach doesn't like me because I don't play that much.
Finally, look inwards. Why aren't you playing a kid to the point that their parents shout at you?
Have you done all that you can for that player?
If so, you shouldn't need a 'rule' for when parents can't talk to you about playing time regardless of their actual soccer ability.