Youth coaches have a lot on their plate. For most of them, it is not their primary form of employment, they are not paid for their time and they are forced to deal with the occasional crazy parent to boot. Fielding complaints from outraged mommies and daddies is merely a part of the job for most coaches and while most parents believe that they are in the right, this often isn’t the case.
If you were to ask most coaches what the most difficult aspect of their job, they would tell you that sports crazed parents take the cake. While there are definitely improvements that many coaches can make, let’s talk about the attitude adjustments that parents can do themselves in order to create a more pleasant environment for all.
A parent needs to realize that the coach is in their position for a reason. They are usually not there because they have to be, they are there because they want to be, they have a lasting passion for the game, in most cases some good knowledge of the game and a genuine affinity for children. Questioning and nitpicking their every move does not help the team and only serves to embarrass your child, who is undoubtedly wondering why you can’t be quiet like all of the other parents.
Ask yourself what your true reason is for getting mad at the coach. If it’s because your child is not getting enough playing time, this is something that you need to view through an objective lens. Should you decide that your child isn’t getting enough time on the field, ask the coach what your child needs to do to earn more. Communication is key and it helps to serve your understanding of the situation from the coaches’ perspective, rather than making an assumption of favoritism and getting angry.
Getting to know the coach on a personal level also helps. It is easy to ascribe an awful motive to a stranger and much more difficult to do so when you know them well. Take a moment to speak with the coach outside of sports and get to know them as a human being, as opposed to a target for your venom.
As a coach, it is your job to draw a hard line in the sand when it comes to unruly parents. Unfortunately, parents are much like children, in the sense that they will try the same things that they see someone else getting away with. If a parent has crossed a line and has offended you on a personal level or they are refusing to speak sensibly, there is nothing wrong with letting them know this in a diplomatic way.
It can be a difficult arena for coaches having to deal with parents but as mentioned above, communication is vital to develop a pleasant atmosphere. Meeting with parents before the season starts is a great way to clear the air and get everybody on the same page. Make sure it’s understood that it’s about the kids and you have the kid’s best interests at heart at all times.
As long as each side is willing to meet the other halfway and speak to one another in a respectful manner, there is no reason why the coach/parent relationship cannot flourish. Remember: it is not about either of you. It is always about the children and providing them with a joyful environment to improve and grow as athletes.
At Play Better we have experienced amazing results with team and parent culture after introducing a charitable cause that everyone can get behind. Playing for something bigger than the game itself will shift your team’s parent culture and the sidelines will become peaceful.
Over the last three years we have never heard a parent scream or yell at a child from making a bad pass, or trying a brave move to earn money towards something they care about in the world. It just doesn’t happen.
You can join the Play Better team today ! See this link for more information. I dare you.
Better People. Better Players.