Youth sports organizations have been left to combat a disturbing trend lately. More and more often, leagues have had to deal with difficult parents who disrupt games by arguing with coaches, officials and even other parents. This sort of behavior disrupts the game and takes the fun out of it for the players. As a coach for kids, you know how this sort of behavior leads to kids quitting sports altogether. Managing the expectations of parents becomes a big part of your role as coach.
As a youth coach, it is your job to ensure that your team has fun playing the game while developing their skills. It is also your responsibility to communicate your expectations for practice and game days to parents. It is important to set the tone early on in terms of what are acceptable levels of parental involvement. It can be a great thing when parents are engaged, but there is a line that can be crossed when they go beyond being engaged and become a nuisance. When this happens, it takes away from the enjoyment of the game. Here are some tips to help navigate difficult parents on your team.
Set the Tone
One of the best ways to temper expectations is to set the tone early. Let parents know that you are always happy to discuss methods and strategies in terms of safety, but you will not discuss playing time. As a coach for kids, you know the season is about much more than wins and losses. You know that skill development is important, along with imparting life lessons on teamwork and a strong work ethic. Being an effective youth coach is all about keeping an eye on the big picture, and if you let parents know where your focus is and what your goals are, you can hopefully calm some of the more overzealous parents.
Difficult parents can be grating. Many youth sports organizations have come together to empower coaches and referees to use ejections and forfeits as a means to combat difficult parents who are negatively impacting the game. However, before it gets to that point, it is important to remain calm. Remember that when a parent is crossing a line at a game or practice, it has more to do with them than the job you are doing as a coach. Stay calm, do your best to let the parent feel heard without changing your strategy, and if the difficult parent persists, have a referee excuse them for the remainder of the game.
Coach For the Players
When parents become overbearing and begin to demand more playing time for their child or are being difficult in general, it can become easy to second guess yourself. A word of advice: don’t. You have cultivated your approach from your own experiences. You are taking lessons you learned from coaches you had in the past and applying them to your coaching philosophy. Overbearing parents won’t care, but as long as you can leave the field knowing you did the absolute best you could for your team, you will have done your job.
Don’t Let Difficult Parents Discourage You
If you have a passion for the game and want to impart your knowledge to the next generation of ballplayers, become a Trusted Coach! We give you the tools to be the best coach you can be including concussion training, first aid training and conflict resolution for difficult parents. If you are ready to be a coach for kids, contact us today!