Managing Difficult Parents

Discussion in 'Coach' started by Joe Martelo, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. Joe Martelo

    Joe Martelo BigSoccer Yellow Card

    CDC Montalegre
    Portugal
    Sep 30, 2019
    I am wondering how other coaches on here manage difficult parents? I’ve had some over the years that did more harm than good. I even banned a couple from watching some games to help alleviate the player’s performance anxiety.

    I make it clear from day one none of them are above me and the team.
     
  2. stphnsn

    stphnsn Member+

    Jan 30, 2009
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Every situation is different, but I hold a meeting at the start of the season to set expectations. If issues arise, I send a general message to all of the parents (and players for older teams) reminding them of the expectations and how we do things on our team. If it continues, I'll have a one on one conversation. If it continues from there, I'll get the club directors involved. I'm the travel coordinator and vice president of the club though so I'm generally comfortable making policy decisions myself. If you're just a coach, you should run things by your boss before taking action.
     
    elessar78 repped this.
  3. Joe Martelo

    Joe Martelo BigSoccer Yellow Card

    CDC Montalegre
    Portugal
    Sep 30, 2019
    This is some generally good advice, but fortunately I have become respected enough in my field that the directors pretty much give me full control to do what I want with players and their parents. Many players I’ve scouted myself from traveling around the region (Toronto and southern Ontario).
     
  4. stphnsn

    stphnsn Member+

    Jan 30, 2009
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Setting expectations and consequences at the beginning is important then. Let them know at the beginning that if they act like a jackass, they're not allowed to be at the field. If that means their kid can't play on your team, that's fine, but you can't let one family ruin the team/club culture you're building. Transparency is key. The other parents will appreciate you setting the standard early, but you have to be prepared to enforce it.
     
    Joe Martelo repped this.
  5. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Until players can drive themselves, I think parents are a key part to the process. I haven't been intentional enough about bringing them into the culture. Haven't even been good enough at getting to know all their names and talking to them. I try to change that more And more.

    But we have to move toward this idea of club culture—our club doesn't yell at refs, our club doesn't joystick players, parents don't talk negatively about another player on the team.

    we're supposedly here to teach our players about the good things, values sports can teach, but sports is neutral it teaches what we allow it to teach. Too often it's "me".

    Make it a part of your pregame to talk to parents or talk to them after practice. This is what we've worked on, this is what we're looking for, etc. Gives them a different yardstick to measure performance other than outcome—if that's what you're after.
     
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  6. stphnsn

    stphnsn Member+

    Jan 30, 2009
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm veering off topic, but I heard a suggestion that you email the week's training objectives to parents on Friday before the weekend's games. That way they know what you worked on that week, and they can see the improvement in that area (hopefully). It might also reinforce the lesson if parents are encouraging it from the other sideline.
     
    elessar78 repped this.
  7. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Yup. Exactly. It's about bringing them into the fold—we all want "better" parents but we don't educate them to be better consumers of the game.

    I was a big admirer of a club here, so I asked a few parents what they did at training that made their kids so good. They had no idea.
     
  8. Sami Paakkanen

    Mar 4, 2016
    Nat'l Team:
    Finland
    Hello.

    I think it is all about emotions. If you can find those emotions, which are behind parents acts, it will help you to cope that situation.
     
  9. Sami Paakkanen

    Mar 4, 2016
    Nat'l Team:
    Finland
    If what continues?


    I think it would help more, if you all could share your cases here, not discuss this issue in general level. I Have lots of cases, some when my own boy was playing and lots of when I have been coaching metal side in team or whit refs. Do not fear to talk more openly. I do it here, but would take too much time to use English so . . .

    Some words to think ;)

    There will always be difficult parents. Endless fight..

    Players emotions are important. Help them to cope a-holes.

    Do not loose contact with difficult parents, work whit them.

    Do not shit in your pant with difficult parent and run to tell your boss.. YOU need to work with parent or this great game can loose great player. Can you understand how it feels, if some one won't talk straight to you and take every small issue to your boss and put him to attack on you..

    There will always be different parents and players, cope with that. It is Hugh richness!



    Sami Paakkanen
     
  10. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    Now that is certainly a viewpoint I never expected.

    You made me realize that I don't actually know what the others think is a difficult parent. What worried me was the probability that some parents were undermining my training outside of the contract time I had with the players. It isn't something a coach can control.
     
  11. Sami Paakkanen

    Mar 4, 2016
    Nat'l Team:
    Finland
    This is huge problem in every aspect in everyday life. We are thinking kind of black and white. It is in our brains, in our genes kind of. Our defenses make us think that way and changing that way to think needs lots of work. It is easy to see someone as a problem rather than think it is really good to have different skills and way to see life and game.
    Usually I work with this aspect in team, when I coach them or when I coach ref´s. They need to see more than good and bad. Coaches have to find their own inner bad and good to cope same feelings with difficult parent and players.

    I think your situation ain´t a big problem. It can feel there is something you can't control. Is it actually the thing you need to control? You can control it, but you have to think other way. If you respect your players they can feel that and they respect you and your training methods. They can see who is the professional coach and who is parent. Sometimes it takes long time to see that, but you may trust that, it comes always.. They don't have to like every drill or what ever you practice. You have to cope how you feel if they hate your practices. Sometimes you need to change something, most of the time you just need to hear players frustration and same with to parent. It is so common that parents do that undermining behind curtains. That is one thing you can't change :) You can deal your own emotions, what that makes you feel or what you imagination makes you think, how player react on that.. ;)

    Sami
     

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