'Soccer In Your Area' (March 2010) Issue 3 : Page 27

12 STEPS IN DEALING WITH PARENTS Parents are, obviously, necessary. Sometimes they can even be useful! You can, for example, get them to transport children, fetch balls during practice sessions and provide financial support. There will, however, be occasions when you have difficulty with one or more parents. Some may want their child to play more while others may question your judgment as a coach. You can minimize the number of times you have to deal with an angry or upset parent by following these guidelines: 1. Have a pre‐season meeting before the first practice to discuss your plans and expectations for the season. Encourage questions from the parents and let them know that you have given a lot of thought to how you're going to coach their children. 2. Express appreciation for their interest and concern. This will make them more open and at ease with you. 3. Always listen to their ideas and feelings. Remember, they are interested and concerned because it is their children that are involved. Encourage parental involvement. 4. Know what your objectives are and do what you believe to be of value to the team, not to the parents. No coach can please everyone! 5. Know the club and game rules. Be prepared to abide by them and to explain them to parents. 6. Handle any confrontation one‐on‐one and not in a crowd situation. Try not to be defensive. Let the parent talk while you listen. Often a parent will vent their frustrations just by talking. Listen to their viewpoint, then thank them for it. 7. Resist unfair pressure. It is your responsibility as coach to make the final decision. This doesn't mean that you can't still listen to parents. 8. Don't discuss individual players with other parents. The grapevine will hang you every time. Show the same respect for each player on the team that you want the parents to show to‐ ward you. 9. Ask parents not to criticize their children in front of anyone else. Don't let your players be humiliated, even by their own parents. 10. Don't blame the players for their parents' actions. 11. Be consistent! If you change a rule or philosophy during the season, you may be in for trouble. At the very least, inform play‐ ers and parents of any change as soon as possible. 12. Most importantly, be fair! If you treat all your players fairly and equally you will gain their respect and that of their parents as well. Top 10 Things Parents Don't Get About Kids and Sports 1. During car rides to games or practice, kids don't want you to tell them how to do this or that. "I am not stupid," said one 12‐year‐old. "I know how to play the sport I play. 2. Kids can get psyched for a game without your help. "I hate when parents say, 'Are you ready? We're going to win,' like they're playing said one kid. 3. It's your duty as a parent to sit quietly and watch your kid do wonderful things. Kids get bummed out when you miss games or yak it up too much with friends in the stands. "We're sweating and playing the game, and they're busy socializing," complained one girl. 4. If you don't know what you're talking about, kids don't want you to talk. Typical comments: "Parents think they know the rules, but they don't." "My mom asks annoying questions." And "I hate when my mom tells me to do things even when she doesn't know the first thing about sports." 5. Even if you do know what you're talking about, kids don't want you to talk (unless you're the coach). "I hate when parents tell us to do the ex‐ act opposite of what the coaches say," said one child. Added another: "If your parent isn't the coach, he or she shouldn't try to be one. 6. Kids wish you would practice what you preach about sportsmanship. "My mom always wants me to be a 'good sport,' but a lot of the time she blames the loss on the ref," claimed one kid. "Arguing with the refs is not only embarrassing, but it takes up time," said another. 7. Kid's often can't hear you yelling when they're concentrating on the game. Sometimes, they can. Either way, they don't like it. "Parents yell advice you don't hear because you're so into playing the game. After‐ ward they say, 'Why didn't you listen to me?'" complained one child. Said others: "I feel embarrassed when my parents yell so loud that the whole town can hear," and "They yell and scream and look like dorks." 8. After they lose, kids don't want to be told it doesn't matter. Typical reac‐ tions: "I hate when we get knocked out of the playoffs and my parents say, 'You'll get them next time!'" and "When parents try to cheer you up after a loss, al they do is remind you of the score." 9. After they lose, kids don't want to be told that it does matter. "Parents take losses harder than we do," wrote one boy. Advised one girl: "You win some, you lose some, no big deal! Get over it!" 10. Kids just want to have fun. Parents just don't get this, kids say. Many kids say they would rather play on a losing team than sit on the bench on a winning one. Some would like to skip practice once in a while. "The thing that bugs me the most is that my parents take it too seriously," summed up one child. "They act like it's school." Chinese Proverb http://www.ayso10.com/toptenthings.asp ‘Soccer In Your Area’ E‐Magazine ‐ March 2010 27.

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