How To Deal With Unruly Or Outspoken Parents Respectfully

By Dave Thomas

Whether you have coached for a brief time or many years, you’ve likely run into a few unruly or outspoken parents. How you handle such situations can go a long way in determining how many years you will end up coaching.

For some coaches, they just seem to be able to brush it off without much sweat. Others find some parents to be the trigger that sets them off. When this happens, anything is possible. From words being exchanged to even some physical altercations, the situation can get out of hand at times.

In order for you to keep your cool at all times, be sure to look at the bigger picture.

Don’t let negative parents get the best of you. To ensure that you always end up taking the higher road, remember these tips:

Find Your Patience

Above all else, be patient. Yes, some parents will do their best to get under your skin. Whether it is because you didn’t play their child, you allegedly made a coaching mistake or two, or you would not engage the parent, don’t fall for their tricks. While some parents do have genuine concerns and gripes regarding coaches, many others are simply looking to cause trouble. By taking the higher road, you end up avoiding what can be a messy situation.

Do It For The Kids

Why did you get into youth sports coaching in the first place? The likelihood is that you wanted to work with kids. Always make the kids your priority. Even when you have an issue or two with a parent, what is best for the kids should always come to the forefront of your mind. It doesn’t do you or the kids any good to be seen arguing in front of their parents. By setting a good example for each and every child that you coach, you always should end up taking the higher road.

Set Realistic Goals

In coaching youth sports, your goal should always be to make each child a better athlete by the time they leave your supervision. In doing that, it is important that you and their parents have realistic goals in mind. Face it: not every child that gets into sports will discover it is for them. In some cases, their hearts just won’t be in it. Even if that is hard for parents to understand, it is just the reality of the situation. In such cases you want to make the experience as pleasant as possible for the children. For those kids who do in fact turn out to be great athletes, the expectations put on them by their parents might be overwhelming at times. And you could find yourself caught in between child and parent.

Have the Difficult Conversations

Finally, with your best manners, talk to parents about the expectations they have for their child. As their coach, you likely see some things that the parents do not. Remind the parents that youth sports are meant to be fun, not stressful. The best results coming out of a child playing sports is that he or she learns about teamwork, picking up skills, and having fun when all’s said and done.

Being a youth sports coach can certainly provide some difficult moments. Given many youth coaches are parents themselves, making sure what is best for each and every young athlete is where the game plan should always be.

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