As a youth coach for a recreational league team, it can be tricky managing relationships with the kids, parents, stepparents, officials, etc. Building rapport with parents can be especially challenging. Some parents may feel their child is not getting enough playing time. Others may disagree with your strategic in-game decisions. There may be some days when you feel like nobody is happy. In order to keep the drama on your team to a minimum, employ the suggestions below to create a harmonious environment where players, team, and coach can have a fun and enjoyable season.
Before the Season
- Hold a meeting before the season starts to meet all the parents and players. Get to know everyone and learn their expectations for the season. Listen to any questions and concerns.
- Print and distribute your game and practice schedule to parents and explain what they should do if their child has to be absent. Suggest that parents form carpools to help with busy schedules.
- Explain your philosophy for the game, and let the parents and players know that you are there to do what is best for the team, not the individuals. You will not be able to please everyone.
During the Season
- Be thoroughly familiar with the rules of the game, and league rules. Be able to explain them to parents and players.
- Make your decisions based on what’s best for the kids and the team, not what the parents want.
- Set a good example for everyone by respecting your players, the officials and the opposing coaches and their players.
- When you have to handle unhappy parents, stay calm and explain your decisions – and stick to them. Show that you appreciate their participation, and understand their concerns, but that you are the coach of the whole team, not just one player. Don’t be defensive. Take the discussion to a place where it will not be overheard by others. Parents need one-on-one attention too, and often they just want to make their opinions heard.
- Do not discuss a player with anyone who is not their parent. This is an invasion of privacy. If there is a behavioral problem between kids, ask the parent to contact the other parent directly, or arrange a meeting with both parents together.
- Be consistent. Once you establish a rule, you must apply it equally to all or you will appear to be playing favorites.
Being fair and consistent does not mean ignoring people’s differences. There may be a wide variety of personalities, backgrounds and cultures on your team. It is to the benefit of all to celebrate your team’s diversity, encourage everyone to participate, and respect the differences of the individual.
Indoor Soccer Leagues in North Texas
Looking for a league for your soccer team? Apex Indoor Sports in Mansfield, Texas offers indoor year-round soccer leagues for ages 5-adult. They also have a soccer skills training program, a flag football league in the spring, youth speed and conditioning classes, and other programs. Call us as (682) 518-8844 for more information.