How to deal with an over bearing parent

So I reluctantly stepped forward to coach/manage my son's U8 team. It has taken me completely out of my comfort zone but we're three matches in and I have to say I'm loving it. I don't have an assistant yet so am doing the coaching and managing myself. This is all new to me and it's the first year the boys have played in a league so new to them as well. We've yet to win a game but we keep smiling and I ensure I encourage the boys to just have fun whatever the outcome. My issue is one of the dad's. Every match so far he stands on the sidelines shouting at the boys telling them what to do and where to stand. He is contradicting what I'm telling the boys and what I'm trying to encourage them to do during the match. Being a man his voice carries further than mine. This weekend he surpassed himself. After one of the quarters my team were standing on the pitch waiting for the other team so they could start the next quarter. This dad ducks under the respect line, runs onto the pitch and moves the boys to where he thinks they should be. It completely undermined me in front of the kids, parents, opposition and referee. My question is have you dealt with something similar and if so, how without causing a fall out? Any suggestions greatly received. Thanks. Gemma

  • Oh my. God, you sound in the same Position as me. Firstly, massive well done for stepping upto the plate. I don't have this at matches but do at training. I started by posting things in our WhatsApp chat.. Like The respect code and bluntly putting that spectators do not know what the coach has Told the kids so to please only shout positive encouragement, then put it bluntly.. Anyone not respecting this will be asked to leave.. Your welfare officer can do this for you. I had. To say.. Youre confusing the kids, the kids are frustrated with you,. You're embarrassing your child OR if you think you can Do better please get yourself fa qualified and join in. Chin up... You're smashing it. Feel. Free. To contact me. X

  • This is where your club should also support you, that barrier is the respect barrier and he clearly needs reminding of this, Ask with the presence of someone else aswell to not do what he is doing and if it continues his child will come off the pitch 

    Sounds harsh but these parents need to be told 

    most likely a better way of saying what I’ve said but you get the gist 

  • Firstly, well done for putting yourself forward and stepping out of your comfort zone. What you describe shows why it is so important to clearly set out what you believe in from the very start. You should have some kind of communication that goes out to parents that outlines your expectations. What this parent is doing is completely unacceptable but you could give him the benefit if the doubt that he does not know. If I were you I would draw something up for the parents based on your expectations of them and I would also include the FA spectator guidelines that you can download from the website. I would see how that goes first. If he ignores this then you could potentially take it two ways. You could approach him and ask if he is keen to assist (if you wanted that) or you need to be clear that he cannot behave in this way and if it  continues he will not be able to spectate. Your players are only 7 so you have many years of this to go if you allow it to happen. Leadership is amazing but it will inevitably bring conflict at some stage. Good luck! 

  • Firstly well done for stepping up.  It's really hard leading a team without any assistance from other coaches.

    It sounds like this parent has well and truly overstepped the line in so many regards.

    Firstly, does your club have a parent/ carer code of conduct.  That's the first place to start.  These should be clear, simple rules to follow that when a child signs up the parent/ carer signs too.

    If you don't, feel free to adapt something like ours

    Either reinforce what you have or share something new.  There is also the new "Pledge for Positivity" from the FA.  We've used that to remind parents and carers that whilst we want their positive claps and cheers we also want then kids to focus on the coaches direction or to explore their own creativity.

    Finally, Mark out a respect line and area for the parents to stand.  Ask a fellow parent to help arrange and enforce it.

    Best of luck with your season Thumbsup

  • Thank you Caroline. I'm sorry to hear you're suffering something similar. I don't like to use the whole "woman" thing but I do feel as though if I were a "dad" he wouldn't be doing this and he certainly didn't do it to the established coach the boys had in the years running up to them starting in a league. I definitely need to nip it in the bud early otherwise it will just escalate. I think I will try and speak to him after training on Wednesday and see what happens. Hopefully he will have the respect after that to let me do what I'm trying to do otherwise it'll have to take it to the next level! I certainly won't let it continue. I wish you the very best of luck x

  • Thank you Trevor. I obviously didn't want to raise it at the time as it just makes me look unprofessional and it's not something the boys should witness. I will however have the awkward conversation with him on Wednesday after training. The boys' previous established coach will be there and I can ask him to be with me so the dad knows it's serious. He certainly wouldn't have done it if it was the established coach there and not me! Best of luck to you.

  • Thank you Andrew. On the course I did we were told one of our biggest headaches would be the parents! I'm very lucky in that the other parents are great and appreciate I'm learning as I'm going. The boys are all keen to come to training so they're enjoying it which is the main goal. Unfortunately it's just that one bad apple. I think the direct approach is definitely the way to go and to do it early otherwise I'll never regain control. Best of luck to you.

  • Thank you James. Yes we do have the parent code of conduct and each parent and child has signed one. I will take the direct approach at training and refer to that. Hopefully he'll respect what I say and am trying to do otherwise I will have to involve the club. Best of luck to you too.

  • Great stuff.  Do assign jobs to parents at training and matches.  Getting one to mark out and reinforce the respect zone is one job that is great to assign that otherwise takes you and your focus away from the players.  Sounds like you have the support of the other parents so use it.