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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

Parents
  • 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! 

Reply
  • 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! 

Children
  • 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.