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

  • Hi Paul, many thanks for your message. Although it's not nice to hear it happening to others it's reassuring to know it's not just me! The support I've received to my post has been great and there's some great advice. I must confess I didn't think it was serious enough to involve the Club but having read some of the responses it's clear I should and for them to decide if they want/need to take it further. In the first instance I will speak to him and I will let my Club know of his response. Hopefully its a case that he's getting caught up in the moment and not realising the detriment he is causing nor the rules he is breaking. I will let you all know how it goes.

  • Thank you Louise. It's a worry how many rules he is breaking, not just the FA ones! After reading some responses it's become clear that my Club need to be made aware, so I will ensure that they are.

  • Hi Paul, many thanks for your response. Every thing you say I completely agree with. When the parents were first made aware I would be the coach I made sure to include in my introductory email that my main ethos is that the boys have fun. Passions run high and people get caught up in the moment and I suppose it's our job is to not only support the kids but also ensure the parents stay within the guidelines.

  • Hi Andrew. Thank you for your message and for sharing the video, which I was able to pick up from your link. Fortunately this dad isn't swearing or getting angry but I think the video also highlights the importance of shouting only to encourage. I will be sure to send it to the parents via our group chat. Good luck to you too.

  • Thank you Philip and for sharing the link. I think I definitely need to have a word with him before our next match and to inform my Club. Should he continue to disrespect my position at least I will have past evidence for reason for him to no longer be able to spectate should that become necessary. Obviously I'm hopeful that it won't come to that but it's become clear that I shouldn't keep this to myself. Best wishes.

  • Thank you Andrew. Yes I think an assistant would help. That shall be my next mission!

  • Thank you James. I'm pleased to hear that all it took was a word from you to solve the problem. Fingers crossed I have the same success. I'll be sure to update you all with the outcome. Best wishes.

  • Thank you Thomas. I shall be informing my club. I will also talk to the parent and be guided by the club as to whether any further action should be taken. I expect they have dealt with something similar before or have procedures in place for such things. Best of luck to you too

  • Hi Gemma 

    firstly well done for stepping forward and i think its great having female coaches and i wish you good times .

    your voice will be more powerful within break periods of the game , just wondering have you spoken to the parents in regards what you would like to achieve with your players and how you would like your parents to support your philosophy , empower the parents to support you , unfortunately every coach gets this challenge and i know you will over come this by sticking to your beliefs , my advice is perhaps have a drive through chat with the parent (if no improvement approach your club welfare officer , from what i have read above the parent has not read the respect guidance for players and parents and coaches . perhaps highlight this to the individual , sometimes just a little nudge politely , the parent changes completely and can be a future positive outcome for all . i wish you well with your challenge    

  • Hi Gemma,

    Keep going, coaching is amazing and it will only ever be parents that ruin it.

    I agree with the other comments, get the club involved, don’t be shy about it and don’t apologise. I’m sorry to say it’s unlikely to have a lot of an effect, trouble parents don’t change, but it does calm them down for a bit.

    i think if it continues, ask the club to consider further sanctions which include excluding the parent from coming to matches. If it doesn’t work then ultimately it should lead to child being asked to leave.

    I know it’s tough especially as you are new, but that interference doesn’t just affect one player but the whole team and it’s unfair on you and them that a parent is trying to relive his playing days through his child.

    i hope you are able to sort it for his child’s sake, but my experience is he’ll be hard work for many years to come.

    There are things you can do though, I’d play him on the opposite side to the parents fir example, also don’t start with him in the pitch but sub him in 10 mins into the start of each half.

    Bast of luck!