One troublesome team member, can you hep?

One troublesome team member, can you hep?

Help me please, I am coaching 11 yrs and have one member of my team who is making nasty comments towards most of my other team members, before I am forced to raise this issue with her parent (who is never in attendance, only drop off and pick up, and I dont think she would be the easiest parent to deal with either) I am hoping someone can give me some ideas on how to deal with this, should I ask her to sit out or should I try to include her more to force a better relationship, when I have asked her if we can make an effort to play as a team she is clearly telling me, Its not her fault and that she is reacting to others, but i know this is not true, I dont think she will except she is doing anything wrong, if fact she is my biggest trouble maker when it comes to talking, not litening and being disrespectful, to me her team and once even an umpire (at training) HELP PLEASE its upsetting my girls %3A(

Netball CoachCoach
Allie CollyerCoach, Australia

It is a tricky one but something that you need to address promptly before it gets out of hand. I have coached bottom age U13's for a few years and something that I do at the beginning of the season is set out my expectations. One of them is regarding sportsmanship. I have told them that I do not tolerate bad sportsmanship of any kind and if I see it, then they will be pulled off the court and won't go back on. This is for deliberate contact, yelling at teammates, mouthing to an umpire etc. Another is respect - for their teammates, opposition, coach and umpires. 

I think at this age group and from what you have described she is like. You are going to have to tell her in detail what is acceptable and what is not. Give her the consequences of not complying. I would probably address it to the team as a whole - I know this probably seems unfair to the rest of the girls that are doing the right thing but maybe having a "team contract" where they all agree to certain behaviours etc. Have some things like "have fun!", "always encourage each other" in it too so it isn't all serious. Print it out and then get them to take it home. That way all parents are aware too so if you have to take action, they have been informed. If the behaviour continues then I think you need to speak to the parent. I would only wait a short time for this,you don't want it dragged out. Consequences for my team would be sitting off - whether that be a quarter/half or full game.

It is possible that there is stuff going on in this young girls life that is causing her to behave the way she is. Sometimes they need role models to teach them how to behave %3A) If she is getting frustrated with her teammates then sometimes having some fun stuff at training where they mix more as kids rather than teammates helps them to get to know each other. I have been playing some shooting games at the start of training and joining in as well, they get to see the fun side of me as well as the serious that way.

Also, does your club have a code of conduct? I know that ours does and all players and parents are made aware of it at the beginning of the season, you can often make referral back to it if someone is questioning your decisions. Is there a senior coach that might be able to help you handle this as well? Sorry, I don't know how experience you are but I know that even though I've been coaching for a long time, I still run things by other coaches if I'm having issues.

Good luck, I hope that helps.

Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

i love Allies answer, it pretty much covers everything.  i had a team member last year, who was rude, lazy, disrespectful, and this attitude carried on at home and school.  she was 13 turning 14.  i am a very strict coach and parent, and i tolerate NOTHING.  dont talk while i am.  put effort into your training.  be respectful to all.  and above all, show sportsmanship at ALL TIMES.  the punishment for this during training.  sit off until you are ready to appologise to me.  if i see a hint of attitude go back to the bench.  if this occurs during a game, then you wont be coming back on, but to be honest, at games the kids are so focussed on the game that they rarely give me attitude.  oh and i also give away their favourite position to someone more willing to do it my way.

long story short, after setting very clear boundaries, this girls mother came to me one day and told me that her grades at school had improved, her attitude had improved, and she had actually gotten a letter from the principal at school on how much her behavior had improved.  she accredited these drastic changes to the way i coached.  so you too can possibly instill some change and well needed boundaries into this girls life, and make a bigger difference than you know.  she is could be like this as she is just wanting attention and has no other way of getting it.  good luck.

Netball CoachCoach

I am a teacher an addition to being a netball coach and from a teaching perspective I also support Allies suggestions.

Expectations are the most important thing you can do to first prevent any unwanted behaviour, I also write up my expectations of player conduct and communication and give a copy to my team, parents are expected to read it and sign it as well as my players. This way parents are aware of and can support you in any consequences that are given for poor behaviour or conduct. 

You then can focus on corrective discipline of this particular girl. When she is being rude, in a classroom I would address the behaviour quietly as it arises. I'd walk over to her and using a firm, quiet tone I would make her aware of her attitude. Something like 'Do you realise how rude your tone of voice is towards me, other girls', etc,'You will be sitting out soon if this continues'. Then quickly turn on your heel and walk towards a player who is doing the right thing (being respectful to teammates). Giving attention to someone doing the desired behaviour physically displays what this girl has to d to be in good favor with you.  

Never allow the situation to have the attention of the team members and give this girl an audience. If she corrects her behaviour during the training session, once dismissing everyone ask her to stay back. Praise her on  demonstrating that she can behave appropriately and that you would like it to continue. This often catches girls off guard as they believe staying back means they are in trouble.  

However if there are troubles at home that are causing her behaviour you need to take a different appoarch. In this instance I would work with her one on one. Find a skill that needs improvement and work with her individually on it. 

vanessa may MontgomeryCoach, Australia

everyones response to this has been spot on, never having coached before i went in at the deep in taking on a 12-13 team, there has been a lot of frustration with girls not listening,talking and some real attitude, i have gone over the respect rules. talked to disinterested parents, been the good cop, bad cop and the only thing that has worked finally was getting another coach to help me break them into groups and finally threatening to kick them off the team. and it's only the start of the season!

Netball CoachCoach

All the above answers are great.  I coach 11 year olds as well and periodically need to go over my expectations with them.   You can't worry about what parents will think of you or if the kids won't like you etc, if you lay down the law.   They are there to learn, at the end of the day you really need to behave like a benevolent dictator.  What you say goes.   You need to make it clear that if anyone doesn't agree with the way you coach they are free to find another team.

good luck.

Allie CollyerCoach, Australia

Just adding to my first post and agreeing that you can't worry about what they think of you. I start out very strict and lay down the law but as the girls get used to me and see that I will have fun with them if they do the right thing they really enjoyed playing in my team. I had pretty much every parent say to me at the end of the season that their daughter loved being coached by me - I think kids really do like boundaries and when the rules are clear and consistent they do respond.

One thing my girls love is when I join in with a half court game. I am still strict and call plays etc but they love that I am out there with them. I think they like seeing that their coach can have fun too but really show them as well as tell them.

Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

yeah thats the way it is with my teams too Allie.  they really dont like me at first, but by the end of the season they are asking if they can be coach again by me.  my 15 year old daughter still prefers me as her coach, even though she is given a hard time by her team mates at first.  as you said Allie, kids like boundaries, they just first have realise that they are allowed to like something.

and for some fun, do a parent vs kids game.  its a lot of fun for everyone.

Netball CoachCoach

Hi there,

I feel your pain. What we coaches consider to be difficult players can make things uneasy. I agree that stating expectations right from the start is helpful. Remembering the age group, 11 years, I believe it is not an easy task to have each child fully understand the impact that unwanted behaviour can have. In my experience, I lose their attention after the first sentence of my code of conduct speech. Usually because they find the worms and ants crawling around the courts more interesting than me. In hind-sight, I should have seen that one coming. Like you, I have spent many a time wondering how to tackle this type of situation. Do I have the stern word, do I approach the parent? Soon, my coaching experience in this situation has become more about dealing with it rather than focusing on netball. Not fun! I found the following approach has worked for me, and you may already be doing this.

Lots of praise! Lots of praise to every single child for the smallest of achievements. Child who talks a lot but takes a moment to listen - thank you for listening that is really great. That pass you executed was brilliant. I noticed that you helped Chelsea to defend her partner, that was great team work.

I was a very controlling coach before I changed my tact and it seems to working nicely. I even make an effort to tell the parents the good things that their child is doing and I have found that they have become more supportive of the team and of their child's efforts. At the end of my training sessions, I now give the girls a reward (always a treat in my case) if they answer a netball question correctly. For me this serves two purposes, the girls become engaged in your training session, and you are able to determine whether they have comprehended what you have just taught them.

I coach two teams, one 8 years and 10 years, using the same strategies with both. I can't say enough about praise especially with the more difficult ones. Yes, I still get those niggly little problems but not nearly half as bad as I have experienced over the years.

PS - I have also trained teenagers and you wouldn't believe how much they enjoy the treats as well. You'd think they would grow out of it. Good luck.

Netball CoachCoach

Agree with the about - I coach women and I have 2 of them... sometimes they dont grow out of it.

I have basically just told them that they are having limited Game time until she can start respecting the team, me the officials and more importantly themselves. Tough love at any age is a good thing. Stick to your guns, being a coach is never easy and a rather Thankless job and conversations that I have with my 2 ladies is never easy.

Good luck - I do want too know what you decide too do. %3A)

Isabel DixonCoach, New Zealand

Hi all - I have tried various methods for this but setting out your expectations to both the players and their parents if they are younger is important and communicating it to them at the same time is important. Managing the behavior is another matter all together and I have found that punishing the team while the disrupter is standing next to me is the most effective. The girl in question has been my daughter at times and although she is a hot head, she does not feel good at all when her team mates are penalised with push ups, sprints or crunches because of her behavior. They only do it once or twice, then it stops.

Netball CoachCoach

Thankyou so Much to everyone for all of your fantastic ideas. After several weeks we are seeing a major improvement in not only our team spirt but also in our performance on the court, I have used many of the ideas offered by firstly printing out a Code of conduct and having all Players and Parents sign and return, not just with what I expect from my players but also including my promise to them of what they can expect from me, showing everyone I am willing to do my bit aswell. I then implemented a point score system, for each training session and game, players are marked on several areas, from behavior, listening, attire, and attendance as well as Sportsmanship, I have explained these points will tally towards end of year trophies as well as my own reward to the players who finish first, second and third, eg. Netball Merchadise like a New Ball or Drink Bottles (something I will decide on/or buy as the year nears an end). I have then also explained what certain behavior will not be tolerated and that for this type of Behavior participation in training and Game will be restricted, so if you break these rules then you will sit out at training and you will play half game etc. But just to be sure they dont think the lazy issue is best I have explained that I will also punish with Laps and Push Ups, this way they dont think they can misbehave and get to sit and do nothing. Over all I guess it has come down to be strict but fair and letting everyone (parents too) know what I expect and what will happen if they disrespect me our their team, the result is a Happier team and a happier coach %3A)    Thanks again Everyone

Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

great result and ideas mel.  thanks for keeping us up to date with your progress and awesome that you and your team are doing so much better.

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