Trying to stay a positive coach when parents are against you

Trying to stay a positive coach when parents are against you

I am coaching 10 & 11yr old girls for the 2nd year purely because no one else wanted to do it - I've never even played netball and this site helps me every week, invaluable and we see tangible results. 1st year we won comp and championship, this year came 2nd in comp, champ starts this Sat. Two of the girls have told me their mums are changing them from this school team to another club (the one that won) next year 'cause "the coaching's not good enough for their child". All this teaches their child is that if your team isn't winning, go to another - forget about loyalty. Sometimes it difficult to take this on the chin. Any advice?

Leah Coach, New Zealand
Leah Coach, New Zealand

May add this is the 3rd shot from these two mums this season (even had me in tears for 1) and am ready to tell them where to stick it.

Netball CoachCoach

You need to ignore the parents and just carry on with what you are doing which sounds great.  There will always be parents who have rose tinted glasses as to how good their child is and how they should be in a better team.  If they chose to go let them and just focus on the girls that appreciate you being there.  if they confront you ask them if they would like to take over your coaching role?  

Janet Coach, Australia

Keep at it Leah sounds like you are doing a good job.  Coaching is not easy at the start even if you have played netball.  It took me quite a few seasons to see the game as a whole and to get a good routine going at training.  It is a fact that players will leave or change clubs along the way so don't take it too personally and focus your positive attention on those that are staying. 

Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

you will always come across parents who like to criticise but not offer anything constructive to help...and of course their child is perfect and is being hard done by.  i know its hard to take that type of criticism without taking it to heart, as like most coaches, we love our sport and are just trying to give something back to it, or in your case, doing it just because no one else will, which is high commendable, as it is very difficult to be teaching a sport when you have not had the experience of actually playing or doing it.  but i have done this is trampolining, when i was asked to help out, and ended up helping out for 7 years!!!  you learn a lot by listening and watching those who do have the experience, so go along and sit and listen to how other coaches coach, and talk to them about how to deal with some of these difficult situations.  but honestly, think of it was a good thing when an annoying parent takes their precious child else where.  at least you wont have to deal with them again.  keep up the awesome work.

Netball CoachCoach

Hi Leah, ahh the joys of coaching. Keep up the good work with the kids. Parents can be crazy sometimes and some unfortunate kids have parents who forget that teaching kids the qualities of  loyalty and commitment to the their coach and team is more important than always winning. You don't have to be the greatest world changing coach out there. The kids you're coaching at their age (10-11yrs) aren't looking for a superstar coach to teach them every specific thing about netball, just one who they know they can trust as a person (i.e role model) and being a big encourager to them. You are making a big difference in those girls lives.

Nicole Coach, New Zealand

Hi Leah, unfortunately I am currently in the same position as you and it sucks! It has brought me to tears and disheartened me so much. I couldn't understand the parents concerns, as we were winning games with scores such as 32-0! Then i understod the fact that you cannot make everyone happy, the parents only want one thing and that is for their little girl to shine! The absolute best thing you can do is stay strong, don't let them get to you and show them what a great coach you really are. I'm learning to do the same :-) Keep on smiling

hope this helps  

Netball CoachCoach

I began coaching because nobody else would take on the team and I knew pretty much nothing.  That was 11 years ago and man, have I learned a lot since then!  I could tell you some stories about parents that would make your hair curl but can also tell you how much joy I get out of helping my girls learn not only about netball but also life skills such as sportsmanship, dealing with disappointment, encouraging and learning to get along with others, putting the needs of the team ahead of yourself etc etc.  You sound like a wonderful role model for these girls, you are committed to the team and to learning, plus you have had lots of success.  No parents could ask for more, especially when their kids are 11!  Be confident that you are doing a great job.  I would suggest being open to parents comments but only when they are being constructive.  Everyone can do a better job until they have to do it!  If these nasty ones move on, at least you won't have a couple of desperados bringing the morale of the other mums down!  Forget about these parents with odd attitudes and concentrate on having fun with the lovely girls you have. You will make a difference with them and the rewards are amazing.....

Moana KaluauPlayer, United States of America

When you have your team all sorted and the season hasn't begun yet.  Gather all the parents together before the season starts, and let them know that you are the coach, these are your rules, and all that you need the parents to do, is help with the snacks, and support their children.  In all my volunteer coaching in netball, basketball, volleyball etc., ages 8-10yrs, 11-12yrs, and 12 years to adult women, I have always been upfront and let the parents know that since none of them was willing to coach, I am going to try to do my best, but once the season starts I do not want to see parents coming to me and giving me their 2 cents worth.  They should have stepped up before the season begins, and now I am volunteering to coach their children.  When I need help I will ask them to help out, but during the season it will be my decision of how I will coach.  I didn't even have children playing in the league. But ever since I have used this approach it has worked for me.  There is nothing wrong with letting the parents know what you expect especially if they were not the ones who stepped up.  It makes everything clear to the parents, and they know where they stand.  If they have a question about your coaching then see you before, or after the game but not during.  I have learnt that when coaching, you need to be upfront and set the rules right from the beginning no questions asked after you have set them.  I have been fortunate so far about no-one who approaches me during the season and it has been great having the opportunity to coach these young children.  You should try it and see how it works, it might not work for everyone, but for me it did.  So good luck.

sarah maslenCoach, Australia

As a coach I can completely relate to this! It can be very difficult to concentrate on your job as a coach when complaints and politicis get in the way.

It sounds like you are doing the right thing by focusing on the fact that you are there to coach the players and do the best job you can in that - and so I'd say keep doing what you are doing, remind the parents that you are doing this role to allow the girls the opportunity to play, and if they keep it up seek advice and support from the school - you are a volunteer and they have a responsibility to assist and support you.

I also wouldn't be disheartened by some players shifting to club, although it is poorly approached by the parents it is a pretty normal age for parents to start looking at club sports over school sports and to be honest isnt always a bad thing - sometimes playing for a club gives more opportunity to be graded into a team with equally skilled players and can provide more of a challenge for some of those competitive players (and parents unfortunately) than school teams - clubs also have more resources to back up coaches that schools so may be better equiped to deal with protecting the coach from the parents behaviour!

good luck and good on you for stepping up and taking on the role!

Jodie BrooksCoach, Australia

Keep your chin up & do your best, we are all doing the same.  You need to remember that while there are some parents who think that they know best & their child (obviously the superstar :-) deserves better, there are another 8 girls on your team who are looking to you to guide & train them.  There are always going to be players who jump ship cause of whatever reason, we just have to do our best.

Tony MayPlayer, England

Fact is you are getting out there and doing something constructive in coaching the team when nobody else would. If you didnt do it , there would be no team. There are many parents too quick to condemn , but strangely they dont actually get involved in a club or in coaching......Maybe invite these parents to take on some responsibilty within the club and assist in coaching sessions.....I bet they run a mile !! Keep it up and good luck to you....sounds like you are doing a cracking job. You cant please all of the people all of the time, so dont change your approach because of this...

Karen LongworthCoach, Australia

Welcome to the crazy world of coaching! I have been very fortunate in my coaching `career` to have only have to deal with parents like this on 2 occasions. I consider my role as a coach to improve my players & help them move on to better things. Consider these players `moved on`.

You`ve taken up a challenge no one else would & by the sounds of it, been quite successful. You can`t focus on the negative. You have lost 2 kids who have caused you grief, but kept the rest of a very good team. Majority rules!

At the beginning of every season I have a team meet & greet as our club grades & mixes teams every year. At this meeting I lay out my expectations of players & parents, my coaching style, so they know what to expect of me & let them know I am always available if they have an issue. `See me early so it doesn`t become an issue`.

Keep a coaching book. keep a record of who is absent from training/games, and sitting off. This book is available to any parent who thinks their child is sitting off more than any other.

Good luck, and don`t give up you are a winning coach regardless of the score!

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