Congratulations on making the decision to become a youth baseball coach! You’ve entered a really challenging and rewarding field, and the next few years are going to serve to shape the kind of coach you become.
One of the questions many new youth baseball coaches have is, how do I handle aggressive parents? This is a great question, and it’s one that deserves a lot of thoughts.
The fact is, even if you end up being the best coach in the world, you’re going to end up dealing with some pretty aggressive parents. Even as you get older, and your coaching techniques become more refined, you’re still going to encounter parents who truly believe that they know a great deal more about how to coach baseball than you do. It will be of great benefit if you can learn how to deal with these parents now, rather than later, when their behavior threatens to burn you out.
The most important tip we have to offer you in dealing with overbearing and aggressive parents is this: Start before the season even begins.
That very first meeting you have with the parents of your players is going to tell you just about everything you’re going to need to know for the rest of the season. You’re going to learn who the cooperative helpful ones are and the opposites. At this meeting you’ll want to do the following:
Lay out your expectations for the parents – Your hard work will go a long way if you can get the parents to truly believe that they are also an important part of your team. You’ll also avoid a lot of unnecessary conversations later on if you can lay down some ground rules right from the beginning. Stress how important it is that the players arrive for practices and games on time, and what the penalties will be if they’re late. Also, make sure parents know what equipment their kids will be needing, to ensure that everyone starts out the season on the right foot. The more clear you can be about your expectations before your first practice, the better.
Lay down the ground rules – Your league has certain rules that need to be followed, and you should have your own set of rules too. Things like, explaining to the parents of younger kids that you’re not going to be dropping their kids off at home after practice should absolutely be discussed at this meeting. You’ll also want to make sure parents understand your rules for how much playing time the kids will get, that way if parents get upset later on in the season, you can refer them back to the information from this meeting.
Talk about your coaching philosophy – Before you start the season, you’ll want to have worked out your own coaching philosophy, and the goals you want to work on with your team. Communicating this information to parents is vital, because you’ll need them to back you up if you come across a defiant child, or when the team’s spirit starts to lag.
Above all, you’re going to find that youth baseball coaching is a tremendous experience, even if you do have to deal with a few aggravating parents along the way. If you’re new to coaching, and you’re eager for more tips, please be sure to check back often. Write to us and let us know your challenges! We are always here to help.