December 04, 18 | admin

Coaches And Parents - When There Is A Problem

You’ve seen it on the 10 o’clock news. Someone’s Dad gets out of control, rushes the field, gets in an altercation with an umpire and next thing you know, he’s in jail, with the most pitiful expression on his face you’ve ever seen. No one wants to be that parent, yet when it comes to our kids we turn into drooling, snarling, yelling bears.

And if you are a youth baseball coach, you’re thrilled to see the kids at the opening of the season, and your mind fills full of dread at having to deal with the parents. A clever parent knows that walking two feet behind one’s child and doing everything for them is not going to teach them independence and self sufficiency. A good coach knows that when a kid enters baseball, it’s not just the kid, it’s the kid’s family as well. Families need training just as badly as young athletes do. Both parents and coaches can do a few things to ease into the joy and fun of baseball, and do their best to ignore the less flattering behaviors that have plagued little league for years.

The Philosophy and the Agreement

Coaches: Present your philosophy at a mandatory parents meeting. If your kind of team is one that’s about fun and just doing your best, tell the parents. If your ship is tight and you coach in a very strict way that asserts competitive play, tell the parents! Explain the rules of your training, how you pick players, how you build the line-ups, penalties for tardiness, expectations of fundraising and volunteering and driving, all of it, every morsel, be clear, concise and firm. Don’t leave anything out, and consider asking parents to sign a contract with you to abide by your rules.

Parents: This is your chance to see if this coach is the one you want for your kid. Does the coach appear to be too tough, is it better to move to another team that better suits the vibe you’re looking for? Now is your chance to switch to another team, or to like the coach’s presentation, sign the form, and promise to trust in the coach, and do what the coach says.

Keeping Agreements

Coaches: Your requirements are in writing, you made agreements with the parents and the players, you laid down the law, now live by it! Don’t create new rules where none existed before, don’t give your word and then break it. Show the parents they chose well, and pledge your dedication to molding these kids into a working baseball team that everyone can enjoy and appreciate.

Parents: You signed the coach’s contract, and now it’s time, even if you feel uncertain or doubtful, to find trust, let your fears go, and let the coaching for your kid come from THE COACH. If a coach breaks their word, then you can bring forth your concerns and disagreements, but if you’ve signed the agreement after reading it carefully, and the coach is within the limits of the agreement, the grown-up thing to do is grit your teeth, sit on your hands and keep quiet.

Communication is the Key

Coaches: A good leader hears everyone and makes educated decisions with care and consideration. Don’t let one bad experience from 2001 (come on, that’s ancient history!) be your reason for being distant and gruff with parents. Parents are not the enemy! Without parents, you don’t have players, and without players, you have no game. When you show parents that you are willing to deal with their concerns, it builds trust, and trust can transform concerns into enthusiasm and participation.

Parents: Hang back, avoid the impulse to become a “helicopter parent”and develop more of a “wait and see”approach as your child develops a relationship with the coach, the other players and the game. Give your kid the opportunity to experience stuff like frustration, failure and anger (fill in emotion here) in a safe and nurturing environment. Besides, sometimes it’s great to let the coach give the tough love, and you can be the “Good Times Parent”by offering some ice cream after a tough practice. Remember, kids can become “too cool”to give hugs… baseball can return the hugs you’ve missed!

When Nothing Works

Coaches: If you have a parent who consistently displays unacceptable behavior, don’t go it alone. Be firm, patient and respectful, and then inform the league where hopefully administrators can help solve the problem.

Parents: Sometimes your lil’slugger is going to have a hard practice, but if practices make your kid miserable all the time, and if you see the coach being too rough on the kids, be watchful, talk to other parents, and if you need to: inform the league, they are there for you as well.

Our last few words: Be Respectful. Be Kind.

After all, we all set examples for our kids. We want the best for the kids. Good luck!