Teaching Coaches to Handle Unruly Sports Parents

2012-01-25T16:28:33+00:00 January 25th, 2012|Coaching, Volunteer Management|

As a youth sports administrator, you are responsible for a lot of things—streamlining the registration process, running volunteer and coach background checks, creating team rosters for every age division, scheduling tournaments and much, much more. But as a youth sports administrator your responsibilities extend beyond the league offices and take you out onto the field. It’s also your job to teach your coaches and volunteers how to behave on the field and how to manage unruly sports parents.

Chances are many of your coaches are sports parents themselves, not professional athletes or high powered coaches that are used to running a sports team. They have generously agreed to coach their child’s team, but that doesn’t always mean they know what they are in for. Any sports parent or coach that has been around for even a single season can tell you that dealing with unruly sports parents is one of the most frustrating things a coach has to deal with during a practice or game. As a sports administrator, you have to teach your coaches how to manage boisterous sports parents, both on their team and on the opponents’ team, in order to help keep the peace.

Here are three key things you should teach your coaches at the beginning of the season:

They can’t make it personal.

It’s very easy to take an attack from a sports parent as a personal assault, but that will only make things worse. No matter how angry a parent is, the coach should never take it personally. The more they can distance themselves from the issue, the easier it will be to stay calm and handle the situation professionally.

Unacceptable behavior should not be ignored.

As the team coach, they have the right and the responsibility to put a disruptive sports parent back in line. Ignoring it won’t make it go away and it might show the other parents and players that that kind of behavior will go unpunished—not a lesson you want your league to condone.

Talk to unruly sports parents individually.

Calling a sports parent out in front of the whole team is just going to put them on the defensive and might make things worse. It’s much better to talk to them one-on-one after the game or practice. Teach your coaches that it’s also a good idea to let the situation cool down before confronting them about their actions. Getting swept up in the heat of the moment won’t solve anything.