great topic from one of you…coaches please give an opinion before I do


2 Responses to “great topic from one of you…coaches please give an opinion before I do”

  1. November 19, 2009 at 9:20 AM

    The parents of my youth soccer team have complained about lack of playing time. However, it’s not your typical complaint. It’s not from the parents of the weaker players saying I only play the better players. This is from the parents of the “better” players complaining that their kids should play more over the “weaker” kids. Apparently they are unhappy that during our last few games their kids saw less playing time than the “weaker” kids. They fail to mention that we were completely dominating those teams, and we play in the top division. So rather than run the score up on these teams or leave the “superstars” on the filed playing keep the ball away, I elected to let the “weaker” kids play slightly extra time at the expense of the “better” players. Allowing us to still play to score and not keep away and at the same time allowing these players to develop. Yes I said that negative word “develop.”

    I now have threats of kids looking to leave to find a team that they will get more minutes from. Did I forget to tell you that these players all still played half the game? Oh, except for my son who in one game I pulled out for the entire second half. In the other games, he is the first kid I pull. However, no one noticed that (other than my assistant coaches) because they say my kid still played the whole game. One parent recently confronted me during a game about why his kid wasn’t playing more since he was better than the players on the field.

    By the way, our team plays in the top division and are winning all of our games, including the tournaments we enter. More importantly the kids are learning and having fun.

  2. November 20, 2009 at 10:28 AM

    OK, i left it there for everyone for a day so here goes:

    A few points worth mentioning and I’ll make some assumptions along the way.

    First, any coach who’s team is dominating so much over the course of several games must know what he’s doing so good job right there.

    Second, any coach who takes advantage of that opportunity to give some lesser developed players time on the field they normally wouldn’t have clearly understands the importance of DEVELOPING players instead of worrying about only wins and losses so again, good job.

    I think the only place you fell down here, coach, is that you’re actually somewhat surprised that parents would react this way so here’s where I insert an assumption. Before, the season started, I’ll assume you had a meeting with the parents where you handed out your personal set of golden rules. in this packet of golden rules would have been our philosophy about winning versus development…your philosophies about playing time…a reminder that there are minimum playing time rules and the no one should assume anything more than minimum playing time. And let’s not forget my favorite of the golden rules, “Never, EVER try to address me with a concern before, during or right after a game, PERIOD!!!”

    The second this parent came over to you, your first and only response must be, “Mr. Smith, you know we don’t talk about these things during the game. Please shoot me a note and we’ll set a time to talk. Please excuse me, I have to get back to the kids.” Then simply turn and walk away.

    When you are actually in that conversation, calmly remind him that playing time is not guaranteed, regardless of talent…calmly remind him that these were games that were well in hand for your team and this was the perfect opportunity to give some other kids more playing time…calmly get him to agree that there will be times when you are trailing or perhaps even winning but maybe by only one goal, where you will need to keep the better players on the field longer than the others and have him put himself in the shoes of the parents who’s kids will be sitting more when that happens…calmly remind him that there has never been a coach who hasn’t gotten complaints about playing time and that you as the coach know that there is always going to be someone who is unhappy…then calmly affirm with him that complaints of this nature are those that you would gladly have because it’s kind of silly to have an argument when the team is winning AND all the kids are getting a chance to play and develop. Then, once you’ve gotten all issues on the table, ask him what HE would do in that case. You’ll typically here a parent talk about what should happen with his kid. Just let him ramble on and on and when he’s done, simply say, “wow, that seems to work out really well for your son, but what about the 14 other kids on the team? You see, while all the parents have the luxury of focusing on their own child, I have to worry about 15 of them and trying to keep them all happy and learning.”

    The more calmly you deliver these messages, the more of an idiot the parent will feel like.

    As for parents who threaten to take their child off your team, I have a simple answer. Call their bluff, but do it kindly.

    “Mr. Smith, I’m sorry that my coaching philosophy doesn’t meld with how you want your child handled and if that means you would rather have him play somewhere else, I can certainly appreciate you making what you feel is the best decision for your child. Please let me know by Wednesday what you plan to do so I can plan accordingly for the rest of THIS team for the rest of THIS season. Thanks.”

    Chances are this is simply a bluff and if you cave at all on this, the parents will steamroll you from that point moving forward. Besides, these kids are still babies and if you lose a legitimate pain in the neck parent who’s priorities are out of whack, wouldn’t you rather do that now and eliminate further problems? Think about it, when a parent has a problem, do they keep it to themselves? NO! they poison the punch and try to get other parents disgruntled as well and who needs that?

    There are plenty of truly bad coaches who aren’t good for our kids but it sounds like, at least in this case, that you have been doing the right things and are acting int he best interest of the kids as a group.

    Keep it up and i hope this helps.

    Let me know if you have any other questions about this.

    Coach Tony

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