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Tough Scenarios from Both Coach and Parent Perspectives

The Sporting Dad challenges you to a game of Fill in the Blanks.

Let’s play Fill in the Blanks. Some of the situations are targeted toward coaches while others ask for a parent’s perspective. Many of these are tough! I’ve been involved in most of these scenarios and often wondered if there were better ways to handle them. Feel free to pick and choose what you respond to. The idea behind this is to share information and strategies to enhance the youth sporting experience for all involved.

1. True or False. When a coach who is also a league board member gets suspended, he should serve double-time. __________

2. The coach who whips his player into a bloodthirsty lather and then sends him out to “do whatever the [expletive] you need to do” should be __________.

3. As a parent of a player, I expect the coach to hold a pre-season Parents' Meeting and address these subjects __________.

4. The other team’s parents are loud, belligerent, and ringing cowbells to emphasize whenever their team scores or knocks a player down. I am going to __________.

5. Your 10-year-old’s coach has his players huddled around him before the start of the big game. He has his trophy with him from the year he played on the
championship team as a 5th grader. He looks at his little players and says, “This is what it’s all about!” On the way home after the game your child mentions the conversation. Your reply is __________.

6. You are the coach. You’re yelling out instructions to your players. Across the
field is a parent who is also yelling out instructions to your team. By halftime
you’ve had enough. You decide to __________.

7. You are a parent yelling out instructions to the team from the sidelines. The coach asks you to please refrain. You __________.

8. You are a parent yelling out instructions to the team from the sidelines. Another parent of a player on your team asks you to please refrain. You __________.

9. You are a parent yelling out instructions to the team from the sidelines. A parent from the other team asks if it’s really necessary for you to carry on like that. You __________.

10. The parents around you are yelling at the ump/referee. He’s a high school kid. You decide to __________.

11. The parents around you are yelling at the ump/referee. He’s a coach from another team. You decide to __________.

12. The parents around you are yelling at the ump/referee. He’s one of those guys who officiates ten games a week. You decide to __________.

13. You see a parent on the sidelines who appears to be intoxicated. You are not friends but you’ve spoken a few times during games. He’s beginning to make a scene so you __________.

14. You are watching your child’s game. The team is on the field and thunder can be heard in the distance. You get the attention of the official and point to the sky. Play continues so you decide to __________.

15. Your child mentions that he is being bullied by a teammate. You have a
discussion with the coach and he promises to address the situation. Your
expectations are that he will __________.

16. You are the Coach. A parent of one of your players alerts you that another player on your team is bullying his child. You address this by __________.

17. Your child is dedicated to one sport per season and attends every practice during the week. Another kid who is one of the better players on the team plays two sports and misses one practice a week but gets more playing time on game day. The fair thing is __________.

18. You are the coach. Several of your players participate in two sports and miss one practice a week. You handle the situation by __________.

19. Your child attends every practice and gives 100% all of the time but is an average player at best. He’s never played more than the minimum time per game required by the league. You’ve spoken to the coach a few times already and were told he’d be playing more. There are only a handful of games left so you decide to __________.

20. You are the coach. And you guessed it! The parent in #19 is upset with you.
When you are approached by him again, you respond by saying __________.

Bonus Question: You are coaching a team of 8-year-olds in baseball. The ump is consistently calling strikes when the ball is coming in over their heads. They are confused. All season they’ve been told not to swing at high pitches. The opposing coach and ump are buddies and you don’t get along with either one of them. You decide to __________.

Ron Goralski June 02, 2012 at 07:08 PM
To follow that up: I've been involved with tough decisions like this one and even those that have helped out a sport have to behave properly - sometimes even more than the others because they are viewed as leaders. I've learned some of this from mistakes of my own - so everything can become a learning experience.
Ron Goralski June 02, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I need to explain to those that are new to the column that it appears in over 20 towns. So while an incident might sound like one that you just witnessed - chances are it's not. Quite often though I am emailed stories from youth games in the listening area and I'll take it to support a point relating to a subject I'm writing about. That's why you won't see me naming towns and coaches here. I'm concerned with addressing a situations - not bashing people by name. The sad part to me is that someone may have acted poorly today, and by tomorrow, someone - somewhere has repeated the same behavior. Hopefully the more it's discussed - the more attention that is brought to it - and the more someone might think before doing the wrong thing. If I'm naive in this way of thinking - well then the joke is on me I guess. I don't mind being laughed at :)
Ron Goralski June 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Oh my goodness I'm getting a lot of email chatter on many of these. Are there any coaches willing to take a shot at commenting on a few?
chris moore June 05, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Most of your scenarios could be handled with that parent meeting at the beginning of the season. It is the most critical communication you will do, and no matter how much the parents dislike your coaching or you personally, if you have told them the way it's going to be, how communication will be handled, how you will determine playing time, how you expect them to support and not criticize, to not coach from the stands, to treat the refs with respect or shut up, then these issues end quickly. The coach can control a tremendous amount of the environment in youth sports, and he can help the kids learn from the things that happen that he can't control. Clearly he or she needs the backing of the governing board in order to facilitate the best environment, and that should not be understated.
Ron Goralski June 08, 2012 at 02:27 AM
I've discovered things don't go always as plotted out during those meetings.

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