Problems with parents in soccer
Problems with Parents?
How does a coach establish his authority over the playing time issue?
This page is specifically to deal with the problems with parents.
The number one source of conflict between coaches and parents are disagreements
about the abilities of the athlete, which translates into playing time.
So I think it's critical for the coach to get beyond a subjective evaluation to justify
the playing time of the athlete.
The way you do that is you institute a very basic, or if you prefer, a very elaborate,
performance evaluation system. Keeping statistics, for example. This is not only for
the problems with parents, but for those involved with the team.
The process should go beyond stats. It's not really stats, it's an assessment of the
athlete's abilities relative to the skills that are necessary to play the sport.
Other things like attitude, sportsmanship, and teamwork should also be included so that
the coach basically develops a grading system.
This is the kind of thing that any coach can use, and it has a number of benefits.
First of all, it's a tremendous motivation/goal-setting tool for athletes because it
provides them with objective feedback on their abilities and strengths and weaknesses.
A coach can say, "Here are the areas that you need to work on. When you see your
grades go up in this area, you're going to see more playing time."
There's the benefit for the coach with the athlete, but then the carry-over benefit
with the parent is that it takes the coach out of the position of being an arbitrary
designator of playing time. They can show, "Here's the basis of my assessment and
here's where I'm coming from." In a very objective way the coach can point out the
strengths and weaknesses of the child to the parent.
Ensure that everyone involved has a good understanding of the developmental process
of those involved in sport and in soccer.
Try these pages for help Soccer parent, What about the situation where you have a student-athlete who's not going to get a
and long term development.
lot of playing time but is a role player with a contribution to make? Do you know of
strategies so that this person feels important?
The first thing is finding out what the young athlete wants out of the sport experience
so that coaches and parents shouldn't be guilty of imposing their own ambitions on the athlete.
For some soccer players, they actually may prefer to play a less leading role on the team.
It's finding out what they want to do and what they want to get out of the sport
experience, and then of course, trying to accommodate those wishes and desires.
Many coaches today say that dealing with parents is getting harder.
Would you agree? We're hearing this in our area, in all different high school sports.
The last five years there have been a lot of coaches who have quit, these were not
coaches who quit because they had a poor record but because they had had enough
of dealing with parents. The higher the expectations of the parents the more
pressure they will exert on the soccer coaches, players and themselves.
What do you think is going on with parents? Where is this coming from? A large part of
it has to do with the achievement orientation in our society.
The good side of it is that coaches have got to realize that when they're dealing with a
problem parent, give that parent some credit.
At least the parent cares enough to be there--you can work with that individual.
I think the number one problem parent is the one that you never see, the athlete looks up
into the stands at practice or at a game and mom or dad are never there.
That's a real problem parent.
So I think coaches should recognize that you want to give the parents some credit
for at least being concerned enough about their youngsters.
The problem arises when parents take on a sense of over-identification.
This can be referred to as reverse-dependency trap.
Parents are going to identify with their children. It's part of the love bond
that's been established.
And yet for some parents, the identification becomes excessive.
So it's not Johnny or Mary who's out there competing, but an extension of the
parent's own ego. When that happens, the young athlete has to excel or the parent
feels threatened. So we refer to this as reverse-dependency, because normally,
youngsters are dependent upon parents for a certain amount of esteem and sense
of worth that they're developing for themselves.
The reverse part of dependency is when we have a situation where the parent
becomes dependent on the youngster for feelings of self-worth.
This duality is noticed in most cases where the parent is on the sidelines
jeering and not cheering.
So the key is if coaches can help parents recognize this problem and warn them
about over-identifying with their children. The most common example of this over-identification
that we've all seen is some father who is a so-called frustrated jock and is trying to
achieve some athletic glory through his son or daughter--living through his children.
Both coaches and high school administrators report that a lot of parents are convinced
that their son or daughter is a Division I scholarship athlete and it's the coach who's getting i
n the way of the student getting that scholarship.
What we're getting at here is an overriding problem of the parents' lack of understanding
relative to the objectives and the values of youth sports. There's a misunderstanding about
realistic goal setting--having high aspirations is great, but parents have to understand that
there's a difference between dreams and goals.
In terms of the dreams of getting a college scholarship, it's often helpful to give parents some figures.
What are the chances that a high school athlete is going to become a professional in any sport?
Statistics indicate that the chances are one in 12,000. So that's the reality of the situation.
A youngster has a better chance of becoming a millionaire than a professional athlete.
So keeping dreams in perspective is important.
If you're looking to get financial benefit out of your child's sport, then you're going to
see your child's athletic participation in a whole different light.
It's a distorted perception.
This may be part of the underlying basis of that distorted perception of ability.
Try to put everything into perspective by listening to all those around you,
especially your soccer playing children, their friends, the soccer coach and your