Parents on the line

After a very interesting discussion on Twitter last night with members of the coaching family – that’s something for coaches on Twitter to help each other out in the world of football coaching.

The subject was brought about after Anth had made comments about being shocked with the way parents had behaved on the line for a U11 game at the weekend. This then started a discussion with Chris, Rich, ChrisNick and John which I also joined in too.

We touched upon some very important problems which occur when coaching and on match days. Not that everyone has problems, a lot of parents are fantastic support towards coaches and let them get on with it. However, that is not the case for all of them. Every coach out there has probably had some problems whilst coaching at grassroots level.

I have very recently too, which in all honesty was a good job it was not my introduction to coaching as I would probably not have wanted to coach anymore. But with the experience I have now, I decided that the best thing for myself to do was step down as nothing worked in order to stopping the problems.

The respect campaign from The FA is supposed to have the parents not right on the line, which has been brought into place throughout the different leagues. But does it really make much of a difference? If they are going to shout they will be heard even if a few feet from the touch-line.

The parents are supposed to be supporting their child and the team, nothing but encouragement and well done should be shouted from the sideline. Thinking about the younger players u10s and right down to the start, if everyone is shouting and telling them different things the players easily become confused and then have no idea what to do. They start to become scared about making a mistake and getting told off afterwards. This is something that we as coaches must try to stop and do the most important thing . . . develop players. Therefore trying to help the players understand that they have to just play their own game and try not to listen to shouts from the side-line (other than the coaches of course).

Match bans could also be something to think about if they are very abusive towards any of the players (on either team) or towards the referee as well. While some people may just be beyond help, for some of them a couple of games being banned from watching might just help them to see a bit of sense and remind them that it is kids football – and it should all be about the boys and girls who want to just play.

I think personally after coaching at the girls centre of excellence last season, I actually forgot what it was like at grassroots games. It is the total opposite end of the spectrum and I really cannot understand why! Isn’t it all about the kids enjoyment as well as helping them develop skills as players? Some people need to remember that more.

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2 thoughts on “Parents on the line

  1. Its a tough one. Watching my little brother grow up playing I used to shout at him to do things, then hear his manager shout something else entirely. No wonder he kept looking vacant at times. It’s hard watching family play without going over the top at times. I’ve seen one kids game almost end in a fight cos one person I know took offence on a decision. The kids just wanted to play. Maybe thats why I won’t become a coach even tho I want to, purely cos as a young ref I got loads of abuse off parents

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    1. Yeah it is really tough, and I started to realise that even more when trying to write this blog post. I can imagine the abuse you got as a young ref, it really is bad at times the way people shout at the refs. Especially on the mini soccer when some of the refs are still pretty much kids themselves. Do you still ref now?

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