Youth coaching: How to deal with parents

No matter if it’s a big or small group, if it’s classic or indoor soccer, if they are just starting or they have some experience, managing a youth soccer team is quite difficult. It’s definitely not a task that anyone can do without breaking a sweat. There is an enormous variety of things to pay attention to and, in my opinion, it’s a job that you have to be passionate about to perform properly and effectively.

Among those important factors involved is dealing with parents. You have to understand that you are dealing with boys and girls, and that parents sometimes find it difficult to let go and let them learn the basics of social interaction. That’s just natural, it’s that protective instinct that sometimes make them do irrational things.

You may find parents who leave their kids and come back when they’re done, or a father that emphatically demands his boy to play more minutes, or a mother who is convinced you know nothing about soccer and criticizes your decisions every time. These and many more uncomfortable situations are very common to be seen at youth soccer competitions.

This is why I find it important to be prepared beforehand, so that these type of episodes don’t make a negative impact on the kids or yourself. I’ve recently come across an article from this site that goes over this kind of problems, and that could end up being really helpful for any coach in his/her first years of training.

Among the many tips, we can find this one:

Always listen to their ideas and feelings. Remember, they are interested and concerned because it is their children that are involved. Encourage parental involvement.

This is a great one. If parents feel involved and participant, then their behavior towards you will be much different. If you get them to feel as part of the team, then teamwork mode is enables and you can trust on having them on your side. Problematic parents usually make trouble because they feel no one agrees with them or that their point of view is the only valid. Talk, explain and listen to their opinions.

The article also discusses having meeting prior to and during the season, so you can lay down the principles which you are determined to work by and what you expect from them at every moment, besides making necessary corrections on the way and allowing them to participate in discussing important decisions.

It goes on with other very useful tips, worth the read. But I want to bring attention to one last item:

Ask parents not to criticize their children in front of anyone else. Don’t let your players be humiliated, even by their own parents.

Often, a youth soccer game is surrounded by such a tense energy that kids cannot do what they have to, play and enjoy a sport. There will always be parents shouting on the sidelines and even insulting the referees and authorities. But the worst case is when the kids are being told of so hard that they can never really concentrate.

Talk to those parents. Set limits. We have to always remember that they are very young people, growing up and learning about life as they go. Traumatic experiences have to be cut off from the root. At least that’s what I firmly believe.

Well, I hope this article has helped new coaches, and that it can make us all realize where it’s important to put the focus. Kids are kids, and they should be respected.


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Am I too old to start practicing soccer?

This is a question we get a lot nowadays, and I can’t really understand why. It seams like in this modern world where everyone has to be so specialized in something that you cannot start a new activity if you’re no longer a teenager. Soccer, as any sport for that matter, can be played at any age for the first time, it will just take practice to keep getting better.

Sure, you’ll probably not turn out to be a professional, but you can definitely find a new passion and, if you invest enough hours, then you are likely to become a really good player. I want to be clear about this, you can start whenever you want!

However, there are a few things you need to know beforehand. It’s obvious if you start any activity at an early age and do it for while, you’re going to be better at it and perform much more naturally. That’s just the way it is and we all know that. This is particularly true for sports. There’s a reason why NO professional soccer player started playing as an adult.

But you don’t need to be a pro, no one does! Personally I’ve been playing soccer since I can remember, I’ve always had a ball around, but that’s because my family also likes the sport and because from an early age I’ve enjoyed it. I’m no expert, nonetheless. Not even close. But that doesn’t keep me from having great deals of fun everytime I can take part in a match or even enter a few competitions with friends.

I’m just trying to tell you to be realistic about your expectations. You will be really bad at first, and you’ll go through a steep learning curve before you can feel a little more confident about your abilities. A good idea if you are in this position is to find people at your same spot and practice together. That way you can all go at the same pace and you won’t be frustrated by those skillful players going all around you.

Soccer schools are great for that matter. There you will find groups separated according to age, stages of learning, etc. Moreover, one of the most advantageous parts of going to a school like these is the opportunity to train with coaches with experience in teaching. You will never learn faster than you can when you train with a good coach. Yeah, I know. How could you spot a good coach if you’ve never met one before? That’s something we’ll go over in future posts, so don’t feel descouraged. Just take that leap and start NOW!

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We would like to welcome everybody to! We’re really excited to begin this new project and hope to have you among us for a long time.

This blog will be discussing soccer related topics, and youth soccer in greater detail.

We are a team of experienced players and coaches who find it just amazing to be able to write about our greatest passion.

Please, if you have any suggestion or something you wish to let us know, use the contact page to get in touch with us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

So, off we go! Enjoy the ride!

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