Hey Parents! Coaching Youth Football is Hard
I have been coaching youth football and other youth sports since 1994, almost 20 years. Unfortunately for me, the 2010 fall season was my worst season dealing with player’s parents. I was surprised by all the parent issues, especially because I was not the head coach but the Defensive Coordinator on an established Select football team. Maybe because I was the new guy I was an easy target, don’t know, but this past football season has made me think about hanging up my whistle and coaching from the bleachers with the other parents, especially if I am not the Head Coach. It’s so easy complaining about the issues rather than offering solutions and supporting volunteers that are investing a significant amount of personal time and money so other’s children can learn a sport. Since I am a Christian, I was surprised by the parent who requested prayers before games was the parent that caused the most chaos on the team. I guess we needed to pray for them.
Coaching youth football is hard and dealing with the parents is even harder. Parents must remember that there are usually 20 players on a team and the coaching staff is not focused on your child like you are focused on little Johnny. We are coaching the entire team not just your child. I am a parent also and go through what parents go through when my sons sit on the bench. “He’s so great and the best hitter, why is he on the bench? Why didn’t he get picked for Select baseball? He almost hit every pitch in try outs over the fence?” So yes, parents we have the same feelings as you do about our children. So we empathize with you, but we must coach the other 19 players on the team too.
Some of the hard things coaches do….
- evaluating 20 players in less than a few months vs entire life
- teaching 20 players with different physical skill sets
- educating 20 players with varying ages, intelligence, experience, and game knowledge
- juggling 20 sets of parents and sometimes grandparents emotions
- balancing work, family, preparation, and practice times
- studying the sport / training
- talking to unappreciative parents and balancing the team issues
- creating a fun and competitive environment
- dealing with parents during a losing season
- not playing all the players on the team with equal time
Parents, please remember. Your child’s coaches are human too. We make mistakes. Most of us love the game and we are not paid. Right or Wrong, some of us may play our child more during the game because we are spending a ton of time coaching the 20 other kids on the team. We love your son because they are playing the sport we love, he just may not be a starter and ready to play yet. There is not a hidden agenda to sit your child on the bench.
And one last thing, parents. Since parents are now involved in every parts of their child’s lives, when you as a parent do something against the team, do not be surprised if your son does not play. When you sign your child up for team sports, you as a parent are now on the team too. So if you are late or skip practices because you needed to work late, these issues effect your child’s play time on the team.
Ok, so I may be whining is the article. Maybe this is article is a little carthartic. Its my blog so give me a break.
Good points, I certainly agree with your observations. Parents sometimes just don’t understand the amount of work we do both on and off the field and sometimes have expectations that are not realistic of their child’s abilities. Being able to play the game “safely” is our responsibilty as coaches to our players.