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Parents overstepping Boundaries | Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Posted in: Managing Parents

Parents overstepping Boundaries

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  • batty

    Hi Guys

    This may come across as a bit of a rant however I am seeking some advice.

    I coach a group of under 14 year olds and we have one young lad who comes most weeks with either of his parents.

    The kid himself can be tiresome at times however there seems to be a major problem occuring with his father.

    I coach American football and the father plays for another team (We are youth only, his is currently adult only as the youth side fell through)

    The fathers attendance at training and today at a competition is nothing less than an utter nuisance.  For Example: he regulaly butts into coaching, adding his two penniths worth which turns out to be a major distraction to the kids.  He also is seen to be "recruiting" for his adult team as we do not feed into any adult clubs again this is distracting for the kids.

    I personally had to have a word with this person twice today, firstly in a team meeting in the changing room (he invited himself along and then starting talking with my "safeguarding person" whilst I was briefing the team) and then he starts trying to coach my kids (who were in between plays) at the side of the pitch (i had purposely placed our team away from Parents) he then spent the rest of the game on our sideline (almost on the pitch)

    It was getting to the point of his presence being annoying.  my bosses are also getting rather annoyed with this person and are unsure of the best way forwards.

    Now I know that I have zero tact and deplomacy, (I am working on this, hense this post) and tend to get annoyed to the point I put my foot in my mouth.. I fear this might be happening sooner rather than later with this non-associated individual!

    Whats your advice Guys?  All suggestions appreciated!

  • pippaglen

    Hi Michelle 

    This is very annoying as a coach to find that parents feel the need to interfere in practice.   I have been in a similar situation with athletics and eventually told the parent as he was putting other athletes at risk breaching health and safety as well as the child welfare of other children in the club and parents were getting annoyed, the parent took his child to another club I suppose in a way it was better than causing injuries to other athletes and I could get on with coaching  in a fun and friendly manner.  

    Personally I would have a meeting with the parent , tell him your concerns regarding the safety and safeguarding of your players and what the conciquences are if he was to carry on disrupting your session. 

    However you can use him to your advantage,  I have done this in the past and it's helped me.    I thought some parents especially male was judging me being a female coach when actually they were being inquisitive. Why not invite the parent to give you a hand out one session but under your conditions either he will jump at the chance or  back off. 

    If you look back at one of the blogs unsure which there is a conversation on this with other coaches opinions and advice.  

    Hope iv not gone on too much.   

  • JonWoodward74

    Hi Michelle - thanks for the post....and you are not alone!! We have all had parents who are disruptive to be awkward, disruptive because they mean well and disruptive as they are not even there!

    As a shameless plug, please see two of my previous blogs ( The Role of a Sporting Parent and The Need to Educate the Audience and the Spectator ) as something I have encountered in the past.

    I agree with Emma on trying to engage him positively, but I always feel this needs to be done within the ethos of the club. At my football club, we have codes of conduct for players, coaches and parents/guardians. These include the expectations of all, and when I used to coach the age groups (as a non-parent coach) I also added in some of my own - similar to what you have tried to do with where you position the team, etc.

    If the codes of conduct are clear and agreed to (we have all those connected with the club sign up to it as part of our registration process) then your requests will hopefully be adhered to. This may be something that is implemented from the new season, but I would also try to speak to the coach. I assume you need to be qualified, CRB checked, etc to work in the club, so this may be the first step to move him away if he hasnt done any of those.

    I also think it can be a health and safety issue, as if your players are listening to him, it may cause an issue during the game and practice.

    Sadly, we have had to ask for parents not to come to the club with their current behaviour, and in some cases, they have chosen to take their children elsewhere. The environment should be fun and great for everyone, and not spoilt by one or two.

    Hope this helps



  • David_T

    Hi Michelle,

    Not at all a fun situation, or probably for the child who may well get embarressed with that behaviour from the parent too.

    The coach/parent in question - would you happen to know if they have taken any safeguarding training?  If they have taken the sports coach UK SPC workshop then you could ask the club welfare officer to ask him to take the new eLearning Safeguarding renewal training which has a specific module of parental behaviour!  Only problem is it is for renewals only, so he would need to have attended a face to face workshop in the past.

    The CPSU also have some good resources such as their Magic Sports Kit video - it's actually aimed at younger chuildren though so may not be quite right for you.

    In terms of speaking to the parent, what I would perhaps do is make up a story about how this kind of parental behaviour stopped a child participating and drop it into a conversation with him without him realsing you're really referring to him - see if he clicks that his behaviour may triggerthe same effect in youngsters!

  • batty

    Hi Guys

    Thanks for the positive responses, its all be taken on board for use should an incident occur.

    The academy I work for have released a statement to cover this situation (using the basis of no unauthorised scouting)

    I will see what happens now

    Thanks again for the replies :)

  • Deborah

    Hi Michelle,

    whilst browsing, I came across your article today and do sympathise.  I occasionally have the same problem in Track and Field.  If you are brave enough, you might try the following: 

    Ask to see these :  His up to date DBS Certificate, His Health & Safety Certificate and his Coaching Licence.  You say he plays for an adult team but don't mention if he is also a coach.  When he says he doesn't have any qualifications then this is your chance to say that he is not covered by insurance to be pitch side in case he gets injured by a flying ball etc. and you must therefore insist (politely) that he leaves as you do not want to be held responisble if he has an accident.

    .If that doesn't work (it probably won't by the sounds of it!) and you have the nerve, take him to one side and ask him how he would feel if you turned up when he was playing and criticised everything he was doing and barged into the changing room and took over.  Tell him you can only think that he regards you as being totally incompetant because you are Female.  Don't forget that you can also contact your governing body and ask that someone comes down and watches him in action at one of your sessions. Point out that there is a national drive to get more women into coaching and that interefering men like this are what often puts women off entering coaching.  Hopefull they will caution him and tell him that it is best if he stops interfering or he will be banned. This might actually be a relief to his child.  Who knows what criticism he has to put up with after the session in the car on the way home. 

    You mention that he poaches>  if he is a qualified coach then check your Governing Body's Rules of Conduct for Coaches as there are very specific rules about that issue.

    I also think that the important thing here is the effect it might be having on the kids you coach. He is deliberately undermining you.  How do they feel about this lad's dad always shouting and interfering?  Also, does it backfire on the kid himself with the other kids complaining to him about his dad and maybe not being as friendly towards him because of his dad's out of order behaviour.


    Just some suggestions but it is a hellish problem.  If you do solve it and he goes, make it a future rule that you do not allow parents pitch side during training maybe. Good Luck! 

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