Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


My 12-point plan to dealing with troublesome parents

dave clarke

There will be times as a coach when you have trouble dealing with parents.

Parents are one of your main support links with the team and you rely on them for lots of things – mainly getting their child to training or matches. However, your biggest supporter could become your biggest problem if they feel aggrieved by the way their child has been handled.

This can result in problems in the coach-player relationship

A cross parent can be difficult to get through to because when dealing with their child logic or reason goes out of the window. This can be very stressful for coaches, and in some instances could threaten their job with the team.

Here is my blueprint to dealing with parents.

  1. Arrange a meeting rather than have a stand up argument at the side of the pitch.
  2. Hold the meeting in private but have another coach or some other person present.
  3. Do some digging and find out if the parent has previous history of aggressive or unreasonable behaviour.
  4. What does the problem revolve around? Playing time/Not starting games/Upset by coach. You could put together a plan of how to resolve this but if the parent is being unreasonable don’t agree to something that means other players will suffer – time on the pitch for example.
  5. Give parents time to get their point across without interruptions.
  6. Give your point of view but don’t give too much information than is necessary and don’t discuss other players.
  7. If possible, document the facts or details of the parent’s complaint. Determine whether any and all supportive information will be available at the meeting.
  8. When meeting with the parent, always have another person sit in on the meeting, perhaps the AD, assistant principal, or another coach–someone to verify what actually takes place.
  9. Meeting alone with the parent can develop into a no-win scenario.
  10. At the meeting, allow the parent to vent his or her spleen. Make mental notes, but do not interrupt.
  11. Avoid attacking the parents over the reasons they may be attacking you.
  12. If parents start being rude or shouting at you stay calm and let them calm down
  13. Go over the meeting in your mind and action any points you have agreed with the parents. What could you have done better? How could you have made it easier for yourself?

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Working towards your first win

The qualifying matches for the Euro 2012 competition brings it home that for some teams being beaten and ridiculed is a fact of life. For San Marino, Andorra, Malta, Luxembourg, Faroe Islands and Azerbaijan I could list you teams ending in Juniors, Colts, Youth or animals like PUmas and Tigers – youth teams that find themselves being beaten every week.

But while I feel for the teams that this happens to I also know that the players and the coach will be learning a great deal about themselves and getting better every time they play. I’ve seen teams turn it around during the season. But I doubt Euro 2012 will see any of the bottom seeds will be going to the tournament.

However what a turnaround can do is create a good team – just look at Cyprus. Their rise in recent years owes a lot to an influx of money into their domestic game, which propelled Anorthosis Famagusta and Apoel Nicosia into the group stages of the Champions League.

They have begun to develop as a force – last month’s 4-4 draw in Portugal was an excellent result and points to a strong team.

After amazingly beating Switzerland 2-1 in the recent World Cup qualifying campaign, Luxembourg midfielder Fons Leweck said: “See, with strong morale and good team-work you really can achieve something in football. Nothing is impossible.”

It was Leweck who scored the winner and it was a very clever free-kick – watch it in the clip below