Positive Coaching Alliance: How to address yelling parents and bad behavior on the sidelines

Positive Coaching Alliance: How to address yelling parents and bad behavior on the sidelines

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Positive Coaching Alliance founder Jim Thompson’s book, “The Power of Double-Goal Coaching.” US Club Soccer is proud to welcome Positive Coaching Alliance to its members, specifically related to Players First. Positive Coaching Alliance is helping to advance the Players First pillars of Coaching Education, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety.

Sideline confrontation: In a crucial situation near the end of a tight game against a strong opponent, the official makes a call against your team that appears wrong. Two parents of your players, outraged by the call, begin to yell at the officials. Your team loses narrowly. The parents continue to scream at the official while your players look to you expectantly. As a Double-Goal Coach®, what should you do?

As bad as things are, they can get much worse. Your first priority is reining in your outraged problem parents and monitoring fan behavior. And I do mean “your” parents. Parents come with players, and it is your responsibility to shape their behavior to avoid parent/coach conflict.

  • If you have an assistant coach, have him/her take players to a meeting place away from the field. If you are the only coach present, ask your captains to gather the team at a meeting place and wait for you there.
  • Approach the yelling parents to quiet them down. Be firm without causing any further escalation. “I need you to leave the officials alone right now!”
  • Empathize with the parents while reminding them that they are violating your team culture of Honoring the Game. “I know that was a tough call to take, but I need you to stop and set an example for our team.” If Honoring the Game is part of your team culture, remind them now: “Remember, we’re a team that Honors the Game.”

To read the full response, including four more ways to deal with this type of parent behavior, download the book excerpt found below.

To purchase the entire book The Power of Double-Goal Coaching, and to learn more about other PCA books, click here.

These books are used in PCA’s live workshops. To learn more about our interactive coach workshops, click here.

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