Being a coach for youth sports can be an extremely fulfilling experience. When it comes to coaching children, you probably have to deal with a lot more than just teaching them the game. You will have to deal with vocal parents, wrangling the kids, getting them to pay attention, and of course ensuring that they have fun. If you have never coached a youth league before, there are a number of helpful ideas to make things run smoothly and ensure your team’s success. Coaching children really is an entirely different ballgame, and you want to make it clear that you are the one in charge.
When you first introduce yourself to your players and their parents, you should have a list rules that you can hand out. Let your players as well as their parents know exactly what is expected of them. Depending on the age of your kids, and what sport you are coaching, these expectations my differ. Common guidelines about attending every practice, bad attitudes, tardiness, and parent participation are good things to start with. This will let the players know there are rules to be followed if they would like to play on the team. In addition, you can let parents know from the start just how much or how little participation you want from them.
A typical problem you will face during games is having children pay attention. This can be tricky, especially if your players are very young. Also, watch out for players who are on the field goofing around. Sometimes this may be something hard for you to control. You should be up front with them, and let them know they need to pay attention for their team, as well as for their safety. These are both issues that are good to talk to parents about. It will be helpful if they talk to their children, and support you while off the field.
Sometimes parents are not quite as cooperative. They can be extremely difficult and sometimes even during games. If you have a parent up in the bleachers screaming at their kids in front of everyone in the middle of a game, you have a problem on your hands. It is common for these types of parents to lash out at other parents sitting in the portable bleachers. If this happens, you can be guaranteed that you will be next. You don’t want to start a fight in front everyone. After the game take the parent aside and let them know that this behavior is totally unacceptable.
You can usually keep parents happy by involving them in team activities. This is a great way to let parents take part without being difficult. You can have volunteers help you with drills during practice, or have a parent help you during games to make sure everyone is paying attention and staying together. You can even schedule after game pizza parties and fun gatherings. Have parents bring food and snacks, or help to drive the kids to the pizza parlor.
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