I recently went through a season where my parents, and myself as the coach, were wanting more players. We only had two subs and in soccer, that spells disaster. I had been looking for more players but had not found any. At the end of the season, right before our state playoffs, I had some players transfer from teams that did not make the playoffs. Yeah! More bodies! More subs! More players! More problems. :-(
I’m the kind of coach that puts in whoever is doing the best at that time. Well, that can be any combination of people during a match and can change at any given moment and from match to match. To say that I was verbally attacked by parents after the match would be putting it into real terms. I was cussed at in front of my players. In fact, it was so bad after the first match, that the opposing coach in the second match stopped me before the first match and asked if I was ok. He told me what he witnessed and that the other coaches witnessed it as well and they were all talking about how bad it was. I told him that I was embarrassed that at a state competition, the talk of my team was how poorly parents from my team treated me.
I did listen to every parent from that episode and heard them out and their concerns, but I wasn’t going to change my philosophy. Later that day, after the second match, a parent approached me and said, “I know you are having a rough day.” I was thinking to myself, “This is great! Someone actually understands what I am going through”. I jokingly asked, “You are not going to make it worse are you?” ”No”, she said, and then went on with this sentence, “I think you are treating the girls unfairly.” I didn’t know what to say.
In both incidents, the children of these parents witnessed what was going on. The first episode was so bad that the young girl went to the car in tears. The second episode was not quite as dramatic, but the girl distanced herself from her mother and went to the car and shouted something at her. I don’t condone kids disrespecting their parents regardless of the situation.
The first parent came back and apologized for the way he came at me. I forgave him quickly. The second one did not. Again, the whole entire season, I was receiving complaints that we did not have enough players. We get them and what happens? Three years I had spent with this team and in one weekend, people seemed to forget that.
Parents, please don’t forget that your coach gives up family time and personal time to do something like this. Remember that. He has pressure from every single parent about every single thing. Approach the coach if you believe there needs to be a discussion, BUT, choose the time, place, and words carefully.