Dealing with Overly Helpful Soccer Parents

Although it is massively important that the soccer parents attend their children’s soccer games and soccer training in order to offer support and encouragement, it can become very annoying when they start getting overly helpful. This can become very disruptive and contribute to upsetting the well laid out plans that you have worked hard on refining. When a witnesses another parent giving instructions to players it is natural for some of them to start doing the same. This can severely disrupt the children’s concentration while driving them crazy in the process.

I have written a post some time ago on a similar topic, however I thought it was a timely reminder that I write another post on the involvement of parents in a game. This has come about as a result of an experience I had last yearat a game I attended.  At the outset, I would like to add that from my experience, I have never had any trouble with 99% of the parents of children I have coached.

In the incident I witnessed on game night, there was an overly vocal parent on the sideline that was yelling and berating not only their child but the opposition players along with their own coach. Unfortunately, this then lead to another parent having their say as well along with the coach and in the meantime the game was still going on. What a mess! Believe it or not, both the parents and the coach were close friends and these parents attended each training session and assisted the coach in running the sessions. The bottom line is that these parents felt that as they were assisting during the week at training that they then had the right to also assist at the game on the weekend and were yelling out instructions that were negative and contradictory to what the coach had planned. End result, confusion for the kids and an unsatisfactory result.

A soccer parent who is throwing out overly negative instructions to their child can destroy his morale, making the whole experience distressing. Children want to hear praise from their parents. Unfortunately, most of the instructions given by your self-appointed assistants will be completely wrong. It’s especially disruptive when they are shouting out the exact opposite to what you have been working hard on with the children in training.

The soccer coach needs to be extremely tactful when trying to deal with this situation to ensure there are no misunderstandings. After all, everyone involved will have the best interests of the children at heart. The best way to resolve this problem tactfully is to organize a preseason meeting, however in the case above  a meeting with everyone concerned immediately.  Make it clear to the parents that the children need to be able to use the soccer games as a learning experience. Explain that criticisms coming from the stands will only hinder their children by making them feel like failures when of course they are not.

The only thing that the children should hear from their parents on game day is general praise such as well-done, great job, unlucky and so on. shouldn’t shout criticisms at the opposition or referees either. If this is occurring you should politely nip it in the bud. Make sure that your assistants at understand how much you appreciate their help but on game day you need them to take a step back and let you as coach get on with your job. Make sure that they understand that when the children hear instructions coming from every which way, it is only going to confuse them and spoil their game.