Playing sport is about having fun, keeping fit, mastering a skill, and making new friends. However, sometimes this comes with stresses for coaches.
From selecting a squad without offending players to, in extreme cases, parents driving coaches away from the game with their pushy ways, there are a myriad of tricky situations that may occur. Here are just some, and how to handle them:
Maximising Playing Time
Strategically, you want your best players on for the majority of a game, but you also need to prevent them from getting too tired or injured. Therefore, unequal playing time in youth sports is to be somewhat expected. However, this isn’t always the best strategy when it comes to promoting inclusivity and fun. Ensure sport is an enjoyable experience for all by making sure everyone plays a game or gets on the pitch at some point.
Every parent wants the best for their child – that’s no secret – and encouragement is sometimes needed. What could be better than a crowd of supporters cheering you on as you play your favourite sport? However, sometimes dealing with parents as a coach can get complicated.
There is such a thing as negative parental involvement in sports, where they input their ‘ideas’ and ways of doing things a little too much or are very vocal on the side-lines, which makes it a less enjoyable experience for all involved.
If you’ve experienced similar issues and are wondering how to deal with pushy parents, here are a few top tips:
- Set rules regarding access for supporters, for example no parents in the changing rooms half an hour before a game or match.
- Hold parental sit-downs a few days after games to discuss any concerns away from the pitch/court.
- Keep calm and always keep the child’s best interests in mind.
Making Everyone Feel Valued
In line with the playing time conundrum is picking who will actually make it off the bench. It is only fair if everyone gets a chance to play, and people will feel valued when picked.
A simple solution could be to rotate players on and off, and through positions. That way, you always have a competitive team, and everyone gets to have fun too.
Reporting Rule Infractions
No one wants to be a Tell-Tale, but sometimes a coach will have to report issues and point out things a referee or umpire has missed. This doesn’t always go down well with players or supporters, however it is a moral decision that must be made for a fair game.
We would always recommend doing your best to be unbiased, simply outlining what you saw or heard and letting those in charge make an informed decision. You should never say something just to pick an argument or gain an advantage, but instead encourage fair play.
Assessing Whether Someone is Fit to Play
If someone has suffered a previous injury, it is a difficult decision as to whether they’re fit to play and train or whether this would exasperate injury further. Therefore, we would always recommend getting the opinion of a doctor and basing your decision on whether to allow the player to take part. If the player does not like the final decision, ask for a second doctor’s opinion.
A long-term injury can impact on a young person’s experience, and further impact their relationship with sport in the future, so making a decision not to practice or play now could ensure it is possible later in life.
Need Help Tackling a Tricky Situation?
At Club Solutions, we offer plenty of guidance on managing a sports club. From reporting a concern or incident to conflicts of interest, get help with difficult conundrums by exploring our site today.