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Can I sack a parent? | Coaching Children (Ages 5-12) | ConnectedCoaches

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Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Can I sack a parent?

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Many parents really appreciate all you are doing…well, mostly. But there’s always one. That’s the one who can’t understand you are there as a volunteer, and though you want the best for the team, your job is not solely focused on their son or daughter.

That parent will berate you for selection, tactics, training and all manner of small matters. Sometimes, they take up more time than all the other parents put together.

However well you explain your philosophy, sometimes they won’t listen. That parent may well be spreading dissent amongst the other parents. You are feeling threatened.

Why not sack the parent?

That’s right, tell them that it’s my way or the highway.

Here’s how:

1. Inform your club committee that you have had enough of this parent. Set out clearly the reasons for the issue.
2. The committee might step in themselves to resolve the situation. However, get a written agreement on how things should work out.
3. With a committee member or other member of your coaching staff, approach the parent and clearly set out how you want them to proceed as a responsible parent.
4. The ultimatum is that they can either agree to the way forward, or cease to attend training and matches. Their child can continue of course.
5. Continue to coach and make a written note of any times that the parent steps away from the agreement. Make sure you have another parent or co-coach to verify the incidents.

All this should be done in the calmest possible way. It will be a stressful time. But, just keep to the “script”.

The script could be this:

I understand you disagree with my approach. However, I will continue with this approach, which is the one recommended by the club and the NGB. We have a code of conduct for parents. At this time, you are not following this code. Please can you reacquaint yourself with the code and follow it in the future. If you feel you cannot, then it would be in everyone’s interest if you didn’t attend training or games.

You could even write it down and read it out. If they question what they have done wrong, simply say: You are not following the code of conduct set out by the club.

If they ask whether they are receiving a warning, just say: I am simply asking you to follow the conduct. If you don’t want to, then you will have to stop attending training and games.

In summary:

1. You are volunteer. Expect others to respect this.
2. There’s no need to argue. Just give a calm response which repeats your team’s code of conduct.
3. It’s about the parent, not the child. Don’t talk to the child about the situation.
4. Always take advice from others in authority at the club.
5. If you aren’t enjoying coaching, don’t put up with it.

Are you familiar with your sport’s code of conduct? Below are some extracts from the RFU and FA. If you are familiar with the code, are your parents?

As always, if you have had experience of these situations, add your comments below and let’s make sure we are able to develop young players in a positive and developmental manner.

Also, have a look at these great tips from other Connected Coaches on managing parents.

Extract from RFU code of conduct

In Rugby Union parents are encouraged to:

  • Be familiar with the coaching and training programme in order that they can ensure that their child is fully involved and the coaches are aware of their availability.
  • Be familiar with the teaching and coaching methods used by observing the sessions in which your child participates.
  • Coaches should recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment when coaching young players.
  • Coaches should keep winning and losing in perspective, encouraging young players to behave with dignity in all circumstances.

It is important that parents support coaches in instilling these virtues.

Extract from FA code of conduct

I will:

• Remember that children play for FUN
• Applaud effort and good play as well as success
• Always respect the match officials’ decisions
• Let the coach do their job and not confuse the players by telling them what to do
• Encourage the players to respect the opposition, referee and match officials
• Avoid criticising a player for making a mistake – mistakes are part of learning
• Never engage in, or tolerate, offensive, insulting, or abusive language or behaviour.

I understand that if I do not follow the Code, any/all of the following actions may be taken by my club, County FA, league or The FA:

I may be:

• Issued with a verbal warning from a club or league official
• Required to meet with the club, league or County FA Welfare Officer
• Required to meet with the club committee
• Obliged to undertake an FA education course
• Obliged to leave the match venue by the club
• Requested by the club not to attend future games
• Suspended or have my club membership removed
• Required to leave the club along with any dependents.

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