Welcome to the eleventh installment of a small series of serialisations of my book “A Guide to Surviving Youth Football” If you like what you see and want to read more please do go and purchase a copy of the book by going to amazon.
As a youth team coach the parents of your players will become your supporters, your critics, your helpers, and your advisers that you never asked for. As a coach you need your parents as without them you wouldn’t be able to get your players to games and training sessions. At some point in the season you are going to have to rely on a parent for something so as a coach you need to keep them on your side.
You want as many parents to come to games and support their children as possible. However you are not always going to get all the parents there as some see football like a childminding service where they can drop their child off for a couple of hours and come back and collect them afterwards. Other parents will work on the weekends meaning they can’t get to games. As a coach there is nothing more disheartening than when you are at a home game and the away support outnumbers yours so as a coach you should be doing all you can to encourage parents to come and watch their children.
Different parents will put in different levels of activity in to the club. Some parents only want to come and cheer on their child, some parents will volunteer to help out washing kit and help you set out the pitch for home games, some parents will help with lifts, some parents will volunteer to raise money and some parents will want to be your chief tactical adviser.
As a coach many people will think they can do a better job than you are doing regardless of whether you are winning or losing. Parents will come up with all kinds of suggestions to where you should play players, what formation you should use and what you should be doing in training. Normally this advice will come during a game from all corners distracting you from doing your job. The problem with the advice is that everyone has a different opinion and all these people offering opinions aren’t coaches. Watching Match of the Day is sometimes the closest some have come to football. One thing I have noticed in my years of youth football is that it’s normally those parents that are unwilling to help out and who just come to watch their child who are offering this advice and you know full well that they aren’t going to back it up with offers of help. If you don’t follow their advice and go on to lose a game they will let you know about it, citing that if you had followed their advice you would have won.
(Image courtesy of Spree2010)