Worst Parent Stories

Heinie Wagner

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Another parent email.

Due a numbers crunch we ended up expanding the rosters on a couple of our Div 1 teams. The Div 2 teams were eliminated due to lack of players. Not all of the Div 1 coaches were thrilled having extra players added to their rosters. One of them sent an introductory email to him his team and made the statement that it is a big roster and playing time will need to be earned and that it will not be even time. If you have a problem let me know and we can discuss it and bring club officials in if required.

No surprise he got a response: "Please email before all road games if my son will be playing or not. We are not driving to the game if he isn't playing".
That's a great response, good for that parent, few parents would risk the coach holding that against their kid.

A couple years ago, we had a coach say we shouldn't automatically put 10 players on our travel basketball rosters. If we only had 6 or 7 girls who could play at that level, then that's all that we should take. I asked him if he'd want to personally absorb the costs of having 3-4 fewer girls on a team. He thought that was absurd, why should money factor in? and no, we were already too expensive, he wasn't willing to play any more.

It was like he thought gym time, referees, league fees, equipment etc were all free.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Although it was not precipitated by a sports decision, the statement above about an "enemy for life" brings to mind the story in the link below, about vengeful parents...you need to be careful, not everyone would be lucky enough to have this happen in a place like Irvine, where there are good cops with not a lot to do

http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-framed/
Wow, that is insane. Peters is incredibly lucky that didn't turn out much, much worse for her.

I'll be thinking of that story the next time I have crazy parents to deal with - at least they're not planting drugs in my car.
 

Doug Beerabelli

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Another parent email.

Due a numbers crunch we ended up expanding the rosters on a couple of our Div 1 teams. The Div 2 teams were eliminated due to lack of players. Not all of the Div 1 coaches were thrilled having extra players added to their rosters. One of them sent an introductory email to him his team and made the statement that it is a big roster and playing time will need to be earned and that it will not be even time. If you have a problem let me know and we can discuss it and bring club officials in if required.

No surprise he got a response: "Please email before all road games if my son will be playing or not. We are not driving to the game if he isn't playing".
Actually, I think it's a great idea that if the roster is too big, the team designates players to miss certain games. Ex, you have 15 players, but can only reasonably play 12, you have three kids miss each game. Do it so it evens out, no favoritism on who doesn't show. Parents might appreciate getting a weekend day without a game to do something else with the kid/family. I loved it as a parent. Kids get more meaningful playing time in games when they do play. It puts the w/l record at risk, however.

My sons u10 travel team did this. 16 or is kids at practice, but 12 dressed. I even would email the coach with a known bad datebook see if our "miss" date could be aligned with that weekend or day.
 

drleather2001

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Jul 18, 2005
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That story is crazy and those people are legendary assholes.

Also: UCLA isn't even THAT good of a law school. I mean, it's an excellent school, but if you're going to strut around like you're some big shot based on your grad school, at least go to Stanford or something.
 
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Heinie Wagner

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Actually, I think it's a great idea that if the roster is too big, the team designates players to miss certain games. Ex, you have 15 players, but can only reasonably play 12, you have three kids miss each game. Do it so it evens out, no favoritism on who doesn't show. Parents might appreciate getting a weekend day without a game to do something else with the kid/family. I loved it as a parent. Kids get more meaningful playing time in games when they do play. It puts the w/l record at risk, however.

My sons u10 travel team did this. 16 or is kids at practice, but 12 dressed. I even would email the coach with a known bad datebook see if our "miss" date could be aligned with that weekend or day.
I've done this too, 13 kids on an AAU basketball team, most games, only 10 or fewer could make it anyways, but if more than 10 could make it, they took turns missing the game (only happened 3 times - we went in alphabetical order to choose who stayed home). Luckily, I had a good group of parents for that team and they knew it going in. With 13 kids paying, we were able to do more tournaments, so they all got a lot of basketball for their money.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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God bless her, we found what appears to be a motivated Mom to run our K soccer clinic. Included in her email to me this AM:

"I am sending one out now. I sent one last week but wanted to send a second one. I have had a half dozen moms ask me questions I answered in the original email. they have all confirmed they received the email but apparently didn't read it. 😀

why do I have a feeling kids will show up in tennis gear??"

Welcome to the Club!!
 

robssecondjob

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"My son got a concussion yesterday in football and he isn't cleared to play. This is only soccer, it isn't fair you are you holding him out!"
 

robssecondjob

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Do you have to play them? Seems entirely appropriate to let them and the parents know they won't play until they practice. Does your club have a policy on this? Sucks that people are such idiots. One thing I try to drive home in every preseason parent meeting is that practices are more important than games.
Club is removing the players from my roster due to lack of payment. Taking it out of my hands completely. If they suddenly play they will be added to a lower level team for the spring season.
 

Heinie Wagner

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God bless her, we found what appears to be a motivated Mom to run our K soccer clinic. Included in her email to me this AM:

"I am sending one out now. I sent one last week but wanted to send a second one. I have had a half dozen moms ask me questions I answered in the original email. they have all confirmed they received the email but apparently didn't read it. 😀

why do I have a feeling kids will show up in tennis gear??"

Welcome to the Club!!
Thank you for the laugh. This was awesome. Been there, done that so many times. Most people just don't pay attention and think volunteer coaches and board members had tons of free time to tell them things they could easily find out by reading emails or their organizations web site. God Bless the people who take accountability and read emails and look at the web site first.
 

Heinie Wagner

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"My son got a concussion yesterday in football and he isn't cleared to play. This is only soccer, it isn't fair you are you holding him out!"
Insane. Are they from the 1990's? Anyone else ever get their bell rung, come out of the game, use smelling salts and go back in?

Some studies say more concussions in Soccer that football
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Insane. Are they from the 1990's? Anyone else ever get their bell rung, come out of the game, use smelling salts and go back in?

Some studies say more concussions in Soccer that football
Anecdotally, locally over the past five or so years I've heard of more concussions from soccer and lax, than I have for football.

(Tho I'm not involved in the the youth football scene around here, everyone knows everyone else, so word travels.)
 

Doug Beerabelli

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Anecdotally, locally over the past five or so years I've heard of more concussions from soccer and lax, than I have for football.

(Tho I'm not involved in the the youth football scene around here, everyone knows everyone else, so word travels.)
I've heard same, but I wonder if the repetitive and long term, if lesser severe, head contact/brain shaking is the more the issue long term. All of them not good of course, but soccer players aren't butting heads every play, beyond the heading thing, which apparently has been ruled out for those under 12.
 

RIFan

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On a pure incident basis, soccer probably accounts for hearing about more concussions because of the higher level of participation. Per this report, which analyzed several different studies, football has the highest incident report per 10,000 athletic exposures on a range of 4.7 - 11.2 per 10,000 at the HS level. Boys soccer has an incident rate of 1.9 to 4.2 per 10000. Hockey has less data, but is # 2 and lacrosse is # 3 at a little less than twice the incident rate of soccer. The biggest takeaway from the report is not so much the sports that are most likely to result in a concussion, but that the level of risk is much higher for girls than boys. Girls basketball has similar incident rates to boys soccer.
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/research/tbi/sports_concussion_report.pdf
 

Heinie Wagner

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Anecdotally (from our local youth football club President) football fathers are much more likely to deny/not report their kid has a concussion.

She told me of one father who kept his kid playing football through 6 concussions. The guy is a lawyer in a little suburb north of Hartford, not some schmoe in Alabama, Texas or Florida - crazy.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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Anecdotally (from our local youth football club President) football fathers are much more likely to deny/not report their kid has a concussion.

She told me of one father who kept his kid playing football through 6 concussions. The guy is a lawyer in a little suburb north of Hartford, not some schmoe in Alabama, Texas or Florida - crazy.
I can tell you with hand on heart that the exact opposite is true in our area. Pull a kid off of a football field to perform a concussion test and the parents are fully supportive. Pull a kid off of a soccer field and do the same thing, even after hearing the ugly thud of the ball hitting the side of their kids' head and watching their kid hit the ground crying....and 66% of parents will run over and tell you that their kid is fine and/or try to answer the concussion test questions for their kid. Small sample sizes, but my mind has been blown over the last few years.
 

riboflav

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The problem I find in youth and amateur sports continues to be the idea that the most dangerous hits, regardless of the sport, are the big hits. Subconcussive impacts garners literally no appreciation by anyone - officials, league administrators, parents, coaches, etc.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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The problem I find in youth and amateur sports continues to be the idea that the most dangerous hits, regardless of the sport, are the big hits.
When my son was concussed in June of 7th grade in a soccer game, not one person on that field saw the hit: coaches, parents, refs, nobody. Luckily, I had made both sons take the CDC's HeadsUp course, so he diagnosed it himself.

What's really scary is how many parents refuse to follow the very simple advice for minor concussions: complete and total sensory shutdown for several days. No music, no tv, no iPad, no reading, no social media, no school/home work, just relax in a semi-darkened room.

(and I understand that no concussion is "minor", it's still a concussion. By minor I mean no headaches so painful the child is crying, no vomiting, no erratic behavior, that sort of stuff.)
 
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Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Next topic: am I the only one who considers it highly inappropriate and completely unprofessional for a parent to cull a team or BSA email list and send out LinkedIn invitations? Especially when there are underage minors on the dist list?
 

Heinie Wagner

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Next topic: am I the only one who considers it highly inappropriate and completely unprofessional for a parent to cull a team or BSA email list and send out LinkedIn invitations? Especially when there are underage minors on the dist list?
What? Who would do that? Everyone on the team? That's good reason to BCC everyone any time you send a group email. I agree, that's in appropriate.
 

robssecondjob

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I always use the BCC option when communicating with my team, but at least once in the beginning of the season I get the full email list to all the parents on the team. Makes it easier for ride sharing and the like.

And yes I have gotten LinkedIn invites from kids in our program. Ones that I haven't coached and have never really had any contact with.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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The problem I find in youth and amateur sports continues to be the idea that the most dangerous hits, regardless of the sport, are the big hits. Subconcussive impacts garners literally no appreciation by anyone - officials, league administrators, parents, coaches, etc.
Well.....I think there is some confusion on this one. A big hit will still concuss you. All of my personal concussions - somewhere between 4 and 7, I honestly can't remember - came on big hits of some sort (flying over bike, side of the head with a baseball, multiple knees to the head, etc.). Sub-concussive hits can lead to concussions and to long term brain issues, and parents and coaches need to monitor actively, but running concussion tests after big hits is not an irresponsible approach.

From a sub-concussive hit perspective, that is why you watch the kids closely and check for the kid who seems a bit confused, a bit off, a bit off his game. Parents and coaches need to be watching the whole time.

FTR, I still goof on my dad for giving me the all clear to play after I got a concussion that left me in a bad state for almost a week following. Different times though, I was able to look him straight in the eye and answer his questions somewhat rapidly so he assumed I was OK. I do love that he still feels guilty.
 

Cumberland Blues

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My kid got a soccer concussion 3yrs ago or so playing keeper in a game where his team was badly over-matched and he had shots ricocheting off him all game. One at particularly close range got him square in the forehead and he went down. An ER visit and followup with his pediatrician confirmed that he indeed had a concussion (which seemed obvious to me, my wife and his coach). At the time it happened - numerous people (including the club's safety officer) told me that "you can't get a concussion from a soccer ball." WTF? How does BS like that get accepted as conventional wisdom?
 

Heinie Wagner

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My kid got a soccer concussion 3yrs ago or so playing keeper in a game where his team was badly over-matched and he had shots ricocheting off him all game. One at particularly close range got him square in the forehead and he went down. An ER visit and followup with his pediatrician confirmed that he indeed had a concussion (which seemed obvious to me, my wife and his coach). At the time it happened - numerous people (including the club's safety officer) told me that "you can't get a concussion from a soccer ball." WTF? How does BS like that get accepted as conventional wisdom?
Is your son Scott Sterling?

 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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LOL...good thing for Scott that you can't get a concussion from a soccer ball.
One of the most hellacious own goals I've ever seen at the youth level: playing U14 MAPS, opposing GK is taking a goal kick. GK is so focused on the ball, he never noticed one of his defender casually stroll right in front of him. GK lays everything he has into the kick, and it ricochets off his defender's head (and into the goal) so hard you can hear it three fields away. Defender was laid how for I dont know how long....
 

Humphrey

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I'm sure this wouldn't be much consolation to the poor defender, but if I understand you correctly, he was standing in the penalty area and that should not have been a goal. Should have been a rekick.

All goal kicks must clear the penalty area or there is a rekick. And you can't score against yourself directly off a goal kick either.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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I'm sure this wouldn't be much consolation to the poor defender, but if I understand you correctly, he was standing in the penalty area and that should not have been a goal. Should have been a rekick.

All goal kicks must clear the penalty area or there is a rekick. And you can't score against yourself directly off a goal kick either.
That you mention it, that makes sense. Coulda sworn they brought the ball out to midfield after that. I guess they didnt.

(our team had had this team's number for a while, so a goal here or there in the final score wouldnt have been noticed by the parents)
 

BroodsSexton

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Here's a good one. I coach AYSO. This season (coaching a co-ed U12 team), I have no assistant or team-certified referee. A parent steps up and volunteers to assistant coach with me. Great! Everyone plays. Happy to have the help. First game, he proceeds to stand on the sideline and scream at the kids "kick the ball hard," "go get it," "run," and all the other helpful things that a guy can yell at kids from the sideline. I take him aside in the middle of the second half, after hearing him do this over and over again in various different ways, and I tell him, point blank "that's not coaching," and that it's not helpful to yell at the kids like that. He backs off a little bit. I can't really tell if he knows the game--his son is actually a decent player and seems like a nice kid. But if this is the most constructive coaching he can do...

Game 2 last weekend, he starts it up again. I almost went ballistic when I heard him yell "stop holding hands" at two players. I kind of let it go, though, because I got distracted, and frankly didn't want to deal with it.

This past weekend, he's helping out running lines on the opposite side of the field--and he does a good job of that. Takes his responsibilities with the flag very seriously. The referee, though, comes over to me at half time and tells me he had to tell the guy to quiet down twice, because he was "yelling at the kids, and it was clearly confusing them and distracting."

I send the guy an email yesterday, kindly telling him that I appreciate his offer to help, and running lines is definitely appreciated by the referee, but that the referee spoke to me about his interactions with the players, and that I would be assuming the coaching duties when the kids are on the field. I tell him that it's not just him--I'll be sending out a reminder to all the parents that cheering and excitement is encouraged, but I'd like the players to hear one voice as their coach, and that I'm open to feedback after the game if they see things that they think I should re-enforce with the team, etc. I send that email out to the team after emailing him.

He sends me back an email telling me that the whole thing is "Tempest in a teapot. Never had a ref complain before. I Will bow out of line judge from now on. I don't need the aggravation. I Will sit on the sidelines and shut up." He then thanks me for my kind words (I had told him--truthfully--that I appreciated the lines help, and that his son is great to have on the team), but tells me the "whole thing is too regulatory and best not to get caught up in it."

Sorry, just venting. The whole thing is kind of sad. He's enthusiastic, and I really didn't mean to run him off--just rein it in a bit. But so it goes, I guess.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Here's a good one. I coach AYSO. This season (coaching a co-ed U12 team), I have no assistant or team-certified referee. A parent steps up and volunteers to assistant coach with me. Great! Everyone plays. Happy to have the help. First game, he proceeds to stand on the sideline and scream at the kids "kick the ball hard," "go get it," "run," and all the other helpful things that a guy can yell at kids from the sideline. I take him aside in the middle of the second half,
If you;ve never been to a youth swim meet, you'd be amazed at how many parents, in all seriousness, think screaming "swim faster!!!" is good parental coaching.
 

robssecondjob

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I was centering a game this weekend and the coach just kept yelling "have a shot" when his team was anywhere near the penalty area. Messi would not have made shots from these locations.

The game next to mine featured a parent running up and down the touchline yelling "What the fuck are you doing!" at his son. He then argued that the AR couldn't eject him only the center "I know the rules". Young ref crew so I came over from the adjacent field to eject him.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Here's a good one. I coach AYSO. This season (coaching a co-ed U12 team), I have no assistant or team-certified referee. A parent steps up and volunteers to assistant coach with me. Great! Everyone plays. Happy to have the help. First game, he proceeds to stand on the sideline and scream at the kids "kick the ball hard," "go get it," "run," and all the other helpful things that a guy can yell at kids from the sideline. I take him aside in the middle of the second half, after hearing him do this over and over again in various different ways, and I tell him, point blank "that's not coaching," and that it's not helpful to yell at the kids like that. He backs off a little bit. I can't really tell if he knows the game--his son is actually a decent player and seems like a nice kid. But if this is the most constructive coaching he can do...

Game 2 last weekend, he starts it up again. I almost went ballistic when I heard him yell "stop holding hands" at two players. I kind of let it go, though, because I got distracted, and frankly didn't want to deal with it.

This past weekend, he's helping out running lines on the opposite side of the field--and he does a good job of that. Takes his responsibilities with the flag very seriously. The referee, though, comes over to me at half time and tells me he had to tell the guy to quiet down twice, because he was "yelling at the kids, and it was clearly confusing them and distracting."

I send the guy an email yesterday, kindly telling him that I appreciate his offer to help, and running lines is definitely appreciated by the referee, but that the referee spoke to me about his interactions with the players, and that I would be assuming the coaching duties when the kids are on the field. I tell him that it's not just him--I'll be sending out a reminder to all the parents that cheering and excitement is encouraged, but I'd like the players to hear one voice as their coach, and that I'm open to feedback after the game if they see things that they think I should re-enforce with the team, etc. I send that email out to the team after emailing him.

He sends me back an email telling me that the whole thing is "Tempest in a teapot. Never had a ref complain before. I Will bow out of line judge from now on. I don't need the aggravation. I Will sit on the sidelines and shut up." He then thanks me for my kind words (I had told him--truthfully--that I appreciated the lines help, and that his son is great to have on the team), but tells me the "whole thing is too regulatory and best not to get caught up in it."

Sorry, just venting. The whole thing is kind of sad. He's enthusiastic, and I really didn't mean to run him off--just rein it in a bit. But so it goes, I guess.
Can you come coach my 8 year old? His travel soccer coaches seem determined to dictate the action in key moments. Screaming kids names and "pass the ball" and other immediate advice. Absolutely brutal. Of course they don't do it to their kids or a couple other favorites. And these are parent/coaches who have coached multiple older kids. It is so discouraging.
 

Heinie Wagner

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If you;ve never been to a youth swim meet, you'd be amazed at how many parents, in all seriousness, think screaming "swim faster!!!" is good parental coaching.
Similar stuff in hoops and soccer. "You have to get that ball", after a kid doesn't get a ball. I want to follow these people around and yell at them for all the mistakes they make in life.

We wouldn't let a teacher yell at our kids like that when they make a mistake on a test or give a wrong answer in class, why is it acceptable in sports?
 

BroodsSexton

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Can you come coach my 8 year old? His travel soccer coaches seem determined to dictate the action in key moments. Screaming kids names and "pass the ball" and other immediate advice. Absolutely brutal. Of course they don't do it to their kids or a couple other favorites. And these are parent/coaches who have coached multiple older kids. It is so discouraging.
I'm no shrinking violet on the sidelines--I'm not reluctant to try and help a kid out with positioning (particularly, at this age, letting them know if they're offside, which is a constant battle, or keeping the defense engaged so that they're not caught flat-footed). Or if I see an instance where execution could have been different, I often try to get a player's attention after the action has moved on, and give her a couple words to think about (unfortunate for the players who are on my side of the field!). And I'm definitely quick (and loud) to correct a player who I've asked to play left defense, if I see him drifting after the ball onto the right, offensive side of the field. But I agree with you--the play-by-play commentary, with coach instructions on how he would execute the game, as if he were playing a video game, are silly at best, and frustrating for the players at worst. Even when the instructions are technically "correct," they often exceed the abilities of the players. (The "have a shot" from the 18 makes me laugh every time, too. How in the hell is this kid going to get a shot off with the scrum in front of the net? And even if he can, he doesn't have the leg strength to put anything behind it!)

The charitable explanation--not for abuse when they fail, but for specific directions--is that field-sense is a hard skill to learn as a young player, and an even harder skill to teach, and the coach thinks he is helping the players see the field by yelling out what he sees. But, of course, when the action is moving fast, and the directions--even if executed--would require skills superior to those that the player has, I've got to figure that the players either get confused, frustrated, or just ignore the coach. I do catch myself overcoaching once in a while, but I try to walk the line of being constructive in a useful way, without being overbearing.

I'm curious on how others teach "field sense." I drill my players (during practice and off the field) that soccer is as much what you do when you don't have the ball, as what you do when you do have the ball, and I encourage them to spend as much time thinking on the field, and anticipating the action, as getting involved/chasing/engaging. But I'm curious if others have ways of getting those concepts through to younger kids, who just want in on the action.
 

Heinie Wagner

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I'm no shrinking violet on the sidelines--I'm not reluctant to try and help a kid out with positioning (particularly, at this age, letting them know if they're offside, which is a constant battle, or keeping the defense engaged so that they're not caught flat-footed). Or if I see an instance where execution could have been different, I often try to get a player's attention after the action has moved on, and give her a couple words to think about (unfortunate for the players who are on my side of the field!). And I'm definitely quick (and loud) to correct a player who I've asked to play left defense, if I see him drifting after the ball onto the right, offensive side of the field. But I agree with you--the play-by-play commentary, with coach instructions on how he would execute the game, as if he were playing a video game, are silly at best, and frustrating for the players at worst. Even when the instructions are technically "correct," they often exceed the abilities of the players. (The "have a shot" from the 18 makes me laugh every time, too. How in the hell is this kid going to get a shot off with the scrum in front of the net? And even if he can, he doesn't have the leg strength to put anything behind it!)

The charitable explanation--not for abuse when they fail, but for specific directions--is that field-sense is a hard skill to learn as a young player, and an even harder skill to teach, and the coach thinks he is helping the players see the field by yelling out what he sees. But, of course, when the action is moving fast, and the directions--even if executed--would require skills superior to those that the player has, I've got to figure that the players either get confused, frustrated, or just ignore the coach. I do catch myself overcoaching once in a while, but I try to walk the line of being constructive in a useful way, without being overbearing.

I'm curious on how others teach "field sense." I drill my players (during practice and off the field) that soccer is as much what you do when you don't have the ball, as what you do when you do have the ball, and I encourage them to spend as much time thinking on the field, and anticipating the action, as getting involved/chasing/engaging. But I'm curious if others have ways of getting those concepts through to younger kids, who just want in on the action.
The most frustrating thing to me about coaches giving specific direction to players on the field is that if you put even the slightest bit of research into being a good coach, you'd discover what a bad idea this is. That part of coaching isn't sport specific. Most youth soccer coach's don't read US Soccer's Best Practices for youth coaches or have any idea what is developmentally appropriate. There are so many good resources out there for soccer coaches. Two sons in travel (parent coached) one daughter who played premier. Most obvious/visible difference in coaching is game behavior. Pro/premier coaches say very little during games.

There are very few teachable moments when players are engaged in soccer (or basketball) game. I'd rather try to teach the kids on the sideline with me by pointing out good things players are doing that we want to do more of, and pointing out some mistakes and how we can fix them, than distract players in the game.

I've only coached rec soccer but I coach a lot of basketball. I think there are a lot of similarities. The two best methods I use to teach movement away from the ball in basketball are small sided games, especially 3v3 and no-dribble games. Half of our pre-game warmup is 3 no 3 continuous.
 

BroodsSexton

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The most frustrating thing to me about coaches giving specific direction to players on the field is that if you put even the slightest bit of research into being a good coach, you'd discover what a bad idea this is. That part of coaching isn't sport specific. Most youth soccer coach's don't read US Soccer's Best Practices for youth coaches or have any idea what is developmentally appropriate. There are so many good resources out there for soccer coaches. Two sons in travel (parent coached) one daughter who played premier. Most obvious/visible difference in coaching is game behavior. Pro/premier coaches say very little during games.
Thanks for the suggestion--I'll read up a little bit on the "best practices." (NB: link here.) Those premier coaches also get a LOT more time with their teams to practice. "Coaching" is a bit of a misnomer in our league, because there tends not to be any practice (by tradition)--outside of the half hour or or so before game time. It's really a structured pickup game, with permanent teams, and a parent delineated as a "coach." With those dynamics, there's only so much one can do. And frankly, it may well be that less is more. The kids who enjoy getting out and playing will find more serious places to learn the game and play.

There are very few teachable moments when players are engaged in soccer (or basketball) game. I'd rather try to teach the kids on the sideline with me by pointing out good things players are doing that we want to do more of, and pointing out some mistakes and how we can fix them, than distract players in the game.
That's a great suggestion. Actively watching the game together and talking about it as it unfolds is a good idea. Of course, we had no subs this past weekend...

I've only coached rec soccer but I coach a lot of basketball. I think there are a lot of similarities. The two best methods I use to teach movement away from the ball in basketball are small sided games, especially 3v3 and no-dribble games. Half of our pre-game warmup is 3 no 3 continuous.
I've been involved with playing and coaching both basketball and soccer. I think you're right that there are a lot of similarities in terms of 'field sense' or 'court sense'. I suspect that one of the differences is the psychological effect of distance to the ball. I mean, you can be a pretty long way from the play in soccer, and be in the right position. It seems even further when you're a young kid playing on a regulation field. Teaching a kid that it's okay to be at some distance, but to keep your head in the game and anticipate where the ball might go is tricky.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Agreed on the distance difference in soccer. I'd have no idea how to coach/teach kids to stay that far away. That's gotta be really difficult with younger kids.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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So for the first time in several years, we managed to find a motivated parent to coordinate our town's Kindergarten soccer clinic: she's organized, gets out in front of potential problems, is pro-acvtive, asks questions, answers questions, gets emails out, is willing to take advice.......it's like she's heaven sent. The key thing I stressed to her is parental involvement, and that a parent's previous soccer or sports knowledge is irrelevant (so don't accept that as an excuse): we're teaching 5 y/o's how to kick a ball.

First session was Sat, so I followed up yesterday, and she sent this back to me:

it was a little chaotic but Pro Trainer and the one father did great. the parents want dads running the session however when I sent out an email asking for volunteers for the stations I received two volunteers and one mom. I'm going to send one out again today and stress that we needs dads.

I wasnt sure that I was understanding her correctly, so I asked her "So the parents who want Dads running the session mean they want OTHER Dads running the session?" Her reply: "sad, isnt it"
 

robssecondjob

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Got an email today from a parent that wanted their child off of one of my better teams. They timed the playing time and their child was shorted. It was the first game of a team that will likely play 20-24 games over the next year.
 

riboflav

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When I used to coach AAU basketball, a parent timed how many minutes her son had the ball. The parent thought our team was a bunch of ball hogs and I was "letting them get away with it." She told me she was pulling her kid after he had the ball for only 93 seconds! 93 seconds!

I told her good riddance and by the way the average amount of time a player has the ball in a 30-minute game is 90 seconds so perhaps your kid is the ball hog.
 

Doug Beerabelli

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I'll admit it - as a parent I timed PT one season. 4th grade travel hoops. Coach, who has a football background, had 12 kids on team, but had a starting 5, a second 5, and worked two kids in. Spent ludacris amounts of time teaching the kids plays in practice. First unit (which happened to have his son on it, as well as asst. coach's kid) got most of the PT, and 2nd or 3rd game, there were kids including mine that were seeing 6-8 minutes of PT, some about 3, while the starters were into mid to high 20s, sometime more for a 40 minute running clock. After about 4-5 games of this, many parents were pissed. Having coached in the rec league up to this point, I was familiar with most of the players, and IMO the PT didn't match up to the talent level. Regardless of that, the at this level, PT really should be pretty close to even, and skills should be worked on more than plays. The coach even said in his intro email he didn't emphasize working on shooting - he liked defense and layups. LOL. There actually was a practice where I saw my son and another kid sitting on the mats watching the rest of the team run plays for 20 straight minutes. Just sat there. Could have been working on layups, shooting, FTs, whatever. One practice a week, 90 minutes - just unbelievable. Coach had plenty of parents that would have been happy to help, but he didn't want it. The Asst was a fellow football coach with no hoops experience, while 3-4 of the parents brought some knowledge to the table.

I was somewhat nutty about this, as my kid was not having fun, and I thought he was getting screwed, so I started to time PT during games. Charted it in the stands, didn't make a big scene of it, but didn't hide it. Did it for about games 5-10 into the season. Definitely favored the first team, like low 20s vs. 8-15. I did ask for a meeting with the coach, and we had a nice conversation. I didn't confront the coach with the stats, or share them publicly with other parents. I asked what my son needed to do to get more PT, and he said just needed to work on his defense and continue to play harder. I suspected it was a slough off, and the rest of the season pretty much confirmed it. I thought my son tried hard when he got a chance to play, and played good defense. Anecdotes aside, the fact is the starting 5 never changed the entire season. That means no one improved, worked harder or no one got worse during the season, which basically is impossible. He picked a starting group after 3-4 practices and stuck with it.

I stopped tracking time affter a month in. Things weren't great, but got better. It's hard to find PT for 12 kids, but there are ways to do it if you truly want to do it, and he didn't. As a travel baseball coach often on the other end of this stuff, I also try to give the coach the benefit of the doubt. It was a learning experience for both my son and myself, and while miserable at the time, it was a good low impact intro into these issues. I told him the season ends in March, and then he's done, and I encouraged him to play his best and give his best effort when the opportunities arose until it was over. Next year, the coach was back, and as a result my son chose not to try out for team. About 5-6 kids on the team did the same, although all the "starters" came back. We luckily have a good rec program the next town over with good PT rules (subs every 5 minutes, person on bench must come into play the next 5 minute session), and it has an optional travel team. I coached in that league prior and did again last year, and the boy regained his love of hoops.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Got an email today from a parent that wanted their child off of one of my better teams. They timed the playing time and their child was shorted. It was the first game of a team that will likely play 20-24 games over the next year.
I always look forward to a parent with less than zero sports experience or know-how, defending their child (who for obvious reasons got cut or is getting ltd PT) by including "I think she is an excellent player !" (exact phrase we got in an email, which I saved and am tempted to post. )
 

Heinie Wagner

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, is willing to take advice.......it's like she's heaven sent. The key thing I stressed to her is parental involvement, and that a parent's previous soccer or sports knowledge is irrelevant (so don't accept that as an excuse): we're teaching 5 y/o's how to kick a ball.
.....
I wasnt sure that I was understanding her correctly, so I asked her "So the parents who want Dads running the session mean they want OTHER Dads running the session?" Her reply: "sad, isnt it"
I tell people I PREFER coaches with little experience coaching basketball. The guys who tell me they have lots of experience are much less likely to listen to advice.

A parent (of an 8th grader) complained to me how a couple years ago we moved a good coach's kid from A to B between 5th and 6th grade, so the 6th grade A team didn't have a very good coach. I admitted it was unfortunate that they didn't have a very good coach that year. The complainer's kid made the B team in 8th grade so then he complains to me that the good coach's kid made the A team instead of his son. I asked him which way he though would be better for the most kids and he paused and changed the subject.

You can never make everyone happy.
 

Heinie Wagner

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I always look forward to a parent with less than zero sports experience or know-how, defending their child (who for obvious reasons got cut or is getting ltd PT) by including "I think she is an excellent player !" (exact phrase we got in an email, which I saved and am tempted to post. )
I had a mother of a boy who was not selected for a team argue with me about basketball tryouts after I explained how we picked players (ballhandling, layups, shooting, 3v3, 5v5) "so who gets picked for teams is entirely subjective?"

I wanted to say "no, we used height too, which is objective and your kid is really short".

On the other side, I was just at a friend's house whose older son we cut 4 times and whose younger son went from A in 5/6 to B in 7/8. I told them they're the only people I know who could have that happen and they're still talking to me. It's not even that they're all that understanding, it's just that most other people are insane.