The Sins of the Father (or Mother)
There is an old adage that the perfect team of youth athletes would consist of a team of orphans.
And one of the ugly truths of youth sports is that the adults (parents) are most often the culprit in turning what should be an empowering atmosphere – into one full of drama and stress.
We get a lot of fan questions in regard to how to deal with parents. Parents who over step their boundaries, or sideline coach their kids, or complain and whine or drool drama into every nook and cranny of a team atmosphere making things miserable for the coaches, other parents and even the players. How do you get rid of or deal with a parent who is awful without involving the child. Until you have encountered one of these ‘drama parents” its difficult to understand what a toll it can take on the team culture and atmosphere.
And the bottom line is that in YOUTH athletics, the parents and player come together as a pair. You cannot recruit one without the other. Parental involvement is 100% absolutely necessary. Good coaches pay attention to how parents behave for good reason. And rumors and reputations of unruly parents who seem to find conflict everywhere they go are definitely passed around in the small fast-pitch softball community.
Last week, a fan question posed on our page – from a coach who felt they had exhausted all methods of dealing with a disruptive parent , felt they had no other choice but to remove the child from the team. And this caused quite a debate. People saying this was an unfair, unjust solution. Why would/should a child be punished for a parents actions or behaviors? How could an adult do that to a child who just wants to play ball, especially a child who was described as an asset to the team?
But is it, really so unfair?
Positive team cultures and atmospheres require certain expectations and boundaries. Good coaches and teams are upfront about what is expected of both parents and child throughout the season. Good teams and coaches are open to communication, and don’t allow their egos to get in the way of clearly dealing with parents.
After all, the PARENT IS THE #1 ALLY OF THE COACH! When coaches and parents work together for the betterment of the team – EVERYBODY WINS!
But, when you have one parent who has no disregard for that culture, who has the desire to be a cancer to a team spewing drama and discontent, who feels justified in breaking rules and constantly embarrasses the team on the sidelines, or who seems to go against coaching at every opportunity, they are breaking the rules. They are anything but an ally.
And more importantly they are selfishly hijacking the amazing experience from other families and players and coaches. How is that fair?
How is it fair for 10-11 other families, players and the coaches to have their season ruined by one person?
And remember, this is YOUTH sports. There is no way that you can banish a parent from attending all team events.
The reality is that it really sucks to remove a worthy player from a team because of the actions of the adults in this child’s life. It is a bad situation all around. For the coaches making the decision, for the teammates, for the child. But after all means of trying to change things, communication etc. have failed – teams that want to avoid drama and stress are left with no other choice.
Often, especially in TEAM cultures – there can be addition by subtraction.
And while no adult coach wants to be the one to make the decision to remove a player from a team because of parental actions, sometimes – for the sake of the TEAM, and the 10-11 other families, it HAS TO BE DONE! And that quite frankly is FAIR.
One unhappy, discontented person can cause a lot of disruption and trouble in a team environment. And we have known plenty of quality people who leave teams because they don’t want to be associated with, or deal with an unruly parent? How is that fair to anyone?
While the sins of the father or mother, shouldn’t necessarily be taken out on a child – the reality is that sometimes coaches and teams that want to maintain a positive, empowering atmosphere are left with no other choice.
As adults, we each carry the responsibility to think about how things we do, affect our children in the big world.
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