A Virus

I have a good relationship with a local coaching colleague. He and I get together everyone now and then and share stories. I coach for a smaller club and he coaches for a nearby (much) larger club. He lives in a different world then I do.

My club serves the local community – a community based club. He coaches in a club which serves a metropolitan area. He cuts players, lots. He can afford to be picky. He can take hard stands. He shared a story with me the other day and if you’re in a similar position I’d recommend it for you as well.

He heard from an angry parent that he had some other parents on the sideline ‘bitching and moaning’ about the way the team was being run. In his words, “We’ve been in three tournaments, have won two and have only lost two games in that period and they are complaining.”

Now, that’s not my experience. My team does well, but not quite that well. What’s preposterous about it is that despite the team’s success his parents were complaining. We live in a free country. People can say what they want – and will. Understand the consequences though.

My colleague did the right thing. He called a parents meeting the next day and addressed the malcontents directly. In his words,

“If you don’t stop complaining, your child will sit the bench until she quits. I can’t/won’t drop her off the team so this is the only way I have of addressing your behavior. I’m certain you have passed along this advice to your child so I hope you will not be hearing it for the first time from me – If you have nothing nice to say then please say nothing at all”

What he shared with me, and what I believe is absolutely true, is that if you fail to deal with this behavior directly you will get nothing less then more of it. It will grow until you have to deal with it. Parents socialize together and share their opinions. That much is a reality. Putting the behavior in the spotlight defeats the behavior. It thrives in darkness and dies when the other parents recognize it. My first and best advice to club coaches is to address the virus directly. Don’t let the sore fester.

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