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tbmckie
(@tbmckie)
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October 4, 2018 9:28 am  

I am a first year head coach of a fourth grade team.  The league is structured more like a rec league.  I have multiple years coaching at the HS level as a position coach and DC, so i never was involved with parents or admin.

Here's the deal, I got a group of 18, which is a good number.  All kids play in the game, but some kids do not get a lot of quality reps.  These kids also have 100% attendance at practice and for the most part, play up to their ability.  I have had 3 parent complaints about playing time.  What really gets me frustrated is all three kids have grown a lot over the year as players... increased confidence and increased toughness and I am personally proud of all three.  I try to explain that to the parents, and they dont get it, period.  Also frustrating is that 5th and 6th grade have kids that have not see the field yet and have no internal complaints. 

I realize i am taking this way to personal and I need a chill pill.  So, my question is this, how do you handle parent complaints about playing time and detach my personal feelings from it.  Not take it home so to speak.


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SingleWingGoombah
(@singlewinggoombah)
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October 4, 2018 9:36 am  

Can you expand on their playing time a bit?  What type of playing time are they getting? How many plays a game? What do you mean by quality reps?

So no attendance issues, are they problematic at practice? Lacking effort? Causing issues?


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tbmckie
(@tbmckie)
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October 4, 2018 9:46 am  

Once game is decided, i will start to rep them in, non quality reps.  I am not sure the number of reps, but more then just a couple plays.

They do show up to practice, they have shown good attitudes except for one and that just started Tuesday.

They are not game ready, they freeze, literally freeze.  Same thing used to happen in practice, but they have grown past that. 


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 17390
North Carolina
High School
October 4, 2018 9:52 am  

I have multiple years coaching at the HS level as a position coach and DC, so i never was involved with parents or admin.

--Dealing with parents is really pretty easy, provided you know how and are willing to involve yourself.  (Most coaches don't and aren't.)  Personally, I can't remember the last "issue" I had with a parent and many parents of players remain friends with me today.

All kids play in the game, but some kids do not get a lot of quality reps.

--What's a "quality rep?"

I have had 3 parent complaints about playing time.

--What about it?  How much?  Or when?

I try to explain that to the parents, and they dont get it, period.

--I don't get it, either.  You haven't explained anything.

Also frustrating is that 5th and 6th grade have kids that have not see the field yet and have no internal complaints. 

--Parents don't complain when they are happy.  If parents aren't complaining and their "kids have not seen the field yet" that means they are probably happy with their coach. 

So, my question is this, how do you handle parent complaints

--That's hard to say because we don't have them.  We have a lot of involvement with parents and players and there's plenty of communication.

about playing time and detach my personal feelings from it.

--Parent's understand things when you have a clear, understandable, reasonable plan that is well presented to them at the parents meeting.  Did you have one at your parents meeting?

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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SingleWingGoombah
(@singlewinggoombah)
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October 4, 2018 9:54 am  

Once game is decided, i will start to rep them in, non quality reps.  I am not sure the number of reps, but more then just a couple plays.

They do show up to practice, they have shown good attitudes except for one and that just started Tuesday.

They are not game ready, they freeze, literally freeze.  Same thing used to happen in practice, but they have grown past that.

I think the parents are justified in voicing their concerns here.  If they are at practice, and giving full effort, and are still freezing at this point in the season, that is a coaching issue.  Kids should not be penalized over that. 

Slow the game down for them, give them less to do, and coach the hell out of them to do that.  If you sub in and out well, you can get them in for a couple plays with out it hurting you.  You have to do a better job, the kids deserve it. 


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 17390
North Carolina
High School
October 4, 2018 9:55 am  

Once game is decided, i will start to rep them in, non quality reps.  I am not sure the number of reps, but more then just a couple plays.

Is there an MPR-rule?

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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bdjackson
(@bdjackson)
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Posts: 260
October 4, 2018 10:09 am  

I think the parents are justified in voicing their concerns here.  If they are at practice, and giving full effort, and are still freezing at this point in the season, that is a coaching issue.  Kids should not be penalized over that. 

I have one kid like this, and two that I have a hell of a time with at practice.  The kid that shows me the effort at practice gets the start at DT. The fact that he starts makes the parents happy, and the other two get subbed into that position frequently throughout the game, and in the end, those two kids that lack effort get their MP's and the other keeps his starting position. So far it has worked out well for me. The other thing of importance, is those kids are also coached on THAT position because I know that's where they will be on defense. Just like everyone is coached to block, because we are 7-8, so everyone is a blocker first.

Slow the game down for them, give them less to do, and coach the hell out of them to do that.  If you sub in and out well, you can get them in for a couple plays with out it hurting you.  You have to do a better job, the kids deserve it. 

This ^. Kids with really short attention spans or kids that cant grasp the bigger picture need to have minimal responsibilities that they can successfully perform. If you put a kid at DT and he has been running away, continue working with him. The hope is that the coaching will pay off and he'll start filling that A gap. Once he, does make sure he understands how important that was to the play. Sometimes, the biggest confidence boosts with little kids comes from the Coaches reinforcement of their success. I guess that's probably at all levels.

-Brian

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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tbmckie
(@tbmckie)
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October 4, 2018 10:18 am  

No MPR rule

5th and 6th grade has had no internal complaints, meaning coaches, they are going straight to the board, from my understanding.

I understand its on the coaches to get these kids game ready, I will never shy away from peer critique.  With that being said, per league rules, we practice twice a week for an hour and 1/2.  Its hard to fine time to coach up these kids on an individual basis.

I keep an open line of communication with the parents.  I have all year.  I am available before practice, after practice and before games.  I am not a yeller or screamer, I coach these kids with love, firm love.

My philosophy is that all kids should play in every game, which has taken place.  Even without a MPR. 

I am not perfect, god knows that.  At this time, as you can see, I am a little defensive about all this.  I honestly thought before the season, that if i was open and honest with the players and parents, it would go smooth.


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SingleWingGoombah
(@singlewinggoombah)
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October 4, 2018 10:24 am  

One of the toughest lessons I learned as a coach... Had a kid that played split end for me.  Undersized kid, had some ability.  He was a 5th grader on a 5th/6th grade team that was deep on 6th graders and talent.  Kid gave great effort every practice.  League rules was he had to play a full quarter start to finish in the first half, and get some playing time in the 2nd half (very vague there)

Had him in at SE in the 2nd half, I subbed him out.  Put my back up QB in for him to run a pass play to the SE.  My back up QB was tall and could catch.  Normal SE was tiny and inconsistent. 

After the game, they just left, didn't stay for the breakdown or post game chat or anything. 

Next day had a heart to heart with the dad.  It crushed his son that I took him out for what should have been his moment.  He bust his butt at practice, does what he is supposed to do... and I subbed him out.  I was crushed.  I learned a lot from that conversation.  It made me a better coach. 

Its when I learned the importance of effort. 


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Coach E
(@coache)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 1101
October 4, 2018 10:33 am  

One of the toughest lessons I learned as a coach... Had a kid that played split end for me.  Undersized kid, had some ability.  He was a 5th grader on a 5th/6th grade team that was deep on 6th graders and talent.  Kid gave great effort every practice.  League rules was he had to play a full quarter start to finish in the first half, and get some playing time in the 2nd half (very vague there)

Had him in at SE in the 2nd half, I subbed him out.  Put my back up QB in for him to run a pass play to the SE.  My back up QB was tall and could catch.  Normal SE was tiny and inconsistent. 

After the game, they just left, didn't stay for the breakdown or post game chat or anything. 

Next day had a heart to heart with the dad.  It crushed his son that I took him out for what should have been his moment.  He bust his butt at practice, does what he is supposed to do... and I subbed him out.  I was crushed.  I learned a lot from that conversation.  It made me a better coach. 

Its when I learned the importance of effort.

Went through something very similar and I'm still mad at myself for doing it. I have a kid this year that isn't very athletic and playing SE. I've thrown him two passes (we don't pass very often) - one drop and one catch for minus 2 yards. Doesn't matter; he caught the ball.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.- Marcus Aurelius


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 17390
North Carolina
High School
October 4, 2018 10:36 am  

No MPR rule

--Hmmm.  That's too bad.  I think they should be mandatory.

5th and 6th grade has had no internal complaints, meaning coaches, they are going straight to the board, from my understanding.

--I don't know what this means.

With that being said, per league rules, we practice twice a week for an hour and 1/2.  Its hard to fine time to coach up these kids on an individual basis.

--No doubt that only 3 hours per week makes things a challenge.  But it's the same challenge for every team in your conference, so that's a wash.  When it comes to coaching players, there's 3 things that coaches commonly complain about: talent, technique and effort.  You can't control the first one.  And the less time you have, the more of a challenge it is to teach proper technique to everyone on the team.  But effort is something that doesn't take talent or time to get.  And it's something that every player can give.  We are more successful getting effort from players, than any other commodity.

I keep an open line of communication with the parents.  I have all year.  I am available before practice, after practice and before games.

--There's a big difference in being "available" and insinuating yourself.  I seek out opportunity to talk with parents, whether it's at our parents meeting, our pre-season fund-raisers, our Sunday night phone calls, our post-season banquets, our off-season action-plan, etc.  I still receive texts and social media messages from parents about their kids, even though I'm no longer coaching them.  I still get messages because parents want to communicate with me.

I am not perfect, god knows that.

--You're probably more perfect than I am, but I consider dealing with parents part of the strength of what we do.

At this time, as you can see, I am a little defensive about all this.

--Actually, no I don't see you being defensive at all.  Bugged?  Yes, but we're all bugged when we don't have the answer to something that frustrates us.  All I'm saying is, this doesn't have to be a problem and it's a pretty simple resolve.

I honestly thought before the season, that if i was open and honest with the players and parents, it would go smooth.

--It's something that you need to be proactive in, if you really want it to go well.  Seek out the parents and engage them.  After all, you have at least ONE thing in common: You are both fans of the same child.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 17390
North Carolina
High School
October 4, 2018 10:44 am  

Next day had a heart to heart with the dad.  It crushed his son that I took him out for what should have been his moment.  He bust his butt at practice, does what he is supposed to do... and I subbed him out.  I was crushed.  I learned a lot from that conversation.  It made me a better coach.

Brian, your post is absolutely spot-on.  It's when you take the opportunity to have conversations like that, is where coaching comes to life.  Too many coaches just aren't interested in hearing from the side of the parent, as if their hopes/wants/dreams were entirely and completely counter-opposite to your own.  That's not true.  That parent gave you insight that you were grateful to have.  That's why I like to talk with them and walk around in their shoes.  They give me insight to the drive home talk after practice, they give me insight to the dinner table conversation, they give me insight into that post-game discussion.  And it's insight so that I can see a far bigger picture.

--Dave (#BattleReady)

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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SingleWingGoombah
(@singlewinggoombah)
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Posts: 2070
October 4, 2018 11:02 am  

Brian, your post is absolutely spot-on.  It's when you take the opportunity to have conversations like that, is where coaching comes to life.  Too many coaches just aren't interested in hearing from the side of the parent, as if their hopes/wants/dreams were entirely completely counter-opposite to your own.  That's not true.  That parent gave you insight that you were grateful to have.  That's why I like to talk with them and walk around in their shoes.  They give me insight to the drive home talk after practice, they give me insight to the dinner table conversation, they give me insight into that post-game discussion.  And it's insight so that I can see a far bigger picture.

--Dave (#BattleReady)

Absolutely.  It was a dark moment in my coaching career.  But a defining one.  It was 6 seasons ago and I hold onto that moment dearly.  Its a place I do not want to go back to.  I built a solid relationship with that player and parent after that and I never forget that lesson I learned.


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tbmckie
(@tbmckie)
Copper
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 15
October 4, 2018 11:04 am  

Went through something very similar and I'm still mad at myself for doing it. I have a kid this year that isn't very athletic and playing SE. I've thrown him two passes (we don't pass very often) - one drop and one catch for minus 2 yards. Doesn't matter; he caught the ball.

.

This is good stuff and maybe the main concern about the frustration.  I think i am frustrated at myself.  I see these kids at practice every day and they are good kids that deserve to play. 


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 17390
North Carolina
High School
October 4, 2018 11:04 am  

It was a dark moment in my coaching career.  But a defining one.  It was 6 seasons ago and I hold onto that moment dearly.  Its a place I do not want to go back to.  I built a solid relationship with that player and parent after that and I never forget that lesson I learned.

I've had those lightbulb moments, too.  And it's taught me that there's a much better way to go about things.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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