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OT- Q: For H.S. football coaches

  • Any HS football coaches, (asst or head)

    How often do players parents contact you ( phone calls, meetings, email) regarding grievances over lack of playing time for their kid?

    Also, has anyone ever had a parent actually storm on the practice field during or after practice to gripe about their kid being treated fairly?

    Would love to hear any stories how you handled such situations.

    Thanks guys.

  • I'm just a lowly assistant, but the biggest difference between the head and assistant is the dealing with parents.

    I have a head coach that will has everything run thru him so I've never had to deal with an issue in 8 years.

    I will say that different places have more problems, but there isn't a year that goes by that someone isn't complaining or in his office. On a bad week it'll be 2 to 3 times a week. On good weeks we may even sneak by a week without hearing something.

    This state is football crazy and that's a good thing for people like me. If no one cared it wouldn't be as much fun. The kids and fans make it so. That being so, we also have a lot of "experts" in this state, but you take the bad with the good.

    FWIW, it seems like the parent problems mainly happen when you are good. No one really cares if Johnny is getting his touches when you are going 2-8.

    When I was playing our starting TE was puking his guts up on the field. His Dad was watching practice and walked onto the field. Our head coach told him to get his a** off the field or he was cutting his son. That wasn't too long ago, but that wouldn't fly where I'm at now.

  • Theta

    How do you get into coaching HS football?

    Twitter: @ProducerAP

  • Thanks for the reply. I thought the most interesting thing was that no one cares as much about their kid playing when going 2-8.

    I love that the coach told the dad to get his @$$ off the field lol.
    Also funny to hear about the expert parents.

    Are the 2 or 3 complaints a week always about lack of playing time?

  • I've never coached HS ball but I would imagine ....

    Be a volunteer assistant for a HS team while in college or right a/f college. This will prepare you for a possible asst spot in a few years.


    Be a graduate assistant in college and upon graduation you will have several offers.

    This post was edited by Devon97 19 months ago

  • Most of the guidelines are set in the parent meetings before the season. Once you have told them that issues with playing time will not be duscussed, it usually keeps them away. Most of them would rather send a nasty email than actually approach face to face about a playing issue. Had one dad this year approach me after our last game of the season asking abot his sons playing time, and that was the first game he had been to all year...go figure. He had his UPS work shirt on, and i told him that I'm not going to tell him how to deliver his mail, so he's not going to come on my field telling me how to coach football.

    This post was edited by rwhite4ua 19 months ago

  • I started as a volunteer with the freshman program at the school I graduated from. Well after one year of freshman coaching I got promoted to varsity with pay. It has it perks but one thing that bugs me is parents thinking they know everything.

  • I love that tactic. Great story!

  • What are the most common things parents like to offer unsolicited advice on?

  • I coach football and baseball. Baseball parents are the worst. Every kid now plays "travel ball" and because of that, parents all think their child is all-state. Also, you have dads coaching them until middle school or high school and most dont know a good swing from a bad one. I tell players that if you want to discuss playing time, make sure to bring your uniform when you show up.

  • We start with a parent meeting and tell them the door is open to discuss how their son is doing in life and how we can help. But we will not discuss playing time because that requires we discuss someone else's son which we will not do since that family would not be present. Second, at the end of fall camp, each position coach sits down with each of his players to make sure they know where they stand. Lastly we tell them we as coaches don't decide who plays. They do that with their work habits, system understanding and practice performance. If a parent crosses the line in season we tell them it's not about his kid. It's about our team and if they can't embrace that they won't succeed in our program. Sure, in my 15 years we've had a couple of nut cases but most will comply if you cover things in advance.

  • I had my parents ans players sign a guidleine contract that stated exactly what I expected out of them. The last sentence said coaches will not discuss playing time and or postion. If you feel the need to discuss these things please bring uour childs unifoem wirh you as they will be dismissed from the team. This pretty much eliminated thw problem. I know of some coaches whobhave this problem though.

  • MrGold

    Here is something a friend use for his program... it's basketball, but it still applies... he covers this at the start of each season with the parents:

    Parent/Coach Relationship

    Both parenting and coaching are both extremely difficult vocations. By establishing an understanding of each position, we are better able to accept the actions of the other and provide greater benefit to children. As parents, when your children become involved in our program, you have a right to understand what expectations are placed on your child. This begins with clear communication from our student-athletes coach.

    Communication you should expect from the coach

    Philosophy of the coach.
    Expectations the coach has for your student as well as all the players on the squad.
    Locations and times of all practices and contests.
    Team requirements, e.g., fees, special equipment, off-season expectations.
    Procedure to follow should your student be injured during participation.
    Discipline that results in the denial of your child’s participation.
    The availability of the coach to speak with your student if they have a problem.

    Communication coaches expect from parents

    Concern expressed directly, at appropriate times, to the coach.
    Notification of any schedule conflicts which involve absence from practices or contests well in advance.
    Your support for the program that your student has chosen to participate in and positive encouragement for all involved.

    As your student-athletes become involved in the athletic teams at Huffman High School, they will experience some of the most rewarding moments of their lives. It is also important to understand that there will also be times when things do not go the way your student wishes. This is the time when your student should talk to his/her coach. This type of communication will help give both coach and athlete a better understanding of each other’s ideas and goals.

    Appropriate concerns to discuss with coaches

    Suggested ways to help your student athlete improve.
    Concerns about your student-athlete’s behavior and/or academic progress.

    It is very difficult to accept that your student athlete may not play as much as you may have hoped. Our coaches are experienced, professional educators. They are required to make judgment decisions based upon evaluation of practice performance and what they believe to be in the best interest of all those involved in their programs. As you have read from the list above, certain things can be and should be discussed with your student-athlete’s coach. Other items, such as the following, must be left to the discretion of the coach:

    Issues not appropriate to discuss with coaches

    Playing time
    Team Strategy
    Play calling
    Other student-athletes

    Procedure to follow if you have a concern to discuss with a coach

    Have your student-athlete meet with his/her coach to discuss an issue. (On most occasions, this coach-to-athlete meeting can resolve issues or questions.)
    Call the coach directly to discuss your concerns. telephone number is XXX- 5000. Leave your telephone number and a short message with the operator and the coach will return your call.
    Please DO NOT attempt to confront a coach before or after a contest or practice. These can be emotional times for both the parents and the coach. Meetings of this nature do not promote resolution.

    What can a parent do if the coach-athlete and parent-coach meeting did not provide satisfactory resolution

    Call and set up an appointment with the Athletic Director, XXX - 5000, and the coach to discuss the situation. At this meeting, issues of concern will be discussed and an appropriate plan of action developed.

    The value of extra-curricular activities relating to future success

    Research indicates that students involved in co–curricular activities have a greater chance for success during adulthood. Many of the positive character traits required to be a successful participant in athletics are exactly those that will promote a successful life after high school. The information provided is designed to make your student-athlete’s experience in the Huffman High School Athletic program enjoyable and beneficial.

    Thank you

  • Great thread. Thx to all. Very helpful info, I'm a coach but at a private club and dealing w parents is by far the worst part of my job

  • They love to tell you how to calls plays and run your defenses. Playing time gets brought up 2 times a week at least and parents are constantly wanting control.

  • I coach football and baseball. I have players and parents sign a contract of the expectations that the program has for them as student athletes. I am a straight forward type of person who will tell you the truth with brutal honesty. I have learned though that if you give clear expectations and in the parent meeting explain acceptable and unacceptable behavior/conduct of players/parents, you can avert many of the probems that seem to arise. With that being said, I have been talked about beyond believe in the stands by those player development staffers for the New York Yankees. (Parents)

  • I used to coach football and basketball as an assistant. All of my head coaches refused to talk to parents about playing time. The kids were more than welcome to, but the parents were not. I had two confrontations with parents, both in basketball. One was because I dressed a kid down in front of everyone on the sidelines, and the dad thought I embarrassed the kid. (I warned him twice about arguing with refs, and after he got ejected for it, I lost it). The other time was when a dad thought I was being too hard on his son for being a turd. His dad played in college and thought just because his boy was really good, that he was beyond getting his butt chewed. Kid had a terrible attitude. After he sat a couple of games, he never had any more issues and was by far the best player I had. (was JV head coach)
    How to get in to coaching? I got my degree in education, taught math.....but was hired to coach. Sent my resume to the head football coaches. They got me interviews with the principals. Volunteer coached all through college. Would still be coaching now, but it's hard to support a family on $35-40K/year as a teacher.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by Smart Kirby 19 months ago

  • I'm also an assistant HS football coach, volunteer at the school I graduated from two years ago. To answer your question, me being a young guy who all the parents know no ones ever tried to put me in that situation and we've never had anyone come on the field since I've been there. We also went undefeated and won the state championship so that always helps a little bit with those cases... I guess you can't complain too much about us doing a lousy job when your sophomore son is playing all of the second half with 30 point lead 11 games out of the year haha. So basically, as an assistant with one year of experience, I've been quite fortunate.

  • Great advice.

  • I have coached the major sports at the different levels (jr. high and high school). I can tell you from experience, the jr. high parents and worse than the high school parents imho. I start the year by letting the parents know that playing tell will never come up in discussion or I will end the meeting respectfully. My door is always open to discuss what is going in my player's life (school, etc., etc.) and that I will do anything in my power to ensure they are getting the education first before they play. I have already had to suspend a couple of players due to grades (and parents wishes). I told my parents that the players earn their playing time during practice. If they do not go 100 percent in practice, then I can not trust them to go 100 percent in the game. Parents always want the 10 best players and little Jimmy to play all the time (football) or whatever sport it is. I just try not to put myself in the situation to get cornered by a parent. My practices are also closed (basketball). I don't want parents watching practice, because that is when I get irritated the most.

  • If you want to be a full time, paid assistant at a public school, you will need to get you a teacher's certificate. Preferably in an academic area (English, Science, Math, History) since PE jobs are harder to find. Schools are always looking for male teachers that are willing to coach.

    You can get on at a private school but pay won't be as great.

  • I know w/ football it's hard to close practices. I'm surprised the Jr High parents are worse.

  • yeah, we couldn't have closed practices for football. I do lock the gym doors during basketball practices though. I've had trouble with both groups of parents. It seems like by high school they know their son/daughter will either be a really good player or just a bench (role) player. At the jr. high level, they all think their son/daughter is the best player on the team.

    I'm still just a young teacher/coach, so I'm still learning a lot. I'm always looking to other coaches to get advise on how to handle day to day procedure of handling parents and players in different situations.

    This post was edited by msc5787 19 months ago

  • 92DT

    A lot of great stuff on here from some pretty experienced - and unexperienced - men. At our place, we haven't had to deal w it as much. More on the playing position issue than playing time. Like others have mentioned, our HC does a great job in our preseason parent-player mtg in outlining this issue.

    In fact, we make it a contract, & your son can't step on the field in Aug until it's signed by parent & player. This helps a ton.

  • MrGold

    In Alabama, you are not required to have a teaching certificate to be an assistant coach.. he have to be certified through the state to coach, but not required to be a teacher.. For a few years, the school supplied the contract for me to sign to be a full time paid assistant...

  • True..but not every school system will do that for you.