Grassroots Coaching

Football Parents Fifteen Things To Keep In Mind While Watching From The Sidelines

This is an article written by Michael Langlois, that I think is well worth repeating.

Michael Langlois is the author of How Well Do You Communicate? A Guide to Better

Communication with Players and Parents for Youth Football Coaches.

His web site is

1. Let the football coaches’ coach. If you are telling your son or daughter – or any other
player for that matter – to do something different from what their coach is telling them,
you create distraction and confusion.

2. It is very unnerving for many young players to try and perform difficult tasks on the
field on the spur of the moment when parents are yelling at them from the sidelines. Let
the Kids Play. If they have been well coached, they should know what to do on the
field. If they make a mistake, chances are they will learn from it.

3. Do Not Discuss The Play Of Specific Young Players In Front Of Other Parent
s. How many times do you hear comments such as, “I don’t know how that boy made this
team… or “she’s just not fast enough.”. Too many parents act as though their child is a
‘star’, and the problem is someone else’s kid. Negative comments and attitudes are hurtful
and totally unnecessary and kill parent harmony, which is often essential to youth team

4. Discourage such toxic behavior by listening patiently to any negative comments
that might be made, then address issues in a positive way. Speak To The Positive
Qualities Of A Player, Family Or Coach.

5. Do Your Level Best Not To Complain About Your Son or Daughter’s Coaches
To Other Parents. Once that starts, it is like a disease that spreads. Before you know it,
parents are talking constantly in a negative way behind a coach’s back. (As an aside, if
you have what you truly feel is a legitimate beef with your child’s coach – either
regarding game strategy or playing time, arrange an appointment to meet privately, away
from a football field.)

6. Make Positive Comments From The Sideline. Be encouraging. Young athletes
do not need to be reminded constantly about their perceived errors or mistakes. Their
coaches will instruct them, either during the game or at half-time, and during
practices. You can often see a young player make that extra effort when they hear
encouraging words from the sideline about their hustle.

7. Avoid Making Any Negative Comments About Players On The Other Team,
This Should Be Simple: we are talking about youngsters, not adults who are being paid
to play professionally. I recall being at a rep baseball game some years ago, when parent
on one team loudly made comments about errors made by a particular young player on
the other team. People on the other side of the diamond were stunned- and
angry. Besides being tasteless and classless, these kinds of comments can be hurtful to
the young person involved and to their family as well.

8. Try To Keep Interaction With Parents On The Other Team As Healthy And
Positive As Possible. Who’s kidding whom? You want your child’s team to win. So do
they. But that should not make us take leave of our senses, especially our common
sense. Be courteous ’till it hurts; avoid the ‘tit for tat’ syndrome.

9. Parents On The ‘Other’ Team Are Not The Enemy. Neither are the boys or girls
on the other team. We should work to check any negative feelings at the door before
we hit the pitch.

10. What is the easiest thing to do in the youth sports world? Criticize the
referees. Don’t Criticize The Referees. Oh, there are times when calls are missed,
absolutely. And that can, unfortunately, directly affect the outcome of a contest. That
said, by and large those who officiate at youth football games are hardly overcompensated,
and give it an honest – and often quite competent – effort. At worst, they at
least try to be fair and objective.

11. On that note, outbursts from parents on the sideline made toward the referees only
signal to our own children on the field that they can blame the refs for anything that goes
wrong. Blaming Others Is Not A Formula For Success In Sports.

12. Yelling Out Comments Such As “Good Call, Ref” Or “Thanks Ref” May
Only Serve To Alienate An Official. The ref always assumes they made the proper call,
that’s why they made it. Trying to show superficial support because the call went ‘your’
way is simply annoying to the officials, and to anyone within earshot.

13. Walking up and down all game long along the sidelines, following the play, is
unnerving to players and totally unnecessary- particularly so if you are trying to yell out
instructions to various players, including your own son or daughter. It is likely
embarrassing to the player/players involved and simply counterproductive. If You Want
To Coach, Obtain Your Coaching Certification And Then Apply For A Job.

14. We all feel things and are apt to be tempted to say things in the ‘heat of the
moment’. But we don’t excuse athletes for doing inappropriate things in the ‘heat of the
moment’ (there are penalties, suspensions, etc.) so we should apply similar standards to
our own sideline behavior. Quickly Check Yourself And Ask: Will I Be Proud Of
What I Am About To Say Or Do When I Reflect On It Tomorrow?

15. The parking lot is not the time to ‘fan the flames’. Whether it is a coach’s decision,
a referee’s call, a comment that was made, let it go. Don’t harass the coach, or an official,
or a parent on the other team after the game is over. Go Home, Relax, And
Unwind. Talk Positively With Your Child. The ride home is sometimes as important
as the game itself. Make that time a good memory for your son or daughter by discussing
as many positives as you can about him/her, her coach, her teammates, etc

Posted in
Football News