Dear Coach: I'm a youth league (ages seven to nine) soccer coach,
and I'm looking to stay out of the news. You know all those
stories about pushy parents getting into brawls with their kids'
coaches? We're almost at that stage. How can I avoid that?
GIVE PEACE A CHANCE
Dear Peace: Get people to lower the volume immediately. Call an
emergency meeting with the parents and go over your guidelines
regarding playing times for kids and acceptable sideline behavior
by parents. If after that you find yourself in a bad situation
with a parent during a game, quickly reduce tensions. Go up to
the unruly grown-up and let him vent for a minute before
suggesting you continue the discussion at a later time. As a last
resort, talk to league officials about having the child--and
thus, the parent--transferred to another team.
Dear Coach: My 10-year-old son is a pretty good football player.
Problem is, he's overly competitive. When his team loses, he's
nearly inconsolable. What should I do?
Dear Daddy: Kids who have a tough time coping with a loss often
think it's up to them to make sure their team wins. Victory for
them doesn't bring happiness, just relief. Explain to your son
during a calm moment--not right after a game--that winning and
losing are usually beyond his control, and that all great
athletes suffer losses. Then suggest that the best way to cope
with his frustrations is to direct those negative feelings into
something positive, like working on his skills. Defeat can be a
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