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Inspired by Jon Woodward’s recent blog post The Need to Educate the Audience and the Spectator we’d like to know how you handle any parents/spectators shouting negative comments on the sidelines?
The RFL have a fantastic programme where they have a designated Touchline Manager. This person cannot be the coach of the team, it has to be a distinct role. They will politely explain to an ofeending player or parent that their behaviour is not conducive to a positive environment. Should that not work then further action or sanctions against a team may be taken.
For anyone interested, Colette Eden at the RFL is the person to speak to for more information.
I read a piece of research lately that made we think we tend to see parents only as a problem when they could be a useful resource as well. In the research one coach made a very interesting comment about why it is important not to ignore parents. As the coach said:
'They tell me things such as how to approach their child and what type of activities they respond better to. So it's very informative.'
This is obvious when you think about it. Who knows the child better that their parents and tapping into this knowledge can provide valuable insight on how to get the best out of the child.
The coach in this research was involved in more recreational types of sport which he admitted makes things easier as parents appear more relaxed in this setting. However it still shows the value of trying to work with parents - getting the best out of them should help you get the best out of their children.
I see a large part of my job is to help parents through education and communication. A lot of the behaviour we see is in tennis is a natural parental reaction. We don't want our children bullied or cheated out of points and we want them to achieve success. The trouble is that these inbuilt responses are not useful in the sporting arena and can be harmful to young children. So my approach is to see the parents as being on a learning journey as well the player, and to help them along it. This is possible as a coach to players in an individual sport.
I am well qualified in my field but most of my posts will come from learned experience rather than consulting extensive research
I used to take certification classes for youth soccer coaches in USA. I'd have a chat to some of them during registration and see if one of them was up for helping me with a demonstration. I set up a desk as if the volunteer was at work, and I acted as his boss. I'd enter his/her work space and shout and scream at them, about the quality of their work, not trying hard enough, not being good as someone else in the office etc etc. I'd then discuss with those taking the class how this would make them feel in their workplace and the impact it would have on their output. And then simply ask them to translate that to being an 8 year old on the pitch. They're out there trying to remember what they were coached, impressing peers and family, having fun, being with friends. Having a coach or spectator shouting at them on top of all that is more than they can handle emotionally. It seemed to have a great effect and many mentioned they'd never considered it in that way before.
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