As promised in my Top Ten Things Coaches Wish Parents Would Do, here is the top ten list from a parent perspective and what parents wish coaches would do. Obviously all the items in this list aren’t applicable to ALL coaches. But I’m sure all of us have been guilty of at least one of the following things at one time or another!

Remember, this is just my list – I’m sure you parents have many others y­ou would like to add, so comment away!

Top Ten Things Soccer Parents Wish (Some) Coaches Would Do

  1. Get a team manager. No matter how great a coach you are, you don’t need to be wasting time with paperwork, uniforms, snack schedules, etc. Even if it’s just a U5 Rec team with six kids on it – get a manager so you can spend ALL your time coaching and teaching our kids. Think of it as an investment since you will rely on a team manager more and more as the kids get older and if you find someone you work well with, it’ll pay off later on.
  2. No matter how smart you think you are, continue to take coaching classes and learn. You’re SO great with kids and our kids love to play for you, but we want them developed and to continue learning and they can only do that if you continue to learn.
  3. Put away the whistle. The kids aren’t dogs and while they’ll certainly stop and freeze at the sound of a loud whistle, they’ll learn more about respect and listening if you teach them from a young age to do what you ask without the whistle.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for our help. If our little Johnny is being a terror at practice, let us know! Yes, a few boneheads among us will get all bent out of shape that you said something critical of their little angel, but the vast majority of us are realistic, know our kids aren’t perfect, and if they are misbehaving – we need to know it.
  5. Talk to us. Even if it’s only via email, keep us posted on what your thoughts are for the team, how you think they are progressing, etc. If you do things we don’t understand, and that’ll happen often since many of us still don’t quite ‘get’ soccer, we’ll come up with all sorts of conspiracy theories as to why you did something. Not play by play, but in general – what are your goals, your coaching philosophy, are you planning a major shakeup in the lineups, etc. You don’t have to justify your decisions. Just keep us posted on what you’re thinking, how you think the team is doing, concerns you have about our behavior, etc.
  6. Get to practice on time or let us know if you’ll be running a little late and try to have an assistant prepared to get things started. Practice times are short and field space limited. Make the most of it.
  7. Don’t yell at the kids. Shouting so they can hear you is one thing. Yelling at them is another. Don’t do it. The kids should respect and look up to you, not be afraid of you.
  8. Evaluate the kids at the end of the year and be honest. We all think our child is going to be the next David Beckham (minus the tattoos) or Mia Hamm and unless we hear different, we’ll continue to think that. Yes, it’ll be awkward to tell some parents that their little angel isn’t already MLS caliber, but that’s life. Don’t be negative – just let us know what you saw, how our child has progressed, and what areas they still need to work on. It’ll help keep us a bit more rational and also give us information on ways we can help our child improve and succeed when they aren’t at practice.
  9. Don’t make them choose a sport because they overlap and be more flexible when they do. They’re kids and many have multiple interests. Just like how they skipped early basketball practices when the team was getting ready for the end of season soccer tournament, you should understand if they miss some pre-season practices in the Spring as they finish out their basketball season. Even if it means less playing time for a bit, don’t make them feel like they’re doing something wrong by playing another sport.
  10. Have fun. Coaches can have fun too and a team with a fun coach is going to have a better experience, even when losing, than a team that wins everything but has a tyrant coach.

We hold you in the highest regard because you voluntarily agree to spend hours on end with a group of energetic, rambunctious kids and still manage to smile about it when we’re pulling our hair out daily­ just dealing with ours. But they’re still our little angels and we hope you understand that we might be a little neurotic about that at times!