Kanga
Two years ago

Parent coaches

Just heard a large club is implementing a rule to prevent parents from coaching a team that includes their child. Controversial move. But my experience is that parents who coach or are assistant coaches results in significant issues for team dynamics, particularly around time on court and how plays are structured. That said, coaches are volunteers and it's a tough call for parent coaches.

Interested to know whether other clubs have such a rule?

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Weedy Slug  
Two years ago

These days, probably. Lots of bias.
Good players sitting on the bench because they are outplaying the coaches child.

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Greg S  
Two years ago

For more information please see Geelong United,

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+  
Two years ago

also sibling junior umpires - had that experience - appreciate we are short refs but when you are 12 and umpiring your brothers or sisters team with mum and dad yelling foul, travel etc puts a lot of pressure / influence at the dinner table or car ride on way home. Or they play at the club and people from that club are yelling for calls to be made.

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+  
Two years ago

kanga that has been a discussion point for years

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Isaac  
Two years ago

Is it at all age levels and grades?

Is it common in other sports?

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+  
Two years ago

also depends what level - most is amateur sport with volunteers - so a balance needs to be struck otherwise it may not happen. Seen the same with managers or persons investing in the team. Again a rational balance needs to be made. Good management is more the key IMO.

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Nightwing  
Two years ago

The player who suffers most is the child of the coach. Post COVID volunteerism is at an all time low. Good luck to the club trying to cover all their teams without any parents.

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Camel 31  
Two years ago

My son's school team were losing by 90 points and none of the teachers or parents knew anything about basketball, so, my son asked me to come out and help.
So, in that case everybody was happy about that.

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Anon  
Two years ago

Dandenong used to have it but exemptions for 1st team coaches. This is going back 15 years. Doesn't exist anymore

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Red84  
Two years ago

Well you will stir up a hornet's nest with this topic!
I get it that perceptions of favouritism can kill a team's morale and reflect badly on the management of the club as it involves personal integrity and objectivity. The club that outlawed this probably had a bad experience and implemented this measure to help right the ship.
Favouritism can operate at many levels - in the selection process; in the number of minutes a kid plays; the roles they are assigned; a lower level of accountability. And in certain circumstances, you get ratbag parents who get frustrated and enjoy intrigue and choose to blame a parent coach for team losses or lack of playing opportunities for their own kids.

IMO having misgivings about parent coaches is a marker of good practice in all clubs, but outlawing it is going too far. There are mitigating and countervailing circumstances at work here.
A lack of coaching manpower in many clubs is a big problem. The parent coach may be the only resource available - and no coach, no team. Many coaches I know have kids and got into coaching because their kids played the game. Take that pathway away and the supply of new coaches dries up. And, surprise, surprise, you may actually find that the parent coach has qualities of personal integrity and sensitivity that enables them to manage the situation quite well. It can happen you know.

So what to do? For smaller clubs, that lack coaching resources may mean that the best, or only, coach is a parent coach. In this circumstance I would recommend 4 work arounds. I do NOT offer these as a complete solution. I suggest they only operate at the U12 and U14 level:

(a) Iron rule - limit minutes of the coach's kid to be less than the average of other team members;
(b) Club management takes an active interest monitoring the team, and be seen by all other parents as taking an interest;
(c) Bar the parent coach from club management positions. This is what they call "corporate hygiene".
(d) Be as open and transparent in the process of reappointing coaches. Be seen to invite outsiders. From personal experience I know clubs can become insular closed shops that dispense favours behind closed doors.

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Nightwing  
Two years ago

Red84

a) is exactly my point. Completely unfair to the child.
b) this is the problem in the first place. Club management should have a process where this happens for every team. If that was the case, this Club probably wouldn't be taking this knee jerk reaction.
c) Ridiculous.
d) Again, should be the case no matter who you appoint as coaches.

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Red84  
Two years ago

With respect Nightwing - consider the following

It is role of club management to evaluate the performance of a parent coach and deal with complaints that can arise. In a small club setting by having a parent coach as part of club management means they will sit in judgement of themselves or become aware of informants who may approach management on a confidential basis. Even if the parent coach recuses themselves from such a review process, in a small club setting, they will form close personal relations with other members of the club management that prejudices the hearing process. It is good practice to keep parent coaches at arms length from the club's management.

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+  
Two years ago

what if the coach and player are both really good ? and they deliver a balanced program ?
A blanket rule could go the opposite way.
Been involved with teams where very positive people had delivered a very good influence on the group.

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sixtiesrockstar  
Two years ago

It's a great policy in theory to not have parent coaches, but when the season is fast approaching and you are still looking for coaches as no-one else wants to do it, what is the club going to do then? Cancel teams?
Very doubtful any club would get enough volunteer coaches who don't have a child playing to coach. You would have to start paying all of your coaches.
Most parents only end up as the coach of their child as the team didn't have a coach, no-one else would do it so a parent stepped up to coach.

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Nightwing  
Two years ago

Red 3 of 4 points you accept then?

If your Club deals with issues like that, they must not get much done. There would be a process.

Think of the potential knowledge a Club could be excluding if that were a rule.

A coach who is a parent coach be exNBL player now coaching, state/high performance coaches or past state/high performance coaches, experienced and successful coaches. Why assume a parent coach is likely a poor one?

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Red84  
Two years ago

Nightwing
In a small club setting - if the coach was no longer responsible for a team which included their kid, then - in my view - its quite okay for them to occupy a management position. As you say, many may have insights that are useful.

I don't presume a parent coach is likely to be a poor coach. But I am alive to the idea that this arrangement is not ideal and carries risk of adverse outcomes that other posters have reported in this forum in recent years, including this very thread.

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Hoopin’ in the burbs  
Two years ago

Wants more teams in a space where coaches are hard to come by.... Makes it hard for people to coach.

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Saphire  
Two years ago

My club domestic club is made up of excellent parent coaches. Many of whom also coach at a rep level. Without parent coaches the team would not run. We are lucky that the majority of them have had years of experience and as this is not there only gig they are not playing for sheep stations. As a club we have tried many avenues to get coaches with very limited success. That said the rep club that my children play at donot allow parent coaches for there 1's and 2's team and I am also thankful for the quality of coaches that they have had coach my children

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Anon  
Two years ago

Domestic is completely different.

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Reggie  
Two years ago

Few clubs in Adelaide have the rule for Div 1 and 2 but flexibility below that.

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Old Coach  
Two years ago

Been coaching at Rep level for many years. Have seen very few of the problems described in previous posts, EXCEPT when it comes to the 1s team, where many of these issues exist.

In my experience the problem with parent coaches is competence. It is up to the club to improve their competence, and many clubs do nothing to help with that.

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JOaRiDrAN  
Two years ago

In a perfect world, there would be a tonne of volunteers with 6 spare hours a week to Coach a team full of strangers lol.

At Junior level, parents are what keep Clubs going. The Club I Coach for won't allow parents to Coach division 1 & 2 teams. Generally people who have an interest in coaching are up the top divisions anyway. It’s the lower divisions that rely heavily on parent volunteers.

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Denny Crane  
Two years ago

They have something similar at West Adelaide.... unless your surname is Grieger

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Movingscreen  
Two years ago

Greg S why call out one Association without data unless you were personally negatively impacted. Looks like a personal whinge. Give us data !

ie: How many VJBL teams they have and how many have parent coaches.

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William 23  
Two years ago

Its an intersting topic and have been involved in it from all 3 sides- player, coach and parent coach. As a coach coaching his child it was so hard to find the balance, my son was top 4 player in our team but I was so aware of not showing favouritism I gave him less game time that other players.

As a coach I have missed being appointed to 1's and 2's teams to make way for less experinced and qualified parent coaches to then watch those team have the parent children play 30 plus mintues.

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Kanga  
Two years ago

Did not expect this response!

I tend to agree (actually strongly agree) that a parent should not be a coach / assistant coach of a 1s (or perhaps 2s) team. Too much bias / perception of bias, and the issues around minutes / team role / accountability mean it is not worth it.

See same issues in local footy.

Interestingly, my experience in footy is that the assistant coach can be a bigger problem being in the ear of the main coach, or the main coach feeling like they are restricted in they way they structure up. Probs same in bball although not many assistants I know.

Agree can't have hard and fast rules though - people are different and there would be many examples of a parent coach doing an awesome and fair job, and after all they are volunteers.

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Armageddon  
Two years ago

Have heard an SA club is about to go back on this policy due to a lack of coaches available and allow parents to coach their own kids in div1 as of next year.

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Old Coach  
Two years ago

William 23 I feel your pain. Such a pity to see players not develop due to insufficient competence in parent coaches.

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Elphinkiller  
Two years ago

As a coach I would never coach my kids at Rep level. Issues whether percieved or reality take away from my enjoyment of coaching and distract me from doing what I actually need to do. Domestic I used to always coach them and that proved difficult enough.

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Kanga  
Two years ago

Domestic is different - you would expect and we need parent coaches at that level.

Rep, particularly Div 1 is different. Parent coaches are often just too invested in one player or a couple of players, often leading to actual or perceived conflicts and (sometimes) aggressive behaviour to protect those players (including tech fouls where their kid is involved in an altercation or there is some perception the ref has been unfair). At that higher level, where the kids are putting in so much effort, having actual or perceived conflicts, and having coaches favouring players or getting too wound-up, is not right. So, having reflected in this thread and discussing at my club, I very much lead towards not having parent coaches at the higher levels.

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Old Coach  
Two years ago


JOaRiDrAN, 6 hours per week you must be joking. I reckon minimum 12 and often 15, that's not including time to deal with any issues, time during tryouts, social events, club-required clinics etc etc. Its 5 hours training including travel, 3 hours match including travel, 2 hours training session prep, 2 hours researching and planning. For an inexperienced coach especially a parent coach, their research load would (or at least, should) go up to 4-8 per week. There's 14-18 hours. A working parent with multiple kids would find it difficult to find that time. That's why most coaches are outside the prime child-rearing years (ie they are in their teens and twenties, or over 40).

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Old Coach  
Two years ago

correction - go up BY 4-8.....

And another thing....it is costly for teenagers and those living from wage to wage to coach a rep team. I reckon it costs me $600 per annum. I can afford it but a lot can't, I imagine some parents with multiple kids couldn't do it just because of the cost.

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UseTaHoop  
Two years ago

Old Coach

If parents are coaching their own kids, the cost and time invested is not as great. You will already be travelling and attending games.

Isaac

I coached my own in Aussie Rules/AFL. I live in a League state, s9 there wasn't much choice and we were all parents. A group f us started the club. I was founding Vice Pres (the easiest committe job) and Under 8s coordinator and coach, plus I went to league meeting, ran, umpired and did coaching and umpiring courses. It was too much involvement fro:too few families, but the club has grown substantially and wins GFs every year now, including girls which we now have a comp for. It all grew from a few families. I was only asked to join the committee starting the club because other parents knew I grew up in SA and was a teacher. We didn’t have to worry about any kids missing out because we struggled forplayer numbers for first couple of seasons.

Fun times.

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Old Coach  
Two years ago

Yes fair point UseTaHoop

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Phizzer  
Two years ago

I heard that same rumour, but I think intent lost in the message.

Their intention is to maintain quality over quantity. When you plan for 5 teams and have 80 kids show up at trials, easy to think "just add a 6th or 7th team and get a parent to coach". I believe the intention was to say as a club, we're not compromising and just throwing a parent in as coach. I saw this happen at a smaller club, they went through trials, picked 4 teams and then asked a parent to coach the 4th team with a "don't worry we'll support you" attitude.

Obviously you need parents to coach for all the reasons above. Sometimes parents are the best coaches. And sometimes is causes issues. Case by case rather than blanket rule surely....

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Was15  
Two years ago

What frustrates me are clubs who move coaches up an age group every two years so kids aren't exposed to new coaches.

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hoopjunkie  
Two years ago

Some parents go into rep coaching to establish networks and increase the chance of their kids getting selected (into the top teams).

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Ks  
Last year

Experiencing it now. The Dad coach has his daughter on for average 30 min of each game. Rep level. Daughter is an average player like 8 of the other players, and he keeps the strongest players (2) on to make himself as coach look good.. by winning. Meanwhile the other average players sit on the bench.. while his daughter learns on court and others fall behind. Not on when rep is so expensive. Plus his daughter is never shouted at on court, yep makes LOTS of mistakes and of another player makes a mistake he either subs them off or yells at them. Wtf. And his daughter now starts ordering the other players around on the court... nuts.

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Bballfan  
Last year

Tough night Ks?

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+  
Last year

Ks -just got to channel the investment in the right direction - these people are giving time and support to the club and sport. Club has to have clear procedures about this and people involved have to know when to get out the way. Has anyone raised this with the club rather than an anonymous forum - otherwise you will just stew on it and have a miserable season.

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Frisbee14  
Last year

Agreed with above, raise it with proper channels and hopefully it's handled by neutral interests. Then they might find the coach is making reasonable decisions, or you might be one of those parents biased to their own kids and sitting and backstabbing doesn't help. If a majority of parents feel the same way they should let their feelings be known as well.
Don't know what the truth is, but posting on a forum serves no purpose but to bitch and moan. And the kids might just be out there he having fun and don't really care about the parental politics involved in junior sport

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Ks  
Last year

No 6 other parents have also noticed it since we started. Have raised it with someone at club, but not the head coach...but all of us don't want to make the situation worse for our kids. My kid also don’t want to upset daughter in training when defending her as daughter cracks it when she defends her 'too well’.. think we’ll either raise it with head coach, or just leave it for the season, better luck next season.. as complaining would probably make things worse

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