These are a few thoughts that anyone [tag]coaching softball[/tag] should keep in mind for dealing with parents and players behavior. These apply to your [tag]softball[/tag] practices and games.

Communicate your expectations to the kids and parents on Day 1.  For example…I lay down the law regarding talking while the [tag]softball coach[/tag] is talking the first time I addressed my team. If you are direct and draw the line way back the times they cross it are much less frequent.  Let’s face it, they are 12U girls, they will cross it.

I also ask that parents to bring any and all issues to me immediately.  No one is to sit in the stands and criticize.  If there is an issue let’s hear about it.  Stay organized. Schedule events as far in advance as possible.

Communicate with the parents by asking them for their feedback on practice and ways to handle their child.  Talk about strengths and weaknesses and what we are going to do to correct.

Ask the parents to leave the coaching to the coaches. It’s a long ride home getting unwanted instruction or criticism in the car.  Ask them to communicate specific ideas to the coaches for work in  the [tag]softball practice[/tag].

At the same time a parent may have expertise in an area such as pitching.  In this case the coach may have to leave the pitching instruction to the parent.  Many players have pitching coaches or hitting coaches.  If that is the case, discuss this with the parents and leave it alone.  The parents have invested, in some cases, a lot of money and you shouldn’t mess with it whether you agree or disagree with the instruction.  Expect results, which will determine playing time.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Remember why we are here.  Many of the youth players that we coach will never become professional players.  Teach the technique and grow the skills for the next level.  Team success will come but it doesn’t have to come at all costs.

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