Working with Parents

Being a coach doesn’t always end with the players. Learn to work with parents for the benefit of the team.

How can parents and coaches help young players overcome a perfectionist mindset? Chief Content Officer at Changing the Game Project, Reed Maltbie shares a fantastic article around some of the modern challenges parents and coaches face with perfectionism on the rise in a status-driven society. Recently, Changing the Game Project received a question that we get often, so we thought it would make a great blog: “I was wondering if you could provide some advice. My son is 8 years old and plays on a…

Gratitude is a trait we should all be aiming to develop in the young players we work with. Developing better people first is a fundamental belief at PDP. So as coaches, how do we approach this? Mental performance expert John Haime discusses how players can shift their mindset and enhance their own experience through taking a grateful approach to their own development, outlining how a simple emotion can elevate performance   What are you grateful for? That might seem like a strange question to ask…

In this article, AFC A licensed coach Andrew Oakley shares his perspective on a significant issue in Australian grassroots football. Andrew discusses the risks of trials, recruitment and talent identification, outlining the importance of belonging and cohesion in a young footballers developmental journey. Why do we keep shuffling the cards in hope of a ‘winning’ hand? At the end of every season in Australia’s youth football landscape, a ritual is repeated that isn’t doing our clubs or players any favours. The annual circus of retention,…

Sideline support and direct instruction are two very different things. In this article, Founder of Working with Parents in Sport, Gordon MacLelland discusses the damage that can be caused from parents overstepping and instructing children while they play. Every weekend all over the world millions of parents, children and coaches set off for their weekly sporting ritual ‘Match Day’. Many will follow the same process each week and will never question their routine or behaviour. Many of these parents and coaches are well intentioned, trying…

The question this week comes from Sean: “Many of the parents in my team are exceptionally vocal, often coaching the players from the sideline and contradicting the ideas that I am working with in my group.  Do you have any advice as to how I can deal with this?” Your Turn: Ask PDP Anything Do you have a coaching question that we might be able to help with? We would love to hear from you. Here’s what you can do: Join the conversation on our PDP Slack…

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Editor, Dave Wright is joined by Gordon MacLelland, the Founder of Working with Parents in Sport. Gordon and Dave dive into a discussion which includes practical advice for parents on how to support their children in sport, how clubs can better engage with parents, how to manage the car ride home and much more. Gordon has vast coaching and teaching experience and this discussion is essential viewing for coaches and clubs looking to better understand parental influence in youth sport….

Problem-solving is crucial in player development. In this article, Founder of Changing the Game Project, John O’Sullivan shares an excellent article on the importance of guiding children towards solutions and creating autonomy in learning environments. Imagine you went to your child’s algebra class and got to be a fly on the wall. Imagine the teacher was being assessed on your child’s test results in two days. Now imagine that instead of teaching your child how to problem solve, and the concepts behind doing algebra problems,…

In this article, Founder of Working With Parents in Sport, Gordon MacLelland shares a challenging article on the dangers of adults hijacking the youth sport experience, and how parents can ensure their children own the experience. Whose game is it anyway? In many ways a simple question to answer, but one that despite what we may say as parents and sometimes as coaches, is not always backed up by the behaviours that we display on a regular basis. In the cold light of day we…

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Editor Dave Wright is joined by Reed Maltbie for a fascinating and wide ranging conversation on youth development. Reed is a TEDx Speaker, has a Masters in Sports Psychology & Early Childhood Education and is founder of Coaches Realm & Raising Excellence. In this conversation, Reed shares some excellent insights into the challenges of organisational culture and how program leaders can make change, the importance of parent education and how coaches can build stronger relationships with parents. Plus, Reed and…

The question this week comes from Michael via email. “I’m new to the club and still getting to know the players. I have one U14 player who is unhappy and doesn’t appear to be getting along with team mates and it’s starting to affect training sessions. How would you handle this situation?” Your Turn: Ask PDP Anything Do you have a coaching question that we might be able to help with? We would love to hear from you. Here’s what you can do: Join the conversation on…

Ase Strandbu, Kari Stefansen, Ingrid Smette, and Morten Rensio Sandvik The Big Idea “Involved parenthood” in organized youth sports is what these Norwegian researchers are attempting to better understand.  Child-centered parenting they note—using the United States as an example—is still evolving since its early cultural development in the 1960s.  Organized youth sport in those days was in its infancy, preceding the appearance of involved parents.  On a personal note, this reviewer—who is from the U.S.—recalls his early childhood sporting days in the 1960s, and happily…

What experience are you delivering as a coach and what legacy are you leaving for young people? PE Teacher and blogger, Sporticus reflects on his own practice and evolution as a coach, outlining the importance of creating environments for children that go beyond just playing sport.   ‘If teaching is to have meaning beyond the facilitation of learning, if it is essential rather than accidental to learning, then it has to come with the notion of “transcendence.” it has to be understood as something that comes from the outside and brings something radically new.’…

Throughout sports history there have been examples of militant coaches and stories of those who go too far on the sideline. However, the line can be crossed and coaches must recognise the position of influence they have on young athletes lives. Founder of Changing the Game Project, John O’Sullivan shares an article on a terrible recent story of bullying in American Sports which has left lives ruined and raised a huge number of questions in the coaching industry.   On May 29, 2018, University of…

Christina Salmivalli The Big Idea This review paper was published in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior.  Its subject is bullying.  While its context is the classroom, what is reported in the research entails the fields of play as well.  If there is an umbrella quote covering the inherent nastiness of bullying, it would be this, Maya Angelou’s reflection: “I’ve learned that people forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” What amplifies…

Failure is crucial in human development. Whether as a coach, player, parent or another vocation, embracing failure as part of a journey towards improvement is crucial in the learning process. Reed Maltbie shares his views on the importance of understanding the role of failure in development. What is the other side of failure? Have you ever pondered what is on the other side? Most of us will fail. A lot. We will stumble through our entire lives like a baby learning to walk. Hopefully using…

Youth sport is often dominated by an adult lens. Founder of Changing the Game Project, John O’Sullivan shares his excellent article about his recent trip to Australia, his subsequent reflections and the importance of ensuring that sport serves the needs of young people above all else. In late February I was traveling and speaking in Sydney and Perth, Australia, working for a variety of sports organizations including the Football (Soccer) Federation of Australia, Football New South Wales, the Western Australia Department of Sports and Recreation,…

Australian cricket is embroiled in scandal. One of the world’s most talented teams has been tarnished with the label: cheats. The sporting world watches on and three players have been sent home, their careers uncertain after lengthy bans. PDP Editor & UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright, discusses how this incident is perhaps a culmination and reflection of a dominant narrative in Australian sport but also an opportunity for change. This Australian team has been guilty of poor behaviour for years, but it has finally…

C. Ryan Dunn, Travis Dorsch, Michael Q. King, and Kevin Rothlisberger The Big Idea The estimates in the United States vary. But anywhere between 24 and 44 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 participate in organized youth sports. The measurement discrepancy is due to the wide-ranging framing of the demographics, geographies, and organizational structures. Let’s just say there is a glut of kids at play in the U.S. today, organizationally speaking. On the one hand, there is good reason for this popular…

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