Website Manager

Wayne County United Soccer Club

Sideline Behavior

Sideline Behavior


It was brought to my attention this past weekend, parents of players in our club are coaching from the sidelines and/or shouting negative comments to our own players and coaches.   In no way is this acceptable behavior, not only for our club but for any youth sport.  I would like to remind you all of the agreement that was signed by our parents before the start of the season. For the most part, our parents encourage our kids and support our coaches.  I hope this is an isolated incident and after this letter has gone out the negativity stops.

I want to bring to your attention the following things to keep in mind as you are watching your son/daughter play:

  1. Let the coaches coach. If you are telling your player or any other player on the team something to do and it’s something different from what the coach is telling them it creates confusion.   
  2. If a player makes a mistake, it’s ok!  They will learn from it, yelling at the kids will unnerve them.  Let them play!
  3. Do not discuss the play of specific young players in front of other parents. How many times do you hear comments such as, “I don’t know how that boy made this team….” or “she’s just not fast enough…”. Too many parents act as though their child is a ‘star’, and the problem is someone else’s kid. Negative comments and attitudes are hurtful and totally unnecessary and kill parent harmony, which is often essential to youth team success.
  4. Discourage such toxic behavior. Listen patiently to any negative comments that might be made, then address issues in a positive way. Speak to the positive qualities of a player, family or coach.
  5. Do your very best not to complain about your son or daughter’s coaches to other parents. Once that starts, it is like a disease that spreads. Before you know it, parents are talking constantly in a negative way behind a coach’s back.  If you have a problem with tactics, playing time etc don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and I can look into the issue with that coach.
  6. Make positive comments on the sidelines.  Be encouraging. 
  7. The parking lot is not the time to “fan the flame”’. Whether it is a coach’s decision, a comment that was made by an opposing parent, let it go. Don’t harass the coach, or a parent on the other team after the game is over. Go home, relax, and unwind. Talk positively with your child. The ride home is sometimes as important as the game itself. Make that time a good memory for your son or daughter by discussing as many positives as you can about him/her, her coach, her teammates, etc.

The coach spends more time with the ‘team’ than any parent.  A coach may not have a strong team and might set up a formation that will try to make a team harder to be beat instead of getting blown out. A parent who only comes to games might not understand what is going on as they are uneducated or misinformed about parts of the sport.  That is up to the coach, coaches who are qualified and have taken certification courses in order to coach within the club.  

A negative mindset from parents doesn’t help anybody and brings down the morale of players and other parents.  Being negative around not only your player but other players and parents unfortunately is contagious.  I encourage all our parents to just be supportive for our teams, coaches and parents.  I would also encourage you to be positive if an opposing player makes a great play or makes a great save.  

In theory, the game is meant to be enjoyable for young players and to learn different aspects and skills of the game.  Within the right atmosphere it also teaches life learning experiences like hard work brings success, teamwork, sportsmanship, taking on adversity in pursuit of a goal and dealing with failure constructively, all geared to building confidence and making young players feel good about his/her self. In theory! The vast majority of parents within our club mean well, and want the kids to be happy and successful. They sacrifice time, money, energy and volunteer to help out with certain things within the club as do our coaches. I commend you for it.

So what is the right behavior on the sideline for a parent?  Be your child biggest fan.  If your child is having a bad game, (it happens) your love and support is needed more here than when the child is playing out of their skin.  If the team suffers a tough loss, be positive, talking about negatives of the child’s game won’t help.  Love and support however, doesn’t mean coach from the sideline.  Understand you are not helping your child or the team.  Even if you know the game and are trying to motivate them…you are not. Along these lines, it’s also NOT appropriate to grumble to other parents about the coach or tactics used during the game. Coaches need support as much as the players on the field and more than likely a parent are looking at the game from an untrained eye.   If a parent that’s on the sideline wants to get involved with coaching at the club, please ask them to get in touch with me.

To finish off….we all want our sons/daughters to enjoy the game and play well.  We want our teams to be successful as the club continues to grow.  Creating a positive atmosphere around the club whether at games or events is key.  Let’s work on keeping the club moving forward and keep the negativity away and do your part to ensure lessons earned are constructive and positive.  

Steve Ellis

Director of Coaching