If there’s one thing you can never be prepared for when you first get into being a basketball coach, it’s the parents you encounter. Somewhere in the last decade or two, youth sports have developed several problems, and often times parents are at the forefront of the issues.
Don’t get me wrong – coaches with improper motives can be just as bad, but there are sometimes parents that will literally drive people out of coaching.
So without further ado – the eight types of parents you’ll encounter as a basketball coach.
Since parents typically get painted in a negative light when it comes to basketball, we’ll start with the positive one. Positive Patty is the parent that will volunteer to help whenever needed. She’s the loudest one in the gym, but it’s always encouragement. She might even bring a pom-pom or a blowhorn to the games.
You don’t have to worry about the positive pattys when you’re a coach. You know that they are a champion of your program and you won’t hear any gripes from them.
This is another parent that coaches love to have as part of their program. Discipline Dan doesn’t let his kid talk bad about the coaches, and he’s usually the first one to ask “well is there a reason the coach is getting on you?” Discipline Dan usually played sports in the past, or has possibly even coached himself, so he typically will take the coach’s word over his own kid’s.
If Discipline Dan’s kid isn’t getting it done in the classroom or is goofing off during school, he’ll be the first one to sit his kid out of games. You won’t even have to do it as the coach, he’s already handling it as a parent.
You’re not going to hear too many gripes from Referee Rick about playing time, but you will ALWAYS hear him during games. Rick has never met an official that he liked, and he lets them know it. Sometimes you get the urge to turn around and ask Rick to pipe down because you think the referees are subconsciously hurting your team because Rick won’t quit griping at them.
Two-Face Tom is the parent that you can have a great conversation with and he’ll let you know that he’s ‘all in’ with your plans, and then will go behind your back and talk bad about you. No matter what you do, you know that Tom will never be happy, but he’ll never say it to you. You may even call Tom or approach him to ask if he has concerns and he’ll always tell you ‘no’, but it always gets back to you that he’s unhappy and has been bad-mouthing you.
Confrontation Carl thrives on being unhappy and he lets everybody in the gym know it. If you don’t play his son the amount he thinks you should, you can guarantee he’ll approach you about it. You’ll try to talk rationally to Carl, but he doesn’t get it. He usually never played sports growing up and is living through his kid.
The sad thing is usually his kid doesn’t want him to be confrontational, so you have to be able to separate the dad and the kid.
Sam is an easy-going guy that you won’t ever hear from. He doesn’t do much cheering at games, he doesn’t say much more than ‘hello’ to you, and you don’t really hear much else from him. These are easy parents to deal with, as they are quiet and mild-mannered.
This is the parent whose kid does no wrong. If you call to talk about problems their child is having in school, Dana usually blames it on the teacher not liking her child. If you sit their kid out a game because of poor conduct, they’ll respond that it’s out of character for their kid to act like that. These are parents that you’ll typically have trouble getting through to because they have delusional visions of their kid.
These are the parents that you’ll encounter and feel bad for the kid. These parents don’t come to many games, and they’re usually late picking their kid up from practices. On the one hand, they’re easy to deal with because you don’t have to worry about them griping, but on the other, you feel bad for their kid for not having a supportive parent.