Monthly Archives: May 2017

wiser sports leadership blog


DeAngelo Wiser

Have you ever been caught off guard by a parent questioning your ability or skill to coach? Odds are at some point in your career, to some degree, it will happen. It may be subtle hints or even an angry conversation.

How will you react? Defensively? Angrily? Surprised? All are natural reactions to someone ultimately attacking your character and or ability. At least that’s the way you may see it. Is there another view?

Playing time and awards are the number one challenges you’ll face with parents. “Why isn’t my child playing or playing more?” and “How could my child not have been the MVP or been omitted from that all tournament team?” will always be questions you may have to deal with.

As a coach you may be surprised when it’s after a big win or after a season when your team was very successful. Keep in mind it’s a challenge that is blind to winning or losing. Your team could be 20-0 or 0-20 when this situation presents itself.

For those of you who’ve experienced a confrontation of this nature, when all the dust settled and you had time to think about the situation, were you in the wrong? Did you make a bad decision? Did it have a more far-reaching impact than you intended? Were you hoping it would go away on its own? Should you have addressed it, but didn’t?

Initially it’s tough to absorb, especially when you pour your heart and soul into your team day after day. How could anyone think that you weren’t capable of or dealing conscientiously with the challenges of coaching?

The first step is to see it from their perspective. Not from a “I’ll prove you wrong” attitude, but from a “Let me replay and think about the situation” and what really happened.

Many coaches refuse to talk about playing time with parents and have guidelines that state the same. Will that deter a parent who sits with other parents of players who play the entire game and cheer their kids on? Doubtful.

As a game progresses they become more and more upset, and often will seek you out after the game. Initially you may want to be brutally honest concerning the ability of their son or daughter highlighting all the skills they’re lacking or their sub-par athleticism. But, of course, that is not the right approach. Parents will always see their sons or daughters in a positive light and think they are the best player on your team. Nothing you say in a negative way will ever change that. While you may want to win this battle it isn’t necessary. Stay composed and positive, focus on the attributes this player has and why you kept them on the team.

Should there be ground rules for meetings concerning these situations?

Develop your own expectations for meeting with parents.

1. 24 hour “cooling off” rule for meeting

2. Call for an appointment, no email or social media.

3. No mention of any other players at the meeting.

4. Meetings will include Athletic Director

Explain and hand these out to all parents at the first meeting before the season begins. Let them know your philosophy with respect to starting, playing time, practicing, awards, etc. It won’t make you immune to a confrontation, but it will help knowing you did it.

In the end your best course of action will be to simply listen to everything the parent has to say. Refrain from countering every point they make and wait until they finish before you speak. You’ll have time at the end to state your points. Listening will give you great insight to their perspective, and ultimately let them get rid of what’s bothering them so much. They may even say as one of my parents said, “We know Billy isn’t the best player in the world, but if you could just find a way to get him in a game or two we would be thankful.”

Always keep in mind a child is the most important piece of a parent’s life.

I wish you and your team the best!

wiser sports leadership blog


DeAngelo Wiser

halftime-2Bof-2Beast-2Bwest-2Bgame.jpgHave you encountered a player or players you couldn’t reach over the course of a season? They always looked at you skeptically with locked out body language when you addressed the team, and didn’t appear to trust you or anyone else. Where does that originate? Is it essential that it should change? At that point is their attitude detrimental to the team?

We all understand that attitudes are shaped and based on life experiences, either through our family or situations with others. Often those experiences aren’t very pleasant and thus a mistrustful attitude is born. Plus, many parents teach their children to be skeptical of everyone they meet as a safeguard. I think you’d agree that’s a good approach in today’s society. The question is, should it last a lifetime with everyone our player meets? Can it be changed or altered if necessary?

Should we always be obsessed with changing the attitudes of our players to our way of thinking? I think not.

Give thought to your personality and level of trust. Can it be a benefit to have players with the opposite perspective? Without a doubt! Just by disagreeing they cause us to often rethink the activity, strategy and ways to get through to our players. The key is teaching our players not to necessarily change their attitude, but to deal with situations in a respectful and “let’s see manner.”

What is a “let’s see manner?” Its players waiting to see how something plays out, the benefit it may have for them and that maybe it might just be a good thing. All we’re doing is asking them to change the lens they look through and be a little more flexible. Every time they are, it builds trust and over the course of time shifts the outlook from, “I hate doing this,” to “Wow! This isn’t bad,” and “I had no idea this would help me and the team so much.”

Attitudes, unlike skills, can take a long time to adjust, and very often you may never see it. Doesn’t mean you stop trying. Takes a lot of patience, and at times tolerance, to work through the lessons of a tolerant and accepting attitude.

How can you get started?

Meet with the player(s). Let them know you sense some skepticism. Ask for their feedback and see if they will share where it originates.

Let them know what kind of coach you are, and what you expect from every player.

Ask how they think attitude and outlook impacts a player and the team.

Share your ideas on how players should address areas they don’t agree with.

Ask their thoughts.

Explain that your door is always open should they want to discuss anything.

Avoid giving this player very special treatment because you feel especially bad for past experiences in their life.

Be consistent with your words and actions. All players must be held accountable in practice and games. These individuals are especially sensitive to inconsistency or favoritism.

Remember to call on them, as well as other players, from time to time with thoughts about what they accomplished in practice to end the day.

Pair them up, or put them in a strong leadership group that can help with any issues they may be having.

We often shy away from allowing this type of player an opportunity to speak in front of the team, unsure of what they might say. How about calling on them and showing we have confidence and value their opinion as much as anyone on the team.

You may want to put them in a leadership role (as well as other players) for a day to see what it’s like. They may gain an appreciation for what you do, and see firsthand that it’s not easy taking care of so many players and viewpoints.

Another reason behind the skeptical attitude may be boredom. They may not see the justification or reasoning for many repetitions of a particular skill or play. Explaining the “why” and how it will help them and the team may be all they need.

Just because they’re skeptical in the beginning doesn’t mean they need to be their whole career. Keep working to break down that barrier, it will be worth it.

I wish you and your team the best.