Guilt tripping sports coach - AIBU to be annoyed

(76 Posts)
FrangipaniDeLaSqueegeeMop Thu 22-Jul-21 09:57:26

DD (9) plays a sport for a local league team. She started a few months ago and training and matches carry on in the summer holidays. We attend all the training and matches we possibly can and even make re-arrangements if I've got plans. But it's the summer holidays now, some weeks she's at her dad's and we have a few staycations booked too. Meaning I, and others, have had to turn down attending these events.

The coach is lovely and I understand he volunteers his time, and I understand the worth of volunteers like him. I know the sport wouldn't operate if he didn't put the effort in. But we are constantly guilt tripped and berated for not attending matches. In the WhatsApp group he always says how disappointed he is, how "this is the third match that hasn't taken place because people can't make it, not really good enough guys" and always talks about what great lengths he's gone to to secure these matches only to cancel them, and how that is a waste of his time.

It's starting to bug me. Like me, other people have plans over the summer and I don't want to teach him how to such eggs but he can't be surprised when people are busy! WIBU to suggest maybe people give him their available dates over the summer and he go form there, rather than finding out after that people can't make it? Or is that really condescending?

OP’s posts: |
LizziesTwin Thu 22-Jul-21 10:00:02

In my experience children’s sports leagues stop in the summer as children have no agency - each family goes away/does daytrips depending on the parents’ work commitments so trying to get teams together just doesn’t work.

edwinbear Thu 22-Jul-21 10:27:47

I think it depends on the sport really. DS is an athlete, competing for a high level club and it's acknowledged that summer is peak season for athletics, so he is expected to train and compete throughout the summer. Swimming and gymnastics are similar in that when DD started gymnastics, it was made clear that they trained 52 weeks a year and if we couldn't commit to that, DD should continue with 'fun' gymnastics rather than squad.

DS's athletics coach gives us meet dates at the beginning of each season and we work our family commitments/holidays around that.

MattHancocksSexTape Thu 22-Jul-21 10:30:31

I’d recommend he creates a doodle poll - send it round to all the players to mark their availability over the summer and then he can arrange fixtures based on that.

AuntieStella Thu 22-Jul-21 10:36:30

If it's a summer sport, like cricket or athletics, then the club does need enough people around to field teams during the competitions n season.

I can see his point - it must be amazingly frustrating to miss the tournament season because it's not just sone of the squad who are away (that's allowed for) but enough that sending the normal complement isn't possible.

Yes it uses up good will and makes future fixtures harder to arrange - if you were another club and setting up a match, how much effort would you out in to the club who kept cancelling?

The coach is sending a reminder that Club is a competitive one, and they want squad available to compete.

Are there others to choose from locally if you and DD prefer a more recreational one?

edwinbear Thu 22-Jul-21 10:41:43

@AuntieStella makes a good point, in that if there is a squad, having one or two off for a particular event is not problematic. We had a couple of athletes unavailable for a our last meet, which gave some of the 'B' team, an opportunity to compete at 'A' team level which was great. However, if we'd had lots of children unavailable and we'd not been able to attend, we'd have lost our ranking in the league, putting us at risk of being downgraded to division 2 next season - which affects our ability to attract talent.

LolaSmiles Thu 22-Jul-21 10:42:35

I understand his point of view. He is spending time nurturing and developing a team only for enough of the team to not turn up for matches. It sounds like a lot of the team are happy to do training/matches but as soon as a better offer comes in they drop it.

I'd also imagine parents would be quick to complain if there weren't fixtures in future because other clubs don't want to waste time making arrangements with a club who keep cancelling.

He needs to publish fixtures months in advance so parents can sign their children up (then honour the commitment) or go down the route of parents sharing their summer availability in April/May (and then there is an expectation that their children attend fixtures when they've been specifically organised around several people's plans).


LubaLuca Thu 22-Jul-21 10:49:56

The coach is just telling you that he's putting a lot of effort in but it's going to waste because of no-shows, and he's quite right to do that instead of staying silent and letting it happen to him again. He's surely not doing it to make anyone feel guilty, he just wants the team to play.

I think he might appreciate the offer of some help in organising an 'availability chart' or something along those lines. He could arrange fixtures on dates he knows he has more than enough children willing and able to turn up. Something in writing would encourage a bit more commitment from the players and their families too - if Jenny said she could play on August 8th, the expectation is that she will be there.

dancinfeet Thu 22-Jul-21 10:57:49

My serious dancers are training once a week through the summer as they have a performance next term, but we do allow for family holidays so most students expected to miss 1 or 2 sessions. We do not allow for people planning day trips or being 'otherwise busy' on the 1 day a week that they have dance, if they dont plan short day trips and events around their dance commitment then they need to move over to our recreational once a week programme and leave the serious commitments to the serious dancers. To be fair, they have all been very good about this, and the reward is being able to perform at events across the country, not just in the local church hall. Did you not think about this before joining a team? Maybe a more fun adhoc session might be more suitable for your DD?

starfishmummy Thu 22-Jul-21 10:59:09

I'm guessing that the team is in some sort of league or federation so organising the matches and then pulling out is going to reflect badly on the club - and they may find themselves with no other clubs willing to compete with them.

Perhaps it would be better if he just closes the group Co.pletely for the summer. But then there would be parents moaning about that, plus the kids becoming out of practice.

Coroico97 Thu 22-Jul-21 11:05:12

Agree maybe you need a less competitive club/team. My DD plays cricket. Has to be available all summer. Team picked the week before. If you are not available more than a few times you are dropped. It’s about commitment to the team. Sometimes it’s hard for the rest of the family but that’s how they know who is prepared to put the hours in.

ChicChaos Thu 22-Jul-21 11:13:04

DD (9) plays a sport for a local league team. She started a few months ago and training and matches carry on in the summer holidays.

I'm with the coach here, you knew that it would be taking time out of the summer holidays before your DD started it from what you've said here.

Mumdiva99 Thu 22-Jul-21 11:13:38

Is it football? They do tend to carry on over all the holidays - this was a shock to me as I was used to Hockey which stopped in April and started again in September!

I think when you have been there long enough it would be a nice suggestion to agree to help put a spreadsheet together of peoples holidays for him. But equally as someone upthread said - if they have once a week training - unless you are away it is good to try to be available for this, that's the commitment you have made.

KrisAkabusi Thu 22-Jul-21 11:27:59

I'm on the coaches side. It must be very frustrating for him to have to cancel events he's organised. Particularly if the opposition are prepared to turn up. Being part of a team comes with the responsibility of actually taking part in team activities. Your OP says some weeks she's at her dads and you have 'a few' staycations booked as well. Realistically, your daughter should not be part of a team for the summer as she's not going to be available. And if you haven't told the coach that she's not going to be around for the next two months, how is he supposed to know that she's not available for the next event he arranges? You should have told him that she's not available for selection.

Dontbeme Thu 22-Jul-21 11:49:04

I used to coach at the weekends and every week asked people on the way out if they would be attending the following week so I could prep for training. Every week they swore blind that yes they would be at training, every week I was lied to. One bank holiday weekend I asked in advance, will they be there if not I could close the club for the bank holiday weekend and go away for a short break, oh no can't close club we will be there, so in I wander me and other coach are there and nobody else turned up. Nobody, not one apologised, so I left the club, other coach walked a few weeks after me, so the club is shut and the members are moaning it's not fair. People have no clue or appreciation of the time and effort it takes to keep a club going, they don't care about wasting volunteers time, don't be that person OP.

tanstaafl Thu 22-Jul-21 12:06:51


In my experience children’s sports leagues stop in the summer as children have no agency - each family goes away/does daytrips depending on the parents’ work commitments so trying to get teams together just doesn’t work.

Yabu op, he’s volunteering his time.

Any schedule of availability is only as valuable to him as the parents honouring their commitment that Suzy will be there in 4 weeks time.

It sounds like the realistic answer is to put the team on hold for the summer.

araiwa Thu 22-Jul-21 12:09:44

Coach is absolutely right

MasterBeth Thu 22-Jul-21 12:09:54

The amount of time and dedication sports coaches put into small children playing games is both admirable and ridiculous. They are NINE!

All this shit about being “downgraded to Division 2 which affects our ability to attract talent.” Listen to yourselves! You’re a kids sports team, not fucking Barcelona!

tallduckandhandsome Thu 22-Jul-21 12:12:25

I think YABU. I hope he stops bothering.

Coroico97 Thu 22-Jul-21 12:13:40

And how do you think you actually get to BE Barcelona? By coaches putting in hours of effort and kids actually turning up.

FinallyHere Thu 22-Jul-21 12:14:00

The question @FrangipaniDeLaSqueegeeMop really comes down to how you would feel if the coach just stopped the activity?

If you would be OK with that, then crack on, thinking they are being unreasonable to expect support.

If you would prefer it to continue, a discussion between coach and parents about forward planing and calendar of availability needs to be had really quite urgently.

It's important that the expectations of coach, parents and coachees are all aligned.

Ragwort Thu 22-Jul-21 12:22:50

I agree with others, if you commit to a team you need to .... commit.

My DS plays cricket, of course most matches are during the summer and we would make sure he was available for training sessions and matches ... I am incredibly grateful to all the volunteers who put in hours and hours of time to coach sport. My DS managed to reach county level and now at Uni it has been a great bonding experience to be able to join a team and make new friends etc.

MyFartWillGoOn Thu 22-Jul-21 12:27:33

I'm new to clubs and in the next couple of years I'm sure I'll be in this position but I'm sort of surprised by the responses on here?

So does this mean that if you sign up to a weekend club, you aren't allowed a holiday over the summer as it will mean missing 1/2/3 weeks (depending on the day you depart and return).

I guess I sorry of assumed that as long you communicated with some degree of notice, it would be ok and perhaps there might be a team calendar for people to note holidays etc.

Of course the coach is volunteering and absolutely should be commended but surely it's normal to have holidays over the summer?

FrangipaniDeLaSqueegeeMop Thu 22-Jul-21 12:30:36

Ok I see people's point but these trips were booked way in advance of any matches being scheduled and no I'm not going to cancel our trip to Cornwall for an hour's practice.

I appreciate how shit it must be being the coach, but I do turn up whenever I can and I don't think DD should miss out just because me and her dad have split (training is usually a weekday, she only sees Ex EOW which is why I never sign them up to weekend clubs). I might call him and explain which weeks we are away and if he thinks it is too little of a commitment then I'll find another team for DD

OP’s posts: |
mumsiedarlingrevolta Thu 22-Jul-21 12:32:03

I'm also with the Coach here-if you commit to a summer sport then you need to be available.

This is why it is so hard to get volunteers for things

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