How to handle troublemakers

“I’m not having him, he’s trouble,” one of our coaches said to me last month. “He disrupts sessions and doesn’t turn up to matches.”

There are often players who need to be dealt with differently from the others, ones who cause problems and take much more of your time. It is difficult for the coaches who don’t have much experience to have this added to their workload.

The boy in question is a good player, but is prone to shouting and crying if he gets substituted or if he feels hard done by. The other coaches refused to take him, so despite him being more suited to the development level of the other teams, I said he could join my team as it’s a good chance to put my knowledge of dealing with disruptive kids into action.

Being bullied

After a couple of weeks his mother told me one of my players was bullying him and he didn’t want to come to training, but she pushed him into coming. I spoke with the players as a group about how feelings can be hurt and how each one of them was a big part of the team and that we should respect one another. Since then it hasn’t happened again.

The next problem came when he told me he wanted to play as striker. I explained to him how every player would be in different positions each week, so while he may be striker one week it he probably wouldn’t be the next.

Later his dad came over and spoke to me about the match that was coming up and how he knew his son wanted to play as striker. Again I explained the club policy and he was reassured that the boy would play striker in some games.

Not getting to games

One of the reasons he wasn’t wanted in some of the other teams was his problem of not getting to games. I spoke with the boy and his dad and I was reassured he would be there on match day. He even turned up on time and played so well in a midfield role that the other players voted him Man Of The Match.

I think he was surprised how he had been treated in the team and over the last few weeks he has been a revelation to me and to himself. His dad told me that prior to joining my team, he was usually sitting out the second half of matches as a punishment for his behaviour.

Sometimes it takes extra effort and rewards to deal with a disruptive child – this week he was first at training and the first to arrive at the match. I know the coaches that turned him away are looking on wishing they had kept him.

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