Stop the “Mom” Drama

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I already know this is going to be a controversial topic. There will be women commenting that it’s not them who gossip about other people’s kids, other parents on the team, or coaches, and I know it’s probably not most moms.

But there is a segment of the sports-mom population that causes drama. We know who they are. Have I ever caused drama? I can admit that, YES…I have.

Admitting it is the first step in curing yourself of the “gossip disease”. Just take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I have been a ‘Drama Mama’, but I will no more.” There…you see…it’s easier than you thought.

Why do you think women are more prone to gossiping than men? I really don’t think I’m being sexist by asking that, I just think it’s more of a thing with women. Most men tend to be more direct when talking about things, and dads have their own drama around sports that’s totally different, and will be for another blog post.

According to this article in Psychology Today, women DO gossip more and the reason seems to be that gossiping is a form of aggression that women just use more than men. The studies back this up.

Gossiping is a problem in many areas of life, but kids’ sports seems to bring out some nasty vitriol from moms AND dads. But some moms seem to take it to a new level with talking about the performance of other kids on the team and that’s when it becomes a problem. 

We even had a mom once who was saying racist stuff about a couple of the families on our team, behind their backs, and she had to be stopped. Sometimes coaches get involved but other parents can do a lot to put an end to that kind of trash talking by calling out the bad behavior when it happens.

Who gossips to you, will gossip of you ~ Turkish Proverb

I’ve also heard moms whispering about how so-and-so doesn’t pay as much for their fees and this other person doesn’t volunteer to do anything. Things like this are best addressed by setting a good example in what you do as a parent and as a team member. Seeing other people who are acting appropriately might help them see the error of their ways.  And if it doesn’t, well so be it. After all, you can only control what you do, right?

Having harmony on a team is a wonderful thing and the teams we have been a part of had that for long periods of time. Those were awesome experiences. We were like a family and many of us are still friends long after the team had its final games. We all respect each other and adore each other’s kids and frankly, anything I have to say about them I could say to their faces. The ones I don’t care for, I just don’t stay in touch with. It’s that simple.

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Now that I have high-schoolers playing sports, things are different. We’re not on a travel team anymore so we’re spending a lot of time with the other parents. I still hear gossiping and it’s a private school, so mostly it’s about who gets playing time because of a belief that the athletic department is influenced by money. It’s still gossip though, and I am staying away from it.

I hate to sound all “preachy”, but I really want to help those new sports moms who are just starting out with a new team and new people, to be able to navigate it all with more knowledge and information than I had.

My resolution for 2019 is to relax and enjoy the ride of my last few years of sports with my boys and be the most positive influence I can be. It’s going to be so sad when it’s over and I don’t want to look back with any regrets that I was a Yapping Yenta.

If you enjoyed reading this, you might also enjoy my article, “Are you an Overbearing Baseball Mom?”


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One Comment

  1. Scott Michael Allen

    The culture around a program is so very important. Much of it starts with the coach. Some coaches can be too silent. They build a barrier with comments like, “I will take care of things on the field…the rest of it is up to you (parent/parent group). This is a weak leadership approach that will breed a me/mine culture. Gossip is an attribute of a me/mine culture.

    Confident and capable coaches view the concerns of parents and players as teachable moments. The job of a coach is to develop strong young men/women while advancing their athletic skills. Establishing that with a rule set that supports it properly can make all the difference in the world. Here are a few policies that can work to your advantage:

    1. Be open. Understand that players and parents will have opinions and concerns. Let them know that you are willing to discuss them in a player/parent/coach conversation. Be the adult in these conversations at all times.

    2. Once a player reaches about 12 years of age, begin to treat them like the young adults that they are becoming. If they have a concern, let them raise it to you in front of their parents. Address the player with as much fact as possible. Be pragmatic and kind. Be supportive…build the player up to their potential by recognizing how close they are to their goals. If they are not close…be honest in a way that inspires them to achieve.

    3. Use practice to show that you are giving the player the opportunity to pursue their immediate goal and showcase their improvement. Be very intentional about this. It is ok to let the whole team know the player is goal orientated. If handled properly it will inspire other players that are physically gifted but short on work ethic to get busy too. In the end, the team unit will get stronger.

    4. Use game situations to your advantage. Ahead by ten? Shake up the line-up a bit. Down by ten? Shake up the line-up.

    5. Schedule Friendly games. Use these to develop the back end of your pitching depth and positional diversity. Tell the parents what a win looks like. A win does not have to be defined only by the scoreboard. A win can be the six player in the pitching rotation throwing 4 innings of 1 run ball. A win can be the third string first baseman handling an entire game error free. A win can be whatever you define it to be.

    6. Manage the parents too. If they get out of hand…step in and manage it properly. If they are disrespectful or confrontational…handle that too. If they are not contributing to the team with behavioral characteristics that you want associated with your program…no matter how good the player is…be strong enough to do the right thing. That may include outright dismissal from the team. This too should be handled in a player/parent/coach format. If the player understands that his life was impacted by the fact that his parent can’t be an adult…it will shape him as a person the right way.

    7. Manage the parents II. Players have a lot of stress to deal with. One thing that makes it worse is hearing 5 people at once tell him what he is doing wrong or what he has to do better. We use a “Performance Statement” approach. The player tells us what he wants to hear as he is stepping into the box or toeing the rubber. It is his statement. It is short. It is something that they have selected that will give them the energy they need to succeed. We write these down for our parents on a cue card. When the player is in a tense moment…all of the parents will encourage him using that specific performance statement. This reinforces that the entire parent community of the team is behind him and wants him to succeed. It gives him confidence rooted in love. Try it…it works!

    I have only a few simple rules for our families that guide our program.

    1. Run a program nobody wants to leave and everybody wants to join.
    2. Be your players biggest fan and every other players second biggest fan.
    3. Trust our process and understand that we want the best for each player in the team construct.

    For the players
    1. Train harder and smarter than everybody you see around you…and have fun.
    2. Be a warrior…and have fun.
    3. Be smart…and have fun.
    4. Be committed…and have fun.
    5. Be accountable to yourself and the team…and have fun.
    6. Be supportive of your teammates…and have fun.
    7. Have fun!!!

    We have won plenty of games and tournaments…but our real championship is being won by developing the character of our players. They are good young men that will become great men in their own right. I can’t wait to meet all of them 20 years from now!

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