How do you deal with a team member who thrives on negative attention? I'm an engineer and have always had great respect for teachers. After my first season of FLL a few years ago, I decided that I could never be a teacher. 3 hours each weekend took it all out of me. I couldn't imagine working in an environment like that full time! And for the most part, my teams have had really good kids who listen and like to learn. Again this year, I have a good set of kids. One of them, though, likes to push the boundaries of acceptable behavior just a little too far and seems to thrive on the attention it brings him. He struggles with anger management, as well.
I coached him last year and was hesitant to including him on the team this year. I did work with him individually last year and I could see him grow throughout the season. While this is a Good Thing, it also took time and energy away from the rest of the team (which in my mind, is not fair to everyone else).
I have talked with him and his parents about the upcoming season. We've discussed specific incidents from last year and expectations for this year. While this is a good start, I know that a 30 minute conversation is not going change who he is. And I'm not looking forward to being a coach who continually watching out and correcting behavioral issues and refereeing interactions.
So what strategies do other coaches employ to deal with disruptive team members like this? Any and all ideas are appreciated.
John J. Barrett
Industrial Medium Software, Inc.
1616 Anderson Road
McLean, VA 22102