Hey Coach

Things to Remember Before Speaking with the Coach

Being a parent is hard.  There is no guidebook and as our kids get older it only gets harder. While some things, like parent-teacher conferences are laid out for you.  There are many we have to guess at.  One question we hear a lot is “How do I know when to talk to my child’s coach?”

Speaking to a coach can seem intimidating but it can also feel like confrontation and no one likes confrontation.

Every parent on the sidelines wants what is best for their athlete. Luckily, most coaches have the same goal in mind.   Still there are times when you might doubt it.

It may be tempting to call foul on the coach, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you blow the whistle.

Before Speaking to the Coach:

  1. Let your child do the talking - If the concern is a frustration your athlete has, then they should address the situation. You can speak with them before they take it to the coach, but allow them to express their athletic frustrations. The coach will most likely  be willing to help.
  2. Keep the focus - This is about your kid, but it’s also about the team and coaches are juggling both everyday. Athletes and parents alike should demonstrate good sportsmanship. When approaching the coach, do not make it personal. Keep the focus on your kid and be honest about your frustrations towards what can be controlled. Remember, however, the coach has a team full of other kids and concerned parents.
  3. Approach with the goal of learning, not accusing - Accusations will not quickly lead to resolution. Open-ended questions and patience between both parties will result in a compromising solution for everyone. While you may know what is best for your child, their coach also has their best interest in mind. Experts in their sports, they are knowledgeable educators to the team. Don’t try to accuse and teach but listen and learn!
  4. There is no “I” in Team: The coach is not there to make you happy. The coach is there to develop player’s skills and abilities and teach them a love for the game. Their goal is not to placate parents. A good coach cares for each player as an individual, but they also have to keep the entire team in mind. Sometimes, what’s best for the team may not be what you think is best for your child.
  5. Remember, the coach is human too!- They may know the game inside and out and know each of their players names by heart but even coaches make mistakes. They get frustrated, grumpy and make up bad plays. Patience and mutual respect are key. Maybe an extra granola bar for the coach at the next practices, too.
  6. Take a day - In the end one of the best tips is to take a day.  Don’t approach the coach after a practice or game in which you experience frustration. Wait a day, take a breath and see if the issue is worth discussing the next day.

Striking Out-

Keeping in Mind How Not to Approach the Coach:

  1. Don’t ambush the coach - Parent committees find comfort in numbers. While there may be many of you, there is only one coach. Set up a meeting date and time and possible representatives to keep the conversation smooth and focused.
  2. Don’t make it personal - It's about the team and your athlete.
  3. Don’t compare your player to another - This may hurt the players feelings but also the coaches. The coach feels they may be making the best tactical decisions based on individual skills. Trust the coach. Don’t get others involved. Keep the conversation focused.
  4. Do not question tactical coaching decisions - Again, these are experts in their sport! They know what they are doing and could use your support as much as your athlete.

Every parent feels concern and wishes the best for their kid. Coaches also want the best for each individual while working on the team to be the best unit. You have the right to speak your mind and express your concerns to any of your children’s coaches or teachers.  You invest in your child’s sports and education, waking up Saturday and Sunday mornings to cheer them on. Remember, the coach is there those Saturdays and Sundays too, perhaps earlier than you!

Teamwork isn’t only for the kids on the field, but for the adults on the sideline as well.