Conflicts with Coaches - MetroFamily Magazine
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Conflicts with Coaches

by Todd Parkin

When your child is involved in sports, it may be necessary, at some point, to confront a coach. These tips from author Todd Parkin will ensure that you don’t fumble the conversation:

  • Understand that it might be stressful. It may sound obvious, but people are often surprised by how stressful a tough conversation with a coach can be.
  • Include your child. If you feel the situation isn’t too serious, and you and your child are comfortable with it, let her handle it. If you think it’s best for you to approach the coach, get your child’s input so she doesn’t feel blind-sided.
  • Keep the focus on your child. Limit the conversation to issues that concern the well-being of your child. Avoid blaming and keep the focus where it belongs.
  • Walk a mile in the coach’s cleats. Make a sincere effort to understand his perspective. Try to listen as much as you speak.
  • Don’t be impulsive. Give the coach a chance to get to know your child before stepping in, and try not to speak up until you determine it’s either an unsafe situation or a pattern that won’t change without intervention.
  • Say no to gossip. It can be tempting to criticize the coach with other parents if others feel the same way. Resist this urge! You don’t want the coach to hear your complaints from someone else.
  • Schedule the conversation. Don’t assume the coach has time around practice or a game. Instead, let the coach know that you’d like to discuss something important, and ask her to suggest a good time.
  • Be polite. Remember, this is not an excuse to be aggressive or to attack; instead, think about what you’d like the ideal outcome to be, and tailor your words and actions to help achieve that end.
  • Offer solutions. A caring coach wants what’s best for your child too, and he’ll probably appreciate your advice if it is offered in a respectful manner.
  • If you have to turn in the jersey, do so respectfully. Don’t make a hasty decision, but if you feel that quitting the team is your only option, meet privately with the coach to explain why.

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