Sooner or later, every youth sports parent sees their child play for a coach that they don’t agree with — whether it’s about playing time, game strategy, position choices, or coaching demeanor.
When you find yourself in that frustrating spot, you can choose to react in several ways: stir up sympathy groups, feed your child’s discontent, vent to the coach, hold in your frustrations until you explode on someone, or you can look for a way to turn the season into a positive experience. Truthfully, you do not need to see eye-to-eye with a coach in order for your child to have a great experience in youth sports.
Getting along with your child’s coach when you don’t agree should mean maintaining a peaceful co-existence and an effort to exhibit whole-hearted support. The next time you and your child’s coach are simply not on the same page, here’s a few suggestions for getting along despite your differences.
Look for things you do agree on. Obviously, you should both agree that the safety and well-being of the kids come first. You should both agree that youth sports can teach important life lessons to kids. And, finally, you’ll both agree that youth sports should be a fun experience, even when it’s challenging. If your child has a coach that holds these beliefs, then you agree on the most important things, so no need to nitpick at the smaller ones.
Recognize the coach’s insight. Your child’s coach spends hours with the team and knows their abilities, tendencies, weaknesses, and strengths — even if you don’t realize it. He sees how they work together each and every practice or game, so give the coach credit for knowing his team well enough to do all that he can to help them succeed.
Seek to understand. Sometimes we forget that coaches have lives outside of the gym or off the field. They have marriages, jobs, kids, and bills to pay too, just like you. Although parents should not excuse bad behavior, they should remember that coaches are humans too. They get distracted, carry burdens, and feel discouraged — don’t take it out on them for one decision.
Let coach do her job. Unless the coach is doing something that compromises the safety or well-being of your child, let her do the job without your opinions and insights. Do you like to be micro-managed in your job or have co-workers that express their opinions about everything you do? No?
Well, neither does your child’s coach.
In the end, your child will have a better season if he is not distracted by your issues with his coach. If there is a question that truly concerns you, then meet with the coach one-on-one and seek to resolve the situation. You may never agree on everything, but you can still be on the same team when it comes to giving kids a positive youth sports experience.