3 reasons it is OK not to like your child’s coach

By Janis Meredith | Posted 1/9/2017

Yes, you read the headline right.

You don’t have to like your child’s coach.

You don’t have to like the coach’s style, defensive strategy, or offensive game plan.

Sometimes a coach can simply rub you the wrong way and you may not even be able to pinpoint exactly why.

The good news, this is normal and OK.

You can still be a good parent and not like your child’s coach.

You may be asking yourself, how can this be? Here are three very good reasons why.

It’s OK to be different

American culture celebrates our individual differences, but that accepting tolerance often stops cold when your child has a coach whose offense or playing time strategy doesn’t make sense to you.

If you truly believe that our differences should be lauded, then let it start with you and your child’s coach. If you are convinced that diversity is a blessing, then don’t expect the coach to do things the way you would do them.

His coaching strategy is not right or wrong, it is simply different than yours.

If you want to teach your child that diversity is a positive thing, then start by showing them that different is OK, even if you don’t necessary like it.

You can respect the position without liking the person

This was a lesson my kids learned many times when they played for a coach they didn’t like. The conversation usually went like this:

Child: “I don’t like my coach."

Me: “Why not?”

Child: “Because…(fill in the blank with any number of reasons)”

Me: “I understand that you don’t like the way that your coach instructs the team and that’s OK. However, the coach is in a position of authority over you for now, although it is only temporary. You can respect that authority without liking their personality or how they run things.”

It’s a hard lesson for kids to learn when they are young. However, it is an important lesson to learn, and earlier in life is often better. One day in the near future, they will have a boss or a coworker they don’t like and they can lean on this experience to better navigate these difficult interactions. Remember, disagreement doesn’t have to disintegrate into dishonor.

It is a lesson that many have seemingly forgotten, you can agree to disagree in an agreeable manner.

Coaches don’t govern passion

There is no doubt that coaches can influence a child’s passion to play a sport. But with your encouragement and guidance, your child’s love for a sport does not have to be spoiled by an adult your child does not like.

When my kids came home frustrated with a coach, I always asked the question: “Why are you playing?”

The answers varied in details, but the underlying conclusion was that they were not playing to please a coach, they were playing for themselves or for their teammates.

In rare circumstances, if the dislike for a particular coach stems from a lack of integrity or questionable behavior by the coach, then you may want to consider speaking up. However, this should only be done only after serious reflection on the ramifications of your actions. Try to remember, the time your child will spend with any one particular youth coach will be temporary, and it helps to remind your child of this reality as well.

Ultimately, your child will leave that disagreeable coach behind, but you want their passion for the sport not to be negatively affected. Help your child understand that they are the only one who dictates their passion.

Today, my kids are 23, 26, and 29 years old. Each one works with at least one individual who they simply do not like, but the lessons learned when they were younger have prepared them well for life as an adult.


Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new book 11 Habits for Happy and Positive Sports Parents is on Amazon.