Over 29 years of coaching high school sports, my husband had parents come to him with complaints every single season. The complaints varied from “Why isn’t my child getting more playing time?” to “Practice is too long!
He listened to every parent and tried to resolve each issue, but as every coach knows, it’s impossible to please every parent. However, many of the conversations did have good outcomes because the parents knew how to approach the coaches in a productive and calm way.
Here are some pointers to remember when you want to complain to the coach.
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1. Don’t do it; let your child to the talking.
If your child is frustrated, encourage them to do the talking. You can coach them through the conversation before it happens, just so they know how to approach it. You can even go with them to talk to the coach, but only as an observer.
If you feel you must complain to the coach, then keep reading…
2. Approach the coach with the goal of learning, not accusing.
Asking open-ended questions and listening to the coach is a great starting point. When you go in with that attitude, you will already have gotten his attention. Whereas, if you go in with accusations, you will put him on the defensive and someone on the defense is not usually open to resolution.
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3. Express that you want what’s best for your child and the team.
Of course, your first concern is your child, but your child’s coach has to do what’s best for everyone on the team, not just for your child. Let him know that you understand that and you want to deal with the issue in a way that benefits both your child and their teammates.
Are you the parent of a youth, middle school or high school football player who’s looking for more tips or resources? Check out our Parent Guide, Parents 101 course, nutritious recipes and more.
4. The coach is not there to make you happy.
He or she is there to develop players 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.
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5. Coaches are human too.
They get grumpy, tired and frustrated – just like you do. They make mistakes, forget things and are still learning - just like you are. Try a little kindness, understanding and respect. It will go a long way.