When it's appropriate to confront the coach

By Janis Meredith | Posted 11/14/2018

There is a time and a place for everything. Even though I’ve been a strong proponent of parents not fighting their kids’ battles by complaining to the coach, there are actually some very good reasons that you should confront the coach.

Your child is hurt

Unless your child has been cleared by a doctor after an injury or severe illness, he should not be playing. Every coach should know that. But if your child’s coach is willing to skirt the rules and give in to a child’s plea to let him play, it’s time for you to step in.

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And how about if your child came out of the game seemingly injured and then begs to go back in and there’s no doctor around to clear them? If you observe they can barely walk, if they show other signs of being in pain or if you fear they may have suffered a concussion, then they most certainly should not go back in. If the coach doesn’t see that, it’s time for you to pull the parent card.

Your child is being hurt

If your child is being bullied or is suffering emotionally for any other reason, perhaps it’s time for a conversation with the coach to seek answers and ask for their assistance in helping your child. Or maybe your child is going through something difficult at home and you want the coach to be on the lookout for, and understand, behavioral changes.

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This is not about your child’s feelings being hurt because they aren’t playing enough or can’t play the position they want.

The coach is a sorry role model

There are many ways for a coach to exhibit a lack of integrity to his players: exhibiting low morals, treating players disrespectfully, being dishonest, making the development and care of his players secondary to winning. These are the most glaring infractions. And when you step in to voice your concern of a coach showing a lack of integrity, you are not being a helicopter parent, you are being a responsible parent.

Being picky about who your kids spend a lot of time with is good parenting. And if you see the coach setting a bad example to the players on your child’s team, it is time for you to have a private parent-coach conversation. If the coach is receptive and changes, then great. But if they get defensive and refuse to work on their behavior, then it’s time to move on to a new team after the season is over or take your concerns to a higher authority.

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Coaching youth sports is not just about how well you know the sport, it is about developing the skills and the character of kids.

Parents, there is a time to speak up and that is when the safety and well-being of your child is at stake.

Janis B. Meredith is a parenting coach. She provides resources to help parents raise champions. Learn more about how she can help parents Raise Champions.