Breaking the News that Your Child is Not Playing

By Jon Buzby | Posted 2/1/2019

Sign-ups for spring sports are happening all over the country. Whether it’s flag football or another sport, if your child plays it and you haven’t signed them up, you might want to take care of that.

If your child has been on the same spring team for the past few years and suddenly isn’t planning to play again, regardless of the reason, it’s a good idea to let the coach know.

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Our son has decided not to play travel lacrosse this spring – he has played for the same coach for the past five seasons – and instead, return to the travel soccer team he played on for the first time this past fall. It was a choice he hinted at as the soccer season unfolded and he was clearly enjoying the experience, but we told him to wait until the spring season got closer before making a final decision. Then, when the email came announcing that registration for the lacrosse season was open, it was time to decide.

He has chosen to play soccer. As soon as we registered him for the soccer club, I sent an email to his now-former lacrosse head coach.

There wouldn’t have been any financial consequence if we didn’t let the lacrosse coach know of our son’s decision. However, as a coach myself, I’d want to know if a veteran player wasn’t returning. Even if I didn’t find out the reason, I’d want to know for planning purposes because in some cases, it might impact how a coach puts their team together.

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My son’s reason for not returning to lacrosse is simple: He now enjoys soccer more, both the sport itself and the fact that most of his closest friends are on his team. We shared that with his head lacrosse coach, and he was very appreciative that we let him know sooner rather than him finding out when he received the roster for the season.

“Be sure to tell him we wish him the best and we’ll miss him,” the head coach said. “And let him know that he always has an open invitation to the season-ending kickball game. He loved that more than any player I’ve ever coached.”

The coach’s reaction and response couldn’t have been any nicer.

Time will tell if my son’s lacrosse “career” is over, or if he might one day find his way back to the sport. Regardless, once he was sure of his decision not to play this season, letting his now-former head coach know was the right thing to do.

Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.