The more you understand the coach your child is playing for, the better the season will be for both of you. Once you’ve found a good coach, take some time before the season to ask a few questions. Coaches shouldn’t mind your inquiries at any parent meetings or in a one-on-one conversation.
Question #1: Why did you become a coach?
The answer to this question will help you understand the struggles they’ll face. If a person decides to coach just because his kid is playing, he may struggle with objectivity. Hopefully, he is also coaching because he loves and knows the game.
Question #2: What is your philosophy on playing time?
Ask the coach to specifically explain his playing time philosophy. Don’t settle for the vagueness of “We try to play the best and still get everyone in the game.” Ask for a more detailed explanation.
You may hear, “We play to win, so the best will play and if we can we will get everyone in the game. But I cannot make promises.” Or, “We want to win, but we believe every player should get equal playing time and we make a concerted effort to see that this happens.”
Now you know—even if you don’t agree—what to expect.
Question #3: What are the policies on absence and tardiness for practices and games?
This is important information to know because the coach will be expecting your child to follow the rules that they set. If your child violates that policy, you know how he will be held accountable.
Question #4: Do any of the coaches have first-aid training? Are any trained to know the signs and symptoms of concussion?
Don’t assume that the coaches are all knowledgeable and prepared on all aspects of the game; they may be last-minute volunteers just like you. Insist that someone on the staff have proper first-aid training, for the sake of all players and coaches.
Question #5: What are the team’s emergency medical plans and procedures?
As the first step of injury prevention, coaches should be teaching athletes how to properly warm up. However, injuries and medical emergencies do occur. Is your child’s coach prepared if they do? Coaches should have a properly stocked first-aid kit at all practices and games, as well as a designated person to call 911 if need be. Furthermore, has the coach considered having an AED (automatic external defibrillator) on site or nearby for cardiac emergency? More and more schools and youth sports programs are providing one.
Question #6: What is your philosophy on kids playing after they get hurt?
Will your child’s coach promise to always put a child’s safety ahead of winning? Believe it or not, there are coaches who are so bent on success that they may be willing to risk the health of a player for a win. For instance, asking a star QB to go back in the game even though there are clear signs of concussion. For that reason, it’s important to inquire ahead of time about this issue.
If you shy away from asking a lot of questions because you may assume you already know the answers, DON’T. When it comes to the well being and health of your child, it is your duty to ask the important and hard questions.
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.