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Kids' Sports & Activities Kids' Sports & Activities

Dealing with a Difficult Coach

Posted by on Jul. 20, 2011 at 12:00 AM
  • 25 Replies

Many parents volunteer to coach their child's team. Most of the time, you have great coaches, but occasionally, you may end up with a coach that takes the sport a little too seriously. Maybe the coach yells, Maybe he berates the team. There might even be some humiliation that occurs. Or the coach is a dictator. There can be all types of difficulty, but one thing is clear - your child isn't enjoying the sport and the fault can be laid directly at the coach. What are your responsibilities and choices?

  • Talk to the other parents - Ask around - are other families encountering the same areas of concern? Odds are, you aren't the only parent whose child is experiencing difficulties. Maybe another family has experience with this coach and can help allay your concerns.Sometimes just knowing that others are dissatisfied helps to make an uncomfortable situation more bearable.
  • Talk to the coach - Open the lines of communication. It's possible that the coach doesn't know that he's coming across in a bullying manner. Speak up and share your feelings with the coach.
  • Talk to your child - It's also possible that your child is being overly sensitive, especially if other athletes aren't reporting difficulty. It's never too early for a child to learn that there are all types of people in the world and not everyone is going to love them. Learning to get along with a more difficulty personality is a valuable skill that will serve your child well in life. 
  • Offer to help - Is the coach overwhelmed? Are there too many team players and not enough supervision? "Put your money where your mouth is", so to speak, and volunteer to help the coach. Demonstrating the appropriate behavior while on the playing field can be the guidance that a coach may need.
  • If necessary, speak to the person in authority above the coach - If you've followed all of the above recommendations and you still see actions and attitudes that worry you, maybe it's time to talk to the board of directors or other authority over your coach. Many times a coach isn't open to correction from a parent but the desired behavior is quickly seen when the boss is informed.
  • As a last resort, pull your child from the team - Sometimes, despite your best intentions and all of the promises in the world, the coach just isn't a good fit for your family. It may in fact come to a time that your child would be harmed by continuing to be on the team. Transferring to another team with a more accommodating coach or better team practices could solve your troubles. If you drop from one team after a certain length of time, though, be prepared that your athlete may have to sit out the season and resume the sport the enxt season. That's not always a bad thing.

What are some ways that you've dealt with a mean, negative or in other ways difficult coach?

by on Jul. 20, 2011 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
nngmommy83
by on Jul. 20, 2011 at 12:37 PM

These are some great suggestions!

We have been very lucky and haven't had to deal with a mean coach so far =)

Jess1231
by on Jul. 20, 2011 at 1:17 PM
I agree, great suggestions. I haven't dealt with one yet.
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Barabell
by Barbara on Jul. 20, 2011 at 1:21 PM

My son has had a few bad experience with coaches. With the last one, we decided to step away from that association because I think it was systemic to the whole organization.

natesmom1228
by on Jul. 20, 2011 at 2:17 PM

I honestly haven't dealt with this. My sons fencing coach can be quick and abrupt sometimes, but that is just the way he is. He is a great coach and I am so thankful for the confidence and self esteem that fencing gives my son.

mumsy2three
by Shauna on Jul. 20, 2011 at 2:39 PM

These are great suggestions. I haven't had to deal with a bad coach yet.

momtoabackc
by on Jul. 20, 2011 at 3:22 PM

This is great. I made a post weeks ago about volunteer dad coaches. I had a conversation with some on facebook about it who didn't think dads should be able to coach. I disagreed with them, because I think it's necessary. I think dad coaches get a bad name because of a bad few here and there. Knowing how to deal with situations of bad coaches with pointers like those in this article could  be hugely beneficial in helping to turn around attitudes about dad coaches too.

MommyWeston
by on Jul. 20, 2011 at 3:29 PM

 My oldest son has had a hockey coach who had a kid on the team. If his kid was not working hard enough or just having a bad game, he would continueit play him where as if any other kid on the team was having a day like that they would be benched for the rest of the game. Also if a player showed up late for a game they would be benched for the 1st period. One game his kid was late since he came to the game from a friend's house and his dad did not bench him.

jen113000
by Jenna on Jul. 20, 2011 at 5:11 PM
Definitely great suggestions! We've luckily haven't had to deal with a bad coach with the boys. One of my old coaches was a screamer when things went wrong. It didn't always make us feel good. But he would later apoligize. I do think he was just too caught in the moment of things when he would react and was learning to get better. I don't remember any parents talking to him but maybe they did.
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countrymomma81
by soccermom on Jul. 20, 2011 at 6:24 PM

We've been blessed with great coaches so far. We haven't really had to deal with things like that. 

countrymomma81
by soccermom on Jul. 20, 2011 at 6:27 PM

When my husband coached soccer, he was a great coach, and it didn't matter that our son was on his team. My husband ended up getting so attached to his team that even after our son moved up in age groups, my husband still coached that same team. This Spring he decided to referee instead of coach. He had 3 parents tell him that if he wasn't coaching that their kids didn't want to play. He felt bad, but at the same time, it felt good to him. Hell, my husband's even been able to umpire/referee his own kids during some games and was still able to be fair about it. He gets commended all the time about that. 

Quoting momtoabackc:

This is great. I made a post weeks ago about volunteer dad coaches. I had a conversation with some on facebook about it who didn't think dads should be able to coach. I disagreed with them, because I think it's necessary. I think dad coaches get a bad name because of a bad few here and there. Knowing how to deal with situations of bad coaches with pointers like those in this article could  be hugely beneficial in helping to turn around attitudes about dad coaches too.


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