When one sports season ended badly for my son, I loaded up my verbal arsenal and sat down to write a toxic email to his coach. But the message never got further than my draft folder.
That’s happened to me a few times during my years as a sports parent. I’ve written an angry email, and then for one reason or another, I couldn’t quite summon the courage to push send.
Probably a good thing, too. There’s some very good reasons to let those angry emails sit eternally in your draft folder.
It could hurt your kid.
I kept waiting for the perfect time to send that email to my son’s coach. Not during the season, because the coach might take it out on him. Not when the season was over, because my son would see the coach in school and know that mom had lambasted him. Definitely an embarrassment.
The only good time to send it was after my son left the school, and by then, did it really matter anymore?
It really doesn’t change a thing.
Oh, you may feel a little better, but believe me, coaches get emails from disgruntled parents all the time; they’ve built up immunities.
My husband, a coach for 27 years, has gotten many emails from “concerned” parents. And quite honestly, none of them changed his coaching philosophy. Some coaches may make reassurances to pacify you, but your gripes are not going to change the way they coach. That’s just the way it is.
Reason #3 You are labeled. Whether you like it or not, you will put yourself out there as a whining, complaining parent. When coaches see an email from you in their inbox, they will be more apt to push delete rather than open. Do you really want to be known as “that parent”?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t write the email. It’s actually a good way for you to vent your frustration. Anger Coach Martin Hogg says,
“Always write angry letters, but never send them. Write letters where you rant and rave to your heart’s content, but this is just for you- so no sharing (not at first) and definitely no sending…ever. Other people find drawing or painting to be the way. I wonder how many artists came up with their best work when they were angry. Never be tempted to write emails when you are angry- they are far too easy to send and you can’t go running to the postbox to retreive it later! ”
But no matter how good it feels to write the email, it will not solve the problem you or your child is having with the coach. True confrontations should not be done by email.
Businessman and author Tim Berry says that people should not use email for arguments.
“Sure, you think you can make your point that way, clearly, without interruptions, going just one way. It feels something like the advantages of guerrilla warfare: get in quickly, deliver your carefully targeted blow, and then disappear.
But it doesn’t work. You don’t make that point. Instead, you inflame the argument with more incendiary textual sound and fury, without inflection to make it human. You make it worse.”
There are times when a parent should confront a coach, but not because of playing time or what position little Johnny is playing. Let your child fight those battles. Reserve coaching confrontations for moral issues.
And have the guts to do it face-to-face. The only person that benefits from writing I’m-gonna-tell-you-how-I-feel emails is you. Not your kid, not the coach.
And if that’s all it takes to vent your frustration, then write that scathing email and let it sit. And sit. And sit. And sit.
For further reading on dealing with anger….