If your child has played for a team that suffered through youth sports coaching drama, then you know just how frustrating it can be.
Any of these sound familiar?
- The coaches don’t get along with each other
- The head coach fires assistants who know more about the sport than he does
- The coaches have no control over the team and the result is disunity among team mates
- The coaches honestly seem like they don’t know what the heck they are doing
- The coaches play favorites, giving into the ugly political side of youth sports
I’m sure you can name more frustrating scenarios. And if you haven’t encountered any of this, you are indeed lucky! If your child plays school and/or travel ball for any length of time, youth sports coaching upheavals are unfortunately inevitable.
What should your response be when this happens on your child’s team?
Focus on Supporting the Team
I once knew a team that lost the assistant coaches because the head coach was dictatorial and very limited in coaching knowledge. The coaches that were basically forced out, also happened to be parents to one of the players. Their response, while disagreeing with the coach’s methods and actions, was to be at every game, help the team by keeping stats, and be loud supporters and encouragers of the team.
Their goal was to encourage and build up the team, even as the athletes suffered through a weak coaching staff.
If your child’s coaches are less than ideal, then focus on supporting the athletes and hold on to the fact that the season will not last forever.
Respectfully Take Your Concerns to Proper Authorities
It is always a good idea to get several parents in on the confrontations so it doesn’t appear as if it’s just one parent’s personal crusade. Remember when you confront to present arguments clearly and calmly. Ranting really does not strengthen your case.
Generally, the chain of confrontations should go as follows:
- Approach the coach with your concerns first; give him a chance to explain and resolve the situation
- If the situation doesn’t improve, take it to the athletic director
- If that doesn’t help, request a meeting with the principal
- If that doesn’t bring resolution and you want to continue the fight, ask for a hearing with the school board
Sometimes it’s better to wait until the season is over to go through all these channels, unless you’ve got a qualified, willing replacement that could step up for the job if the coach gets fired. Otherwise, the team will suffer the most.
Keep from Adding to the Drama
Although the coaches may be creating the drama, it is often the parents who enflame it. They gather in sympathy groups before and after games. They rant at home and fill their kid’s minds with negativity that does not in any way help the player’s attitude or performance. Be a positive voice and don’t make a bad situation worse.
Always Keep the End Goal in Mind
As your child suffers through coaching drama, remember that even this difficult situation can be a learning experience for him. All difficult situations are rich soil for character development. Even in this tough environment, your child can learn:
- To support his team mates regardless of the coaches
- To respect authority even if he doesn’t agree
- To keep doing his own personal best no matter if the team struggles
The end goal of youth sports–whether your child hopes to play in college or not–should be the type of person your child becomes in the process. Someday, your child will be done with sports and what will be left? Hopefully he’s developed strong character as a result.
Coaching Drama Provides Another Opportunity
As if you didn’t already have enough challenges as a parent, your child’s coaching upheavals provide you with another opportunity to model how to get along with people, how to resolve conflict and how to treat others with respect. The question is, are you taking advantage of this opportunity?
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