As a parent, watching your child play sports can be a source of joy and pride. However, when your child’s coach is constantly yelling it can be concerning.
I think it is critical to first recognize not just how loud the communication is but what is being said and why!!
Many coaches come from an area where respect and character were built on the playing fields of battle and were delivered in a very loud but motivating way. Especially on the football field!! But one key to determining the effectiveness of a coach that yells or maybe loud is to determine whether the style of communication benefits the players!! All players respond and learn in different ways, I find that good coaches adapt a style of communication that is beneficial to, at least, the majority of players on their team. As a coach, it is hard to please everyone as some players like to be pushed hard and driven with a military style of communication where other players may learn under a very moderate approach.
I believe it is very important as a parent that you do your homework, especially picking a travel or club team on the character and style of the coach to whom you are entrusting your child. The question should be “Is that the coach’s style or approach made to build and motivate players in a positive way or is it an approach that is degrading and uses negative language that produces fear or anxiety.”
It is important to distinguish between constructive criticism and abusive behavior. If the coach’s style of yelling is causing your daughter to feel intimidated or scared, then it is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Here are some steps you can take to approach the coach about their behavior:
- Before approaching the coach, it is important to take the time to observe their behavior during games and practices. Try to be objective and pay attention to how the coach interacts with the players. Is the coach’s yelling constructive, or is it abusive? Does the coach show favoritism towards certain players? Take note of any patterns you observe, as this information will be helpful when you speak with the coach.
- Schedule a meeting: Once you have observed the coach’s behavior and determined that it is a problem, schedule a meeting with the coach to discuss your concerns. Make sure that your daughter is present, if possible, for the meeting so that she can also express her feelings about the coach’s behavior. Be respectful and avoid attacking the coach, as this will only make the situation worse. Instead, approach the conversation from a place of concern and express that you want to work together to create a positive experience for your daughter and the team.
- Your Goal for approaching the coach should always be to improve communication between you, the coach, and your child. This is not a conversation about your child’s playing time. By expressing your concerns, you may be able to open a dialogue with the coach about their coaching style which may help improve the coach’s behavior, plus can have a positive impact not just on your child but the entire team. A coach who is more positive and supportive can help improve your child’s confidence, motivation, and overall well-being.
Now approaching some coaches may cause a potential conflict.
If the coach is defensive or unwilling to change their behavior, it may cause tension between you and the coach and it may also have an impact on your child’s playing time. If the coach feels that you are interfering with their coaching style or causing conflict, they may limit your child’s playing time.
Here are some Tips for Approaching a Coach
Choose the Right Time and Place
When approaching a coach, it is important to choose the right time and place. Always try and avoid a conflict with a coach and never ever do it in front of other team members!
Avoid confronting the coach during or immediately after a game or practice. Instead, schedule a meeting with the coach at a mutually convenient time and place.
Stay Calm and Respectful
When speaking with the coach, it is important to stay calm and respectful. Avoid using accusatory language or becoming defensive. Instead, express your concerns in a calm and respectful manner.
Focus on Your Child’s Needs
When speaking with the coach, focus on your child’s needs. Express your concerns about how the coach’s behavior is affecting your child’s confidence, motivation, or overall well-being, and try and leave other players’ or families’ names out of the conversation.
Instead of only expressing your concerns, offer solutions. For example, you could suggest that the coach try using more positive language or provide more feedback to players.
Perhaps ask yourself this question before you confront your child’s coach: if someone came to me with a problem, how would I respond? What would I instantly dismiss? If the goal of your confrontation is to do what is best for your child, then a truly effective conversation is your only choice.
After speaking with the coach, follow up with them to see if any changes have been made. If the coach has made changes, thank them for their efforts. If not, consider speaking with the coach again or escalating the issue to a higher authority.
Approaching a coach who yells a lot can be a challenging situation. While there are pros and cons to speaking with the coach, it is important to focus on your child’s needs and well-being. By approaching the coach in a respectful and constructive manner, you may be able to improve the coach’s behavior and create a more positive team environment for all the players.
In conclusion, I’ve been reminded of this over and over throughout all my decades of both being a parent and a coach by people close to me, that some of the insults, attacks, and abuse that I received from many parents caused me much frustration and gave me that feeling of not being appreciated. As a dedicated coach who truly wants what is best for my players, I learned to appreciate and understand that parents are always just trying to look out for what’s best for their children, and in the end, it’s always about creating lifelong memories. As parents and coaches, let us remember that is what it is all about!
See ya at the park!!
Coach Tim Wampler