When your child participates in organized sports, the coach is an important figure in both your child’s life and yours. As the person responsible for overseeing the sports experience, the coach plays an influential role. The way you communicate with your child’s coach can have a profound bearing on your child’s sporting experience, suggests Kendy Vierling, Ph.D., of the Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. Make sure you set an example of sportsmanlike and positive interaction for your child.
Choose your time and place wisely. If you have an important or delicate matter to discuss, call the coach to set up a meeting at a convenient time when you can meet privately. This ensures that the coach has time to devote to discussing what’s on your mind.
Approach the meeting with a calm and respectful demeanor. Be friendly and explain your concerns or thoughts with the coach. Avoid using a confrontational or angry tone as you speak with the coach, because this may put her on the defensive.
Listen actively as the coach responds to your concerns. Active listening involves maintaining eye contact, paraphrasing what you think you understand, asking questions and staying respectfully engaged.
Work to resolve the situation and assuage your issues. Perhaps the coach will agree to resolve your concerns or explain her motivations behind a decision or an action. Ask questions as necessary and be ready to compromise or accept less than you wanted.
Thank the coach for her time after you finish discussing the issue. Invite the coach to follow up with you in the future if necessary. Be sure to thank her for her work and effort with your child as well.
If appropriate, you might offer your assistance and support for your child’s team and the coach. If you have time, you could provide whatever help the team needs before, during or after events. This volunteer support can relieve pressure and make the coach’s job easier, suggests the American Sport Education Program.
Leave coaching issues to the coach, advises Michael Taylor, recreation and facilities director with the City of Saratoga, California. As challenging as it might be, support your child and the coach from the sidelines, if possible.