How to Deal With a Difficult Coach

Children love sports. But you don't need a degree in sport psychology to know that having a difficult or stern coach can not only make your child's athletic experience challenging, but also frustrate you as well.

Here are a few tips on how to deal with difficult coaches to make your child's athletic participation fun, productive and as stress-free as possible.

Tip No.1: Get Involved

Be a "team-parent"; volunteer to bring healthy snacks or help establish a sportsmanship program so you can get involved with your child's team and coach.

Interacting directly in this way can help you to establish a positive relationship with the caoch and give you a sense of what kind of person they are. (Perhaps they are not as "difficult" as you've been led to believe.)

Tip No.2: Communicate

It is important to communicate with your child's coach, and this is especially important if that coach is demanding and difficult to work with.

Periodically check in with the coach to see how he or she thinks your child is doing. This gives an opportunity for the coach to offer you an assessment of your child's skill development and provide suggestions of ways you can help your child. (This also gives you a sense of where the coach's priorities are.)

Also, ask for a plan to help you child improve in all areas of the game. This tells a coach that that you are an involved parent and with such involvement and presence, your child is less likely to be a target of anger or deconstructive criticism.

Tip No.3: Be the Parent, Not the Coach

Asking for more playing time for your child, asking they play a certain position or criticizing coaching decisions is not going to help your relationship with a difficult coach. But that doesn't mean you can't speak up.

Be a cheerleader, but be alert to any actions towards your child or the team that you are not comfortable with, and express them in a timely manner.

Tip No.4: Be An Advocate For Your Child

It is never acceptable for a coach to belittle, humiliate or scream at their players. If you witness such behavior coming from your child's coach, consider contacting the league or district officials.

If you're having this big a problem with the coach, then other kids probably are as well. (Perhaps the coach can be persuaded to re-direct his or her emotion in a more positive direction.) Remember, it's not just the players who can learn to improve, it's also the coaches.

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