Ask Coach Houser: How Do I Get Along With the Coach?

Coach Houser: I have a lot of great ideas for my daughter's middle school team; but the head coach has gone from happy to see me during tryouts, to now reluctant to even speak to me. Have I done something wrong? I don't know which direction to turn next.

I get these emails about once a week during the school season. Please, please......if you're going to do anything for the team, make sure the head coach is involved, or even believes that they're in charge.

Please don't make the coach feel like the parents are going around her or doing her job for her. Some coaches will have their feelings hurt because it appears as though they're not doing their job well enough.

They will think that the parents are coming up with superior ideas. It's not good for the coach to feel this way. Some coaches are very micro-managing people, they think that their team is like their school classroom, and don't like it when there is a tornado of activity swirling around them while they stand there.

Some coaches get angry when the parents are arranging a lot of things for the team, regardless of the benefit. A coach may see their coaching situation as being transformed into "Only bad things come from Coach, while all treats, parties, videos, etc. are coming from the parents."

Many coaches like to feel that any great idea or anything "extra" for the team is emanating from the coach. Do you know what I mean? I only tell you these things so that you and daughter are always welcome by coaches and never dreaded.

I will admit that when I was a young coach, I would be tempted to cut or bench girls whose parents were driving me crazy with suggestions, ideas, thoughts, more suggestions, more arrangements, something shows up, etc. I don't think I ever did it, but the day-after-day "Coach Houser!" would make me feel like a team manager rather than the head coach.

If the head coach always feels like she's in charge and not "threatened," then she'll be happier.

I probably send something like this to someone about once every 10 days. So this is not a special email aimed at any one person. I want you and your daughter to always be welcome when a coach sees you coming. That's very important for your daughter's future in sports.

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Tom Houser
Head Coach, 2010 Roanoke Juniors 16's National
JOVC Qualified-2006, 2009
Director, STAR Volleyball Camps
Author, "I Can't Wait" Drill Collection and Ebooks

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