Parents Should Be Aware of their Childs Coach Behaviour

By: Dr. Patrick Cohn And Lisa Cohn

As a sports mom, mom and stepmom to four young athletes, age 8 to 19, one of my biggest challenges is understanding how to deal with coaches.

I've come in contact with every kind of coach imaginable. For example, I've wondered how to deal with the coach who favors his own child.

I've also struggled with coaches who, on the other end of the spectrum, can't live without my young athlete-and insist on having my child play even when he's sick or injured! These coaches have favored my young athlete in ways that upset other sports parents and players.

In addition, I've had to cope with coaches who are sometimes grouchy, have bad days, or dish out negative feedback in ways that hurt young athletes' feelings. I even had to decide what to do about a coach who was abusive.

Understanding how to deal with these coaches is not easy as a sports parent.

I worry that if I choose to speak up, I may interfere in a way that creates friction between my kids and their coaches. On the other hand, if I don't intervene, my kids could get hurt or lose confidence.

Knowing when and when not to intervene is a really tough decision for a sports parent. I don't want the coach to walk away with the idea that I think my child deserves special treatment. But at the same time, I want to protect my child as much as possible.

When should you intervene and have a talk with the coach? Here are some scenarios:

&bull When your child and the team are not having any fun

&bull When your child complains about how negative or mean the coach is

&bull When your child is forced to practice and play when injured

&bull When the coach threatens to bench your child for making mistakes, which may undermine your child's confidence and increase his or her fear of failing.

If you decide to talk to your child's coach about one of the above issues, make sure you pick the right moment. Don't do it at half-time of the regional play-offs or in the middle of practice!

Recreation and Sports
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