Backyard Sports Timeout – Where our coaches field parents’ questions about Team Sports and offer ways to make it the Fun, Enriching Experience it’s supposed to be
Q: My daughter plays basketball and her team recently added a new coach. The change has been difficult because the new coach has a style that is incompatible with my daughter’s personality. She often feels berated and alienated. How should we deal with this?
Nothing can inhibit a child’s experience more than a difficult relationship with a coach. In a previous generation, we had our fair share of Little League Dad’s who, through their inexperience or gruff behavior, made the exercise miserable for everyone. However, at that time, the consequences weren’t as severe, because we had a chance to play ball on our own the other six days of the week. Today, given the extended commitment of sports and lack of “free play,” the relationship with a coach takes on an added degree of importance.
What is a parent to do when the child feels compromised, alienated, or worse, bullied by a team coach? I recently read a post by John Sullivan on his Changing the Game blog about this specific situation. I admire and support the manner in which Sullivan turns this issue into a positive conversation that can be addressed both with the child and the offending coach. I recommend reading the post and taking initiative on his concrete steps for arranging a meeting with your child’s coach, as well as setting realistic expectations on the outcome of the conversation.