Positive Ways That Parents Can Approach Their Player's Coach
Unlike in school classrooms, club soccer parents don’t typically get a monthly report to see how their children are performing on the field. Unless they are soccer experts or former players themselves, parents are often left on the sideline with numerous questions for their coach.
There is a right way, and certainly a wrong way, for approaching your son’s or daughter’s coach to get feedback.
In an effort to make it as positive and non-confrontational as possible, all parents should follow these guidelines to positive communication with the team’s coach:
Always follow the 24-Hour No Communication Rule
After a game, whether it’s a win, tie or a loss, emotions are running high for player, coach, and certainly parent as well. Thus, the 24-hour rule should always be enforced, allowing emotions to subside and logical thinking to take its place.
Of course you are upset that your child didn’t receive equal playing time or was singled out by the coach for his or her mistakes, that is only natural Momma or Poppa Bear instincts to protect the Baby Cub. However, this is not the time or place to confront the issue. Go home, write down what you are upset about and why, sleep on it, and the next day review your notes. If you feel you may have overreacted, rip up that note and go on with your day.
If you still feel you need to voice your concerns, then give coach a call, send an e-mail, or ask for a quick meeting after practice to discuss your thoughts.
Every coach should have an open line of communication with parents to answer their questions. After all, your club fees are paying his or her coaching salary!
Ask for a Mid-Season Progress Report
Most parents aren’t experts on the ins and outs of soccer, even more so in regards to youth development, so they should have the opportunity to have it explained to them concerning their individual child’s development.
Parents should ask the coach for a report on their child’s growth and improvement over the course of the season to know what the coach thinks the player’s strengths and weaknesses are, what the player could work on at home or outside of the team training sessions, and what the outlook is for the player to be selected for the team for the following season.
If the coach thinks your daughter is struggling and needs to improve more to make the team next season, wouldn’t that be helpful information to know prior to the tryouts?
Don’t be shy, ask and you shall receive!
Provide feedback, not your opinion
Coaches love when parents provide feedback regarding their children, especially when it’s something positive! Coaches often only receive negative feedback, so the positive can be a breath of fresh air and affirm a job well done.
If you are unhappy or uncomfortable with something your coach has said or done, you should also provide feedback on that side of things as well, as often times you are the voice for the player, particularly at the younger age groups. However, you should NOT provide your opinion on matters regarding coaching decisions, tactics, line-ups, or substitutions, such as:
- “Coach, I really think we should play a 4-3-3 instead of that silly 3-5-2 formation. I really think my Jenny would be great as the Center Forward in that system!”
- “Hey Coach, I don’t know why you ever sub out my Johnny, he is our best player!”
Your opinions are often best kept to yourself, as coaches don’t have the time or the sanity to listen to everyone’s ideas on how the team would be better managed.
Communicating with your child’s coach doesn’t have to be an awkward or intimidating experience, nor an argumentative or confrontational interaction.
As long as you approach coach in a positive, respectful manner, all of your questions and concerns should be cleared up in a simple conversation.