When you have kids involved in sports, there is going to come a time where you don’t agree with their coach 100%. For us it came four seasons in. You see, up until this year, the coaching our players got was perfect for their personalities. But this year…this was the year I learned how to disagree with a child’s coach.
I made little secret of the fact that we struggled with fitting in with one team this year. A lot. In general it had nothing to do with the kids on the team (though there were a couple that were a challenge, but that’s most often the case for any group of children…or adults for that matter). The struggle was with a coaching style and mentality that didn’t jive with how I see kids sports.
With the season behind us, and some time to reflect under my belt, there are a few things I want to drive home.
As a parent, I do not have to agree with the coaching that my child receives. I just don’t. But I do have to maintain respect for the people who volunteer their time to teach my children.
Here’s how to disagree with a child’s coach.
1- Demonstrate respect to the coach in front of the children on the team. There was one time this season that I spoke to a coach in front of the children in a manner that was less than encouraging. And at that time it was to remind another adult of the league rules. In this House of Hockey, children respect their coaches and the referees. Few exceptions apply.
2- Handle the disagreements privately. Having said the piece about respect, my disagreement with the coaching style was not evident at the rink. Any disagreement that I have is dealt with after the practice or game via email and uses the 24 hour rule. It’s not a perfect form of communication, but it works for minor disagreements. For more serious things, I would request a face to face meeting with a convenor in attendance. Most conflicts don’t need anything more than a quick head’s up over email.
3- Support the team and the coaching staff when possible. Even in the middle of the season, when I wasn’t sure that staying in hockey was the best idea for my kid, we still supported the team. Hockey Dad took videos for our goalie to drive home how many shots he blocked during a tournament. We brought back up music to the change room just in case, and when an extra set of skates or a stick or some piece of equipment was missing, we volunteered what we had.
When it comes down to it, how my child feels on the team is important. But there is a team full of children wanting to play a sport. It is important that parents recognize that each child will have a different experience with the same coach. And yes, it is absolutely tough when it is your child that is struggling with a style of coaching. Each child still deserves to have the adults on their team doing their best to make the season a good one.
Learning how to disagree with a child’s coach is the first step in the right direction. At the end of the day it is about respecting the person on the other end of the disagreement.
My opinion of a team’s coaching begins and ends with my child. But it is our job as hockey parents to help them through it. It is not up to me to try to change the whole team.
It is my job to teach my player to work with the coaching style of his team.
See you at the rink,