Answer: I understand the very difficult and
frustrating situation you and your child face. Trying to overcome or offset the negative impact a bad coach is having on a child
is practically impossible short of removing the child from the team -
which should be the last resort.
I would recommend that you make an appointment, away from the athletic
field, to meet with the coach and tell him about your feelings. Appeal to the coach, who is probably also a parent, that parents
have an obligation as well as a right to look out for their children's
interests and that is why you are having the discussion. Often
times coaches may not be aware that something they are doing
is causing problems for some of their players. Cite specifics about
what he is doing that is having such a
negative affect on your child. Try to learn why the coach is behaving
the way he/she is and give the coach a chance to explain his philosophy
about coaching and to explain his actions. Make specific
suggestions and recommendations for more appropriate behavior. If
the coach is an inexperienced but well meaning individual, this approach
may help. More likely, the coach will not take criticism well and will
not respond favorably. Even so, be polite but firm in explaining that
you are asking him and expecting him to change the manner in which he
treats your child. If you get no satisfaction advise the coach that you
are taking the matter to higher authorities.
Follow this meeting up with a letter to the league/association officials
and request their help in resolving the problem. That is not likely to
be forthcoming, either, based on what you have said about the
powers that be, but still write the letter. If you do not get a
favorable response from the coach and the league. Write to your town officials, the mayor, the board of commissioners, the department of
parks and recreation, etc. describing the problem and asking for their
help. Most youth programs are run on town or community fields and
associations must have permits to use the fields. If school facilities
are being used, write to the school board about the problem. Town or
school officials should not allow irresponsible organizations that
endanger children to use town or school facilities. Town and school
officials are becoming more and more sensitive to such matters.
Organizations that allow bad coaches to abuse children, verbally,
emotionally or physically are acting irresponsibly. Communicate with the local media, if necessary, to nudge reluctant town officials
into action. Also try to find other parents who feel the same way as you
regarding the association, and band together. Attend league, school and
town board meetings and petition a change in the officers of the league.
Parents who are having problems with bad coaches often don't try to do
anything to solve the problem because they fear reprisal by the coach or
the league against the child. As a result bad coaches continue to coach
and more children are impacted.
My feeling is that if your child is currently being mistreated by a
coach and the coach or league refuses to seek a resolution to the
problem, the child should not be participating in that association. The
child is already being treated badly and threats for continued or
additional mistreatment, either stated or implied, demand immediate and appropriate action to protect the child.
Coaches must provide a positive sports experience for all their players
and if they do not know how to do that, they should receive proper
training. Bad coaches need to be identified and removed. Only
concerned parents and concerned league officials can make this to
You should continue to support, encourage and praise your child as he or
she continues to participate. Try to takeover coaching/helping your
child away from practices. Attend all your child's games and practices
and make certain your presence there is is known by the coach as well as
your child. If you see or hear inappropriate behavior by the
coach, be prepared to remove the child from the activity. If, in the
unlikely event, you see an improvement in the coach's interactions
with your child, make sure to tell him that you appreciate his efforts.
this helps and I wish there was more that I could suggest.
child who participates in a youth sport deserves a concerned and caring
coach and many kids are fortunate to get. But far
too many bad coaches exist. It will take a major grass roots
movement supported by concerned parents, caring coaches
and dedicated league officials to remove and replace the bad ones. I will
continue to do everything I can to help make
let me know how things turn out for you and your child.