As a parent you cannot blame yourself to be protective for your teenager or high school child, especially when they are actively participating in team sports. There may be times when you oppose or disagree with some decisions, practices or rules enforced by your child’s coach, and as a parent it is very important to be your child’s role model. You should be able to handle this matter responsibly. Responsible and mature communication with the coach not only sets a good example for your child and other parents, but helps resolve issues in the most effective and mature way possible.

Here are a fews Tips on how to talk to your child’s coach:

1. Make an appointment.
Call the coach and ask the best time you can talk with him in private conversation. The coach has his own duties to attend to, so be sure to set an appointment first before going to his place. Point out the issue directly, but remain to be respectful. Ensure that everybody else is gone before actually approaching the coach. Avoid having confrontations in the eyes of the public, otherwise you might appear scandalous.

2. Advance notice.
Inform the coach about the conflicts you are concerned about in advance. This enables the coach to be aware about what your conversation would be about. He can prepare whatever there is to prepare. Otherwise, last minute calls can induce stress and might be a source of heightened emotions. This kind of problem can also be avoided easily by being open or upfront.

3. Talk to the coach directly.
Do not be indirect in conveying your concerns to the coach. By being indirect means using other individuals to address the issue other than you. You are the one who truly understands what you want to imply. It is better for you to speak out to avoid misconceptions. In addition, you can ask your child questions relevant to your inquiry in order to be informed. However, do not drag them into the problem other than necessary. Kids are often embarrassed when their parents are talking to their coach, so you should use good consideration in pushing the issue if has a relevant grounds.

4. Create a positive setting.
The setting must be peaceful and quiet. This helps the listener to be more receptive. However, any place for a conversation would be fine as long as you two act responsibly and with respect for one another. Avoid conversing through electronic mails or telephone, if possible. This can bring out a lot of misunderstanding. Talking face to face is way better because you can see the person in front of you and you can better analyze what is being said.

5. Practice active listening.
Oftentimes, coaches feel overwhelmed by the complaints they are receiving from the parents. It is better if you can address your concerns concisely and briefly, then sit back and listen to his answer. Fight the urge to interrupt or repeal. Just be quiet and listen. You can summarize everything you have heard during your confrontation to clear things up. Be open to the intensity of the situation and create a calm approach because coaches feel respected this way. Have the effort to listen to what the other person has to say. Likewise, if it is time for you to speak, the coach should also listen just the way you did.

6. Convey an assertive, not an aggressive, message.
As a parent, the coach can gain an understanding as to why you are acting the way you are. The thing here is that both parties usually want to resolve the issue. In explaining your issues, be assertive and not aggressive. Do not be ruled by your intense emotions. It is very difficult to resolve issues when you feel that way. Instead, send a powerful message that can get through the defensive walls because it focuses on the problem, and not the person. Use the ideas below on how you can approach the issue.

-illustrate the circumstances in non-judgmental ways;
-Explain how it influences you and your child; and then
-Suggest ideas on how to resolve the issues.

7. Discerning before doing something
This can assist you to weigh the benefits and the disadvantages in making such actions. Discerning between right and wrong is very relevant. Appropriate issues include the mental and physical treatment of your child, your child’s conduct, insight into analyzing your child and approaches to help him succeed. Improper subjects include strategy, playing time, other teammates and referee calls.

8. Take it to the next level.
If your concerns continue and you do not think the coach is able or willing to fix the problem, take the issue to a higher level. The school principal or Athletic Director can be approached as the next step. Dealing with problems step by step will lead to a more productive result, however, if one side of the party is unwilling to back down, things might become worse. You should be able to contact the athletic director of the school.

Since situations vary a lot it is important to assume the worst and be ready for it. The ideas mentioned above do not guarantee 100% success rate, however, they will most likely improve your chances of having a productive discussion with the coach. It takes a lot of practice to change communication habits, but if you can make active listening your first priority and stay focused on the problem, then you can build stronger, more positive relationship for parents, coaches and players.

In dealing with issues, it is always wise to be objective. Attack the problem and not the person. Otherwise, resolution is impossible to achieve. Both parties must learn to give way and they must let each other speak out for what they know and believe in. With these issues, pride is not going to be the center of it all, but personal principles.

[info_box]Picture credit: WM ChamberlainCreative Commons Attribution[/info_box]