Yes, you read that right. You don’t have to like your child’s coach.
You don’t have to like the coach’s style, defensive strategy, or offensive game plan.
A coach can totally rub you the wrong way, and you may not even be able to pinpoint exactly why. He or she just does.
The bad news is that you may be in that situation right now. Perhaps you just ended a fall season and never warmed up to the coach. Or maybe the winter sports season has begun and you have come to a quick conclusion that you simply don’t like your child’s coach.
The good news is: that’s okay!
You can still be a good parent and not like your child’s coach***. How can this be? Here are three very good reasons why.
It’s Okay to Be Different
We talk a lot in today’s culture about celebrating our differences, and that may be acceptable to you if you’re talking about religion, race, or political preference. But the tolerance stops cold when your child has a coach whose offense or playing time strategy doesn’t make sense to you.
If you truly believe that our differences should be lauded, then let it start with you and your child’s coach. If you are convinced that diversity is a blessing, then don’t expect the coach to do things the way you would do them.
His coaching strategy is not right or wrong; it’s different.
If you want to teach your child that diversity is good, then start by showing them that different is okay, even if you don’t like it.
You Can Respect the Position Without Liking the Person
This was a lesson my kids learned over and over when they played for a coach they didn’t like. The conversation usually went like this:
Child: I don’t like my coach.
Me: Why not?
Child: Because…… (fill in the blank with any number of reasons)
Me: I understand that you don’t like the way Coach coaches, and it’s okay. But the coach is in a position of authority over you for now; you can respect that authority without liking his or her personality or how they run things.
It’s a hard lesson for kids to learn when they are young, but it’s a good one because I am absolutely positive they will one day have a boss they don’t like or get stopped by a policeman they don’t like. And for sure, they will dislike a president, governor, or other politician. But disagreement doesn’t have to disintegrate into dishonor.
You can agree to disagree agreeably.
Coaches Don’t Dictate Passion
There is no doubt that coaches can enflame or distinguish a child’s passion to play a sport. But with your encouragement, that disliked adult does not have to dictate your child’s love for playing.
When my kids came home frustrated with a coach, I always asked the question: “Why are you playing?”
The answers varied, but the resounding conclusion was that they were not playing to please a coach, they were doing it for themselves, or for the team.
The old saying, “This too shall pass” may be clique and over-worn, but its truth stands. Your child will leave that disagreeable coach behind, but he will still have his love for the sports. Help her see that she is the only one who dictates her passion.
Today, my kids are 22,25, and 28. Each one works with at least one individual who they simply do not like. But the lessons learned when they were younger on how to get along with others even when they may not see eye-to-eye prepared them well for life as an adult.
***If your dislike for your child’s coach stems from a lack of integrity or demeaning behavior by the coach, then it’s time to speak up.