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Six Ways To Talk To Your Kid's Coach

May 03 2016

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There is always a fine balance between pushing a child to their potential and putting stress on them, not to mention being able to maintain diplomacy between parents and coaches. In this weeks Fuel The Dream series, Coach Reed talks about how coaches and parents can effectively communicate.


Youth sports, is by nature, an emotionally charged environment. It's your kid after all, and things can get a little heated sometimes. If youth sports had some order and rules to help maintain decorum, interactions between parents and coaches would be much more productive.

Roberts'  Rules Of Order is a great tool to help lay down the law.  These simple but vital rules between parents and coaches will help maintain cool heads and make sure everyone has a great game. 

1. The 24 hour rule: 

If there is an issue or potentially negative discussion needed, all participants should wait 24 hours before engaging. This holds especially true after a particularly emotional event like a big game. Give it some time to let cooler heads prevail. 

2. Draft folder rule:

Anytime there is a delicate issue, write a draft of what you're going to say/send and let it sit for awhile. You may come back and find you need to soften your stance, or you may learn of new information that changes your mind. 

3. The bystander rule:

Every sensitive meeting should have a third party observer present. This reduces misrepresentation of words, misunderstandings, and usually forces people to keep a cooler head. A parent may have a problem with the coach, but if someone else is there taking notes, everyone is more careful with what they say. 


4. Relevancy rule:

When talking about a specific problem, do not deviate on the subject. If either of you launches into irrelevant topics or incidents, it will be very hard to reach a resolution. If both parents and coaches agree to stick to the topic of concern the conversation will be far more productive. 

5. Talk-Listen-Validate: 

True intelligence is a willingness to hear the other side and use that information to better shape your position. Often, each person just wants their position to be heard and validated. Both parties should be open to listening to each other and speak their piece. 

6. Player-centered: 

All decisions, all discussions, all matters should have the player at the center. Set aside the adult needs and do what's right for the children. 


Coach Reed is an Author, Speaker, and Coach. He is Executive Director of STAR Soccer Club in Cincinnati, OH, is a TEDx alum who now travels the world speaking for Changing The Game Project, and works with myriad sports organizations training them on communication, culture, and the competitive mindset through his Beyond The Game programs. His book, Echo, is due out before the end of 2016.

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