Find the Right Coach

I always respect my coaches and set out to learn from them. Cristiano Ronaldo

While no one is perfect, some coaches are better than others at helping you develop a positive attitude. It is sometimes difficult for youths and parents to find a good coach. And what works for one person may not work for another. The following behaviours are indications of an inferior coach.

Coaches who

  • humiliate, demean, or use fear as teaching tools;

  • say negative or demeaning things in front of other people;

  • think winning games is the most important aspect;

  • place pressure on injured players to play;

  • play favorites;

  • instruct young players not to tell their parents what is happening at practice; and,

  • treat players with disrespect or allow bullying.

Parents may perceive the coach as inept but the young players may love him as they will see through the bad behavior and believe the coach has their best interests at heart. It’s a fine line between learning to work with difficult people and staying in environments, which could potentially destroy your belief in yourself and remove all the fun of playing the game.

Throughout life there will be some people that are challenging to work with in positions of authority, such as your teachers, coaches, or bosses, and they may treat you unfairly for no apparent reason. Working with a difficult coach is an opportunity to learn how to get along with problematic people. Do not embarrass the coach in front of other people. If you want to discuss the issues with him or her, ask for a meeting in private and carefully think about what you want to say.

The coach may just be trying to make you a better player and you could ask him or her what you need to do to improve your game. You may feel the need to tell the coach how his or her behavior is impacting your game. In doing so, you need to choose your words wisely and be prepared for the consequences. Some people can take offence and things may get worse for you. This is not to suggest that they always do. They may also get better, but you will never know until you raise it.

Realize that you need to continue with your dreams and ambitions and find a way to succeed. In larger areas, there may be more opportunities to shop around for a good coach. Try to assess the football coaches before the start of the season – watch games and practices, and talk with other players or parents. Observe the turnover of players on the team and the reasons for that turnover. What do past players say about the coach?

If the problem you’re having with your coach is that you are not on the starting line-up, have a discussion with him or her about how you can improve and be willing to work hard to get there. If you don’t want to work hard or have an excuse regarding why you can’t do, what is being asked then perhaps you can work on improving your attitude. Sometimes people have the tendency to take things for granted. It’s a disastrous attitude to have. If you were the star player in grade 7 that does not mean you will retain the star player status in grade 9 too. Every time you move up, you will be required to advance your skillset and put in more work in order to achieve the skills needed to become a more complete player.

You may sometimes feel your coach is disrespecting you and you are finding it hard to tell if it is because you are being too sensitive to honest criticism or that you are being unfairly treated. Ask someone else if they notice that your coach is treating you differently. If others feel the same, then perhaps you may need to address this.

the coach just decided to really yell at me...That coach got fired.

-Bobby Wood

Make an honest attempt to work out the issues with the coach and listen to what he or she has to say. Do not respond in haste. Try to do what the coach says and see if it helps (Oden, 2015). Working with other people requires a good attitude. You can’t control them, but you can control your responses.

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