Having good communication with your child’s coach is always a good thing, but the nature of that relationship will depend on what kind of sport or team they are playing on. When the kids are little and playing t-ball or soccer, it’s easy to see and talk with the coach. Often times, parents are volunteering to help with teaching the kids the basics and acting as referees during practice. Parents can get immediate feedback from the coach on the performance of their young athlete. These memories of early organized sports should be easy and carefree, practices full of encouragement and fun so the kids can learn the basics of playing.
As they get older and try for more competitive teams, the parent relationship with the coach can be more serious because winning becomes more important. If your child has to tryout for a team, meet the coach beforehand and introduce your child so they can put a name with a face. Hopefully, the coach will hold a question and answer session before tryouts so you can get a good idea of expectations and how the season will go.
When the games or competitions start, that's when it can get complicated--if you feel like your child is not getting enough playing time or playing in the wrong position. These feelings are heightened during tense game situations when a parent may question the coach’s decisions. Most coaches have a 24 hour rule, which means parents should let that amount of time pass before contacting them with their complaints.
If your athlete plays sports in school, chances are parents don’t attend practice and often have a less personal relationship with the coach than in youth sports. That could be a good thing because, at this age, your child should be their own advocate. Learning how to have a face to face talk with a coach can take courage but also builds confidence. School sports are well organized and require less parent help. However, there can be opportunities to volunteer to feed the team or work fundraisers to fill that gap.