Patented Q & A Database


I have a very basic question concerning a student athlete and coach relationship that has turned to the worse. How do I help my child (a senior in high school) when her coach of over 6 years turns on her, is mean to her, refuses to coach her anymore, and basically treats her awful? He has always treated her well, and its like a light switch has turned off. He is openly horrible to her. She is a "state athlete" but NOT a "State CHAMPION". He has dropped her like a hot potato and now focuses on the younger kids, who probably won't make it to state. It's her senior year and she is miserible by this rejection. Her "future college coach" is so pleased with her work ethic, and skill level. I hate to see my daughter upset. She regarded this coach as a second dad. Now he is nasty and does mean spirited things to put her down and make fun of her. I want her to quit. But she is being recruited to be an athlete in college, so she is stuck in a season with a horrible old coach. Help


Jim Taylor, Ph.D. Replied: This is a horrible situation and totally unfair and hurtful to your daughter. I think it would be appropriate to speak to the coach about why he is treating her so badly. Perhaps he is going through a rough patch personally? It's one thing to focus his coaching on younger team members (because she is heading to college), but it's an entirely different thing to treat her in an abusive manner. You should, in a nonthreatening way, explore with the coach his previously positive relationships with your daughter, why his change in behavior, and the impact it's having on her. I wouldn't encourage your daughter to quit as it is for the wrong reasons. Speak to your daughter about what may be happening and provide perspective that involves her love of her sport and her future collegiate athletic career (which, as a former college athlete myself, I can attest to the great fun she will have), and that the coach's behavior is his problem and in no way a reflection on her. Finally, if his behavior is as bad as you describe and he isn't responsive to your conversation with him, it may be appropriate to speak to his superiors because such behavior is inexcusable and should not be acceptable to the team's powers-that-be.
Posted On 2011-04-14 12:07:05
Gary Pritchard Replied: It is sometimes gut wrenching for us as parents to see our children struggle and be unhappy. I feel for your situation. The most important thing to focus on what your daughter wants and she is still enjoying her sport. Try to take the advisor /sounding board role to help guide her through this issue would be a great start. Try being a questioning parent versus a directive parent ; this helps empower your daughter to make decisions that are hers (ownership) and that she can put into action. Guide her to see that we are always learning new lessons. There's a big life lesson here. Things are going to happen to us. It not what happens to us. It's how we choose to see it and how we choose to respond. If your daughter plans to play in college this current issue may teach her a valuable lesson on how to deal with coaches in the future where the environment will be even less nurturing, more competitive, and results oriented. If she is unhappy and wants to change the situation, obviously there are questions she needs to get answered with her coach. Help her develop those questions and her action plan. Begin with questions that start with "what do think…? How do your feel.. ? Who do you think you should/ could speak to…? what do you think the next step should be… ? What can you control in this situation …? What can't you control..? Remind her of the things she can't control in the situation and she has to "let it go" and avoid "grinding" over. Remind her consistent effort and positive attitude are things she can control. Re enforce this has nothing to do with her as a person. Keep re enforcing your love and support for what ever she decides to do. The hardest thing is sit back and watch her struggle to handle this herself. There's a story that comes to mind for overcoming life's adversities. Perhaps you'll find it useful . Good luck !! Gary (from "105 Great Stories") "Once upon a time, there was a little donkey that lived on a ranch. The little donkey spent all of his time in a pen with his grand father. One day, the little donkey said, "Grandpa, I want to grow up to be big and strong like you. What do I have to do?" Grandpa said, "All you have to do is learn how to shake it off and step up." The confused little donkey asked his grandfather what that meant. Grandpa said, "Let me tell you a story." "One day, when I was just about your age, I was right here in this pen when someone left the gate open by mistake. I escaped and started walking out on the prairie. I was admiring the big mountains and the huge sky. Then, all of a sudden, when I wasn't looking at where I was going, I fell into an old, abandoned well. I was trapped at the bottom of the well, scared to death, thinking I was going to die. Then, within a few minutes, I heard a truck. I looked up and saw an old farmer. I thought he would surely save me. But he just looked down at me, shook his head, and got back into his truck and left. "A few hours later, I heard what sounded like four or five trucks. I looked up and saw the old farmer again, with several of his friends. The old farmer said, ‘Boys, this well's abandoned and that little donkey ain't worth anything, so let's get to work.' "They got their pick axes and shovels and started burying me alive. Now I knew I was going to die! The dirt started burying my hooves and then it started covering my lower legs and then I suddenly realized something—every time a shovelful of dirt landed on my back, I could shake it off and step up on it. So they continued shoveling and I continued shaking; they continued shoveling and I continued shaking. "Eventually I shook enough and I stepped up enough that I was able to step out of the well and save my life!" Then the grandfather looked right at the little donkey and said, "Remember, if you want to grow up to be big and strong like me, you have to learn how to shake it offand step up." * * * * * * * I'll bet that you're never going to fall into an abandoned well. But, I'll also bet that in your life, you'll find plenty of people who are going to throw dirt on you. By "dirt" I mean that people will criticize you, reject you, gossip about you, etc. If you want to develop a stronger character you have to learn how to shake it off and step up!
Posted On 2011-01-02 10:23:14
Sharon Buchalter Replied: I'm so glad you wrote to me, because the situation may not be as basic as you think. First things first, if possible, both you and your spouse should attend a meeting with the coach (without your daughter). Ask him how she's doing and keep the conversation light initially, since if he is attacked, he may close down. Ask open-ended questions about how he thinks she's doing now, compared to in the past. Once you get a good feel of how he sees the situation, let him know that you've noticed a change in her. Make sure you're prepared for this meeting by talking to your daughter first, alone, so that you have a specific, concrete list of how his behavior towards her has changed. Does he embarrass her in front of others? Are there witnesses to this? Also, when you're talking to your daughter, try to find out if their relationship has changed in any other way. Perhaps he tried to have a different type of relationship with her and perhaps she refused, or maybe she initially succumbed but then changed her mind and he feels rejected? I realize that this is a very difficult topic to talk about, but it is absolutely essential. If you suspect this is the case after you meet with your daughter alone, you may need to have a psychologist or other third party in subsequent conversations. Whenever you talk to your daughter, make it easy for her to open up. Make sure she knows she's free from punishment, shame or ridicule, and that she's safe. Your next meeting with the coach will depend on the outcome of the meeting with your daughter. If you suspect abuse, then you will want to get a third party involved. Another possibility is that something in the coach's own life has changed; and he's letting it out on your daughter. Does the coach have a history of treating his athletes this way? His outward rejection of your daughter may also be his immature way of separating from his students when he knows they are leaving. Perhaps he has trouble dealing with separation, so he needs to reject first. Nonetheless, your daughter is the victim of bad behavior by the coach, in some way or another. Try to find out about his track record with other seniors so that you're ready to handle what may come up if you get nowhere in the meeting. Keep in mind that your daughter may be afraid to discuss these topics, especially in front of the coach. I know this is difficult to hear, and it may be the case that it's something entirely different, but you need to be open to the possibility and talk to your daughter to see what you can find out. She needs to know that you support and love her no matter what has happened. She may be afraid to speak badly of him or reveal too much. If you sense fear, then please seek appropriate help for her to discuss. When you have the second meeting with the coach, have your facts ready. Try to write some goals for improved relations. This meeting will be dependent on your conversation with your daughter and what you find out there. If you find that you're getting nowhere with the coach, you may need to talk to the school or the high school association of coaches. Remember- abuse of any kind- emotional or physical- is NOT acceptable. Most importantly, stand by your daughter and let her know she can talk to you about anything, anytime, no matter what.
Posted On 2010-12-06 12:38:38
Press Esc to close