drafting email

3 Reasons to Not Send that Angry Email to Coach

When basketball season had a sour ending for my young athlete I drafted an honest, yet angry and opinionated, email to the coach… but my message never made it to his inbox.

Has that ever happened to you? Perhaps you’ve typed up an impassioned email outlining your thoughts about your child’s lack of playing time or your disagreement with their coach’s philosophy. Whether or not you followed through with sending that message, I’d first like to say that you’re not alone. It also needs to be made clear, though, that if that situation should arise again, you should never send that email.

Here are three reasons to explain why sending your athlete’s coach an email is a bad idea. 

1. It will affect your child

Whether you send it in the beginning or at the end of the season, your child will feel the ramifications. I’ve shared the bleachers with parents who made the mistake of reaching out in season, and witnessed the disappointment and frustration that came with a negative response towards their child. This is greater than limited playing time. Kid’s are smarter than we often give them credit for, and they know when something is going on. Do yourself and your athlete a favor and keep your frustrations to yourself.

Even sending that fiery email after the season can do damage. Whether it’s little league or high school, your athlete is going to cross paths with the coach you emailed. I understand how difficult it can be to bite your tongue, particularly when it’s in regards to your child’s success. Failing to do so in this instance will only hinder your athlete further.

2. It doesn’t change anything

You may feel better, but it probably won’t change the coach. Coaches get emails from unhappy parents all the time, and they’ve built up an immunity to it. My husband, a coach for 28 years, has received many emails from upset parents. Most of the complaints were about playing time and, honestly, none of those messages ever changed his coaching philosophy or approach to winning games. Some coaches may respond to appease you, but it is doubtful that your gripes are going to change the way they coach.

3. You will be labeled

Whether you like it or not, you will become known as a whining, complaining parent. When coaches see an email from you in their inbox, they will be more apt to press delete rather than open. Don’t be surprised if they avoid you when they can. Do you really want to be known as “that dad” or “that mom” who has a reputation for whining and complaining?

Again, I understand how challenging it can be to sit idly by when you feel your athlete is going unnoticed, but acting on your emotions in this instance will hurt you just as much as it will hurt your child.

There are surely times when a parent should confront a coach, but it should never be about playing time or what position you think your child should play. Let your child fight those battles themselves. Reserve coaching confrontations for moral issues, and avoid doing so by email. A calm face-to-face confrontation will be more likely to resolve issues.

Neither your child nor the coach benefits from a ranting email. If you must vent your frustration, write it and let it sit.

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One Response

  1. It pains me to say this, but this advice is good. I have experience with this in basketball at the AAU level. The good news is AAU basketball clubs/training facilities are becoming like Starbucks— one on every corner. Being a good coach is very difficult. Assessing HOW to communicate with each individual athlete is one of, if not the most, important aspects of coaching. In my opinion, most coaches either don’t get this, or don’t have to ability/resources to get it. Do your research on the clubs and coaches available. It won’t be easy and probably will take a lot of trial and error, but worth it in the end.

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