When the basketball season had a sour ending for my young athlete, I wrote a very honest--with a touch of harshness--email to the coach. But the message never made it out of the draft folder.
Has that ever happened to you? Perhaps you’ve written a strong email, fully intending to let the coach know how you feel about your child's lack of playing time or your disagreement with his coaching philosophy, and then for whatever reason, you let it sit, not quite ready to push send? Not sending emails that are merely complaints about playing time or coaching philosophy may be a very smart move. And here’s why.
1. It could affect your child
I kept waiting for the perfect time to send the email to my child’s coach. I didn't want to do it during the season, because the coach might take it out on my young athlete. But when the season was over, my child still had to face the coach in school knowing that mom had lambasted him. Definitely an embarrassment. The only good time to send it was after child graduated, and by then, did it really matter anymore?
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; they've built up immunities. My husband, a coach for 28 years, has received many emails from upset parents. Most of the complaints were about playing time and quite honestly, none of those messages ever changed his coaching philosophy. Some coaches may answer and make reassurances to pacify you, but it is doubtful that your gripes are going to change the way they coach.
3. You are 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 push delete rather than open. And 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?
Let it sit
There are times when a parent should confront the coach, but not about playing time or what position you think your child should play. Let your child fight those battles. Reserve coaching confrontations for moral issues. And don't do it by email. A calm face-to-face confrontation will be more likely to resolve issues that must be addressed.
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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