Advice please: rotten extracurricular coaches: to tell or not to tell?


My 10th grade child was in a team sport this year and enjoyed all aspects except for the coaching, which seems to have been very bad! As a result, my child plans not to participate in this otherwise enjoyed sport :frowning:

I am aghast (ok, steaming mad!) about this, which I had not heard about until now. I thought we had learned a few things since my parents were young and had to experience those “toughen-'em-up” types of coaching, especially for something which is entirely voluntary.

At their first meet, the “newbies” did not know anything about how the meet would be organized and so they were at a loss as to when and where to be, what to do at the end, etc. There were some other problems with lack of preparation as well.

At the end of the meet, the coaches lined the newbies up and said that no complaints would be allowed and that if people didn’t like it, they could quit, but remember how much their parents had invested in terms of time and money (very expensive gear, etc).

And this seems to have been the general attitude on the part of the coaching staff throughout the season.


I want to go up there and tell them my child does not want to participate, nor do I want my child to participate in an activity that involves this type of tyrannical behavior on the part of the people in charge. I also want to go to the school and tell them how the coaches are behaving.

OTOH, my child will continue to attend this school for a while, and I do not want any repercussions to fall on this child.

So… to tell or not to tell?


Were you present when any of this was going on? What was your impression when you attended any of the meets, or maybe watched your child at practice?
I don’t understand how this is an end of season thing.

Also, your question comes across as asking whether you should tattle or not. Maybe you need to have a discussion with the coaches. Talk to other parents first. See if they experienced the same issues. Then talk to the coaches. If you get no where with the coaches, you may want to speak to the athletic director.


I’m with Irishmom here. What did you see? Have you talked to other parents? If your child really want to play is there an other team he could play on?
If you wanted you could speak to the athletic director. I guess it comes down to how far to you want to go with this.


I did not actually ever see or meet the coaches. The way things are laid out, the coaches are with the players in a different area than the spectators, so the parents don’t get to interact with them.

My child never mentioned the more serious parts, only the lack of preparedness. As a result, my comments were not as supportive in the way they needed to be for confidence in my willingness to take action.

I was thinking of finding out if some of the other students were planning to continue or leave, and talk with the parents of those leaving. Thing is, at this age kids seem to be in between wanting to handle things themselves and not necessarily knowing the best way to do so.


Not tattle, but complain. I am just really astounded.


Can I ask what sport we are talking about here?


You can, but it is somewhat specialized so I did not want to mention it.


Ok. Here’s my thoughts. I think talking to the other parents is a good idea. I’d also attempt to talk to the coach. I think talking to the other kids is a bad idea. I think it comes down to how much your child wants to play.


I cannot understand never meeting or seeing the coaches. Did you never pick up your kid from practice, or watch practice? How did you get to the end of the season and never meet?


I agree that this is pretty strange. I coach baseball and football for our school system. Before a kid ever tries out, they get a letter with the requirements that a kid needs- physical, etc. That letter will have contact information on it for all of the coaches, including school email and phone number. We then have a parent meeting, where everyone meets the coaches and goes over the information we sent home with the child. We also use the Remind 101 notices to text information on the schedules and anything else that may come up during the season. Just hitting reply on the text message sends it to the coach. There are numerous ways to contact every single coach in our school system.


I think that if you are concerned about the lack of communication and organization, you should talk to the coach directly. I also think it’s sort of strange that you are just realizing this has been a problem after the season is over. Telling students to not complain doesn’t seem like tyranny to be, especially since it’s most likely that the coaches were talking about a certain kind of complaining in a certain situation. If you are concerned about them telling your child not to complain, that should really have been dealt with at the time. I would have wanted to know specifically what my child was complaining about and whether or not it was realistic or had merit. There’s a possibility with 10th graders that the communication was sent, but they didn’t take responsibility for reading or remembering it and rather than deciding to be more responsible the next time, they blamed the coach and claimed they were never told. When I was teaching freshman choir, I had a policy that any student who told me that they “never got” the music had to bring me their folder and if it as in there, they lost all their participation points for the day.


Thank you for sharing, I am sorry for your frustration.

In all fairness to the coaching staff, I believe it would only be fair to meet with them, or at least speak with them on the phone. These are people you’ve never even looked in the eye! It would be nice to get an impression if they are honest and knowledgeable, or somewhat flighty and perhaps a bit of a ding bat.

Do your children sometimes forget other details? Mine did. They would complain about how they didn’t get fair notice of something, then I’d find the papers squashed in their backpack! They claimed they weren’t given the rules of a contest, then the teacher would explain the date given and I’d find it at home! Not always, but often.

Unless these coaches are totally awful, and the kids really great, I’d say it might be a mix? Best wishes.


Disorganized at the start of the season? A little frustrating, but, that is actually a life lesson for these teens about the importance of preparation. Seems petty to complain about it.

(Big agree that it is best to speak to the coach because teens do lose/forget/blow off/overlook things then try to shift blame sometimes.)

Teens also need to learn that complaining is rarely the right thing to do. You can speak up, offer advice “Coach, it seems you are very busy and could use some help getting the word out about the time of the meets. Would it help if I served as the team communications point person? I will send out the email/text reminders and follow up. Let’s all agree what platform will work for everyone.” is better than “I did not know we had practice because I ONLY use zipettydodah app for messaging, I do not use email or text”.

Reminding kids that their parents have invested time and money is a good thing. While I am sure your kids are responsible and appreciative, so many kids are not and think the world owes them candy and moonbeams.

One last thing, a tough coach will let kids fail. The ability to overcome failure, to try again, to improve by practicing, is the way to build real self confidence. The whole “everyone gets a trophy” mentality has been terrible for our society.


Make your child participate and it’s good that the coaches are trying to toughen up the kids. I don’t see the problem


There is nothing in what you have stated that needs parental involvement. If your son goes to work for an organization that isn’t organized to his liking, are you going to have a sit down with his boss?

Unless the coach did something abusive, let your son grow up and learn how the world works.

If you wish to provide more information, I might change my advice. Based on what you stated, there is no reason for parental interference.


I am trying to understand what the problem is here. I cant see where the coaches did anything wrong. unless there is more to it.


What you say is true I usually dont tell my mom about those kinds of things… Its either I handle it on my own or let it be until I explode or tell mom… which wvwr I find best


I think this is a golden rule thing. Put yourself in the shoes of the various parties and decide based on that.

I would go to the organizer and say, “I heard this. I wasn’t there, I can’t say how much it is colored by my child’s perceptions, and frankly, that is kind of a moot point because my child has decided not to compete any more. My thinking, though, was that in your place I’d want to hear reports like this. If it is one athlete, maybe it is just a misunderstanding or there was something going on that Mom didn’t quite catch on to. If you keep hearing it again and again, well, in your shoes I wouldn’t want people to be afraid to tell me about a possible problem because they were afraid of leveling an unfair expectation. You can do what you want with the information, but such as it is, I thought you’d want to know. You can’t fix problems that everyone is afraid to tell you that you might have. Maybe this is nothing for those who can see the big picture and know more than I do, but it is a little piece of the big picture that you want to have.”

Leave it at that. I would even say that it is not necessary to fill me in on anything that doesn’t have to do with my son directly…that is, if it isn’t something that the organizer would feel that he’d have a need to know as a parent, if he were my son’s father. Then let go. If it is a larger problem, maybe you helped fix it. If not, you did no harm.


End of school year is usually a time when everyone is a bit tired…
One has less patience, and longing for vacations so…I would open the windows a bit,let some fresh air into the room.
Coaches are a bit like that,and teams accommodate for the " sake of the team" on the long run. And your child seems to have enjoyed the sport.
But since each case is different,if necessary I wouldn’t hesitate to meet the coach because a sport is beneficial . Coaches and parents are adults who may simply have a conversation in the best interest of the kid. If necessary,and peacefully.


I am generally in favor of going to the coach first. In this case, though, the child has no interest in playing for that coach any more. The relationship is shot. I don’t know how this kind of allegation can be taken to the coach without it just making the coach defensive.

Mind you, what I would do hinges on the certainty that my 10th grader is absolutely and positively done with this organization. If I had any doubt about that, I’d proceed differently. With a 10th grader, I’d encourage him to advocate with his coaches himself or else I’d stay out of it, unless there was criminal-level misbehavior going on or behavior that directly attacked the relationship between my family (including myself) and my son. As a general rule, a 10th grader ought to be handling these things himself or herself as much as possible. They’re starting college soon, and competent self-advocacy with authority figures requires practice and the belief that you’re considered competent to do it.

In other words, your son is getting to be a man. Let him conduct himself as his own man.

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