I’m just going to come right out there and say it—there are more than a few bad youth sports coaches out there. Some are enthusiastic but don’t really know the game (which is probably the best case of a bad scenario), some are only coaching so their own child will be the star (not good at all), and some got roped into coaching because no one else volunteered (ten points for volunteering but if they don’t want to be there chances are the team won’t want to either). Tens of millions of kids are involved in some youth sports organization every year and that means there are millions of teams across dozens of sports that need coaches. Hopefully your child has had great coaches so far throughout their athletic career but odds are, sooner or later, they are going to get a bad coach.
So what’s a sports parent to do when their child’s team comes up short in the coaching department?
1. Play out the season anyway.
If your team’s coach is one of those good-hearted but less than knowledgeable volunteers you can still have a great season even if you don’t have the best coach. Obviously you want your child to learn the fundamentals and basic rules of their given sport but the second most important thing about youth sports is to ensure that everyone has a good time! You might not have the greatest youth sports coach ever but someone that gets the kids excited, engaged and makes sure everyone gets a chance to play is still a pretty good deal!
2. Offer to help the coach out at practice.
Maybe your team’s coach is overwhelmed and that’s impacting how well they do as a coach. It could be their first season as a coach and their nerves are getting the best of them. After all, being a youth sports coach is a big deal and a big responsibility! There might be the makings of a great youth sports coach in there if they could just get out of their own way. If you have an extra hour or so why not offer to help out at practice? You don’t have to be the greatest athlete ever to help run drills and keep the team moving. Maybe once your coach realizes they aren’t alone they‘ll settle down into their groove. Who knows—maybe you’ll find out that you have the makings to be a great coach!
3. Talk to the coach.
No one likes to think they are less than great at something, including coaching youth sports. Some bad coaches might not even realize they are that bad until someone points it out to them! Just try to do it with a little tact. Talk to you coach and maybe you can work out a new plan for the team.
4. Find a new team.
Some coaches aren’t bad because they are new, nervous or inexperienced (all of which can be remedied with time), some are just straight up bad. These are the coaches that are mean, don’t care and don’t want to be there, ignore all the other kids in favor of their own player, skip out on their own practices and so forth. If you find yourself on a team with a coach like this and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the tunnel it might be worth finding a new team. Just keep in mind that most leagues won’t let you join a new team once the season starts.