Working Together

It’s likely, in today’s world of high school sports, that athletes play on a high school team and participate in an off-season select or travel team during the same year.  And most likely, that involves a situation where your son or daughter is working with two different coaches.

This can lead to differences in philosophy between the two coaches.  An article on, a website that covers issues facing high school and youth sports, believes that disagreements between a high school coach and off-season travel coach usually stem from one of two problems:

1. Differences in opinion: The coaches have varying philosophies for coaching the athlete, and they approach a problem area for your child in a different fashion.

2. Miscommunication amongst coaches: A coach may misinterpret the feelings of the other coach because the information is not being relayed correctly, usually because it’s being communicated correctly by the parent or coach. Other times, however, the two coaches may have different opinions on the position that the athlete plays or on the team, or the style of play.

The article provides tips on how to prevent bad feelings between the high school coach and travel team coach.

Find Common Ground:

If the coaches have different opinions on how to work with your child, it’s important for these two coaches to get on the same page. Perhaps the parent can initiate a phone conversation between the coaches. However, egos may get in the way.  Therefore, the article suggests that the parent talk to the two coaches separately.  The more the parent can do to keep the child out of the conversation, the better.

Gather All the Opinions First

The more experienced of the two coaches might try to play the “experience” card and insinuate that their perspective is correct because they been through this before. The article advises the parent to ask the more experienced coach if he or she can discuss these observations with your child’s other coach. Be aware that this may cause an ugly situation between the two coaches. However, the article still feels this is a worthwhile exercise it will help each coach to correctly understand the feelings of the other.

Ask Questions Rather Than Voice Concerns

The article points out that many coaches had successful playing careers and have accomplished more in the sport than you.  They will react negatively to opinions that you offer. The article recommends that you ask the coach specifically why he or she feels there’s a problem with the coaching or instruction your child is receiving from another coach. Ask the coach for his or her thoughts on the training methods, competition schedule or other aspects of your child’s involvement with the other team.

Request Outcome and Performance Goals

Ask your two coaches for a list of the goals they have for your athletes, including outcome and performance goals. Examples of Outcome Goals are as winning a tournament, lowering an ERA, getting a state ranking or making a varsity squad. Performance Goals are the steps you take to Outcome Goals and usually focus on a technique or game-skill improvement. As an example, if you have an Outcome Goal of hitting double figures in scoring average, a Performance Goal would be to top 50 percent in field goal percentage.

Present Both Sides

The article advises that you collect objective, specific information from each coach in terms of what they are looking to accomplish for your child and then share the information with each coach to get their feedback.  Through this process, you are in position to have both coaches on the same page to ensure that your child has an enjoyable experience as an athlete.

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