How to Help Your Child Deal With an Abusive Coach

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July 14, 2014 3:21 PM EST

Coaches can be very passionate about their job and get too excited especially if they are dealing with raw talent. Sometimes, the intentions may be good but the manner may already be bordering on cruel and violent.

REUTERS/Chico Ferreira
Children wearing Argentina jerseys play soccer at a FIFA public viewing area where fans gathered to watch Argentina play Iran for Group F of the 2014 World Cup

Teaching your child how to deal with an abusive coach can help bring out his maturity at such a young age, at the same time excelling in his chosen sport or field. The Australian Sports Commission has some insights on how children and their parents can deal. 

1. Verbalise

Teach your child to verbalise any comments or concerns with you so you can speak to the coach in private. Even so-called 'harmless name calling' can be considered ill behaviour, according to Self Growth, citing a UCLA study in 2005. Ask him or her to speak to the coach after practice in his office so he or she can explain his side fully. Let your child discuss matters behind closed doors to remove the pressure on the coach. Also educate your child how to start the conversation. Tell the coach how much he appreciates his passion and knowledge on the subject, followed by constructive criticisms.

2. Get help

Remind your child to report any type of coach abuse regardless of how minor it was to you, the school principal or any other person in authority. Ask your child the specifics of the matter so you can write a formal complaint. Let your child tell the story about how the circumstances unfolded. Some children can be scared to report such matters so you might like to draw it out of him if you notice how your child's behaviour may be turning for the worse.

3. Monitor your child

Some children are outspoken and can easily vent out their frustrations or tell their parents. Others, however, can hide the abuse very well even to their parents, making it hard to identify. Observe your child's behavior such as getting easily irritable or not wanting to go to practice. There can be subtle signs of coach abuse which you need to address immediately.

4. Talk to the coach

According to the ASC, parents should be more vigilant in preventing coach bullying or abuse by speaking with the coach before children even start training. Approach the coach in a non-confrontational manner. Be friendly and try to establish rapport with the coach. Let him feel that you appreciate the help he can provide your child. Indicate your expectations and give your recommendations as to how best he can coach your child, based on the kid's personality and abilities.

Letting the coach know that you are mindful of your child's treatment and behaviour will help prevent abusive coaches. The safety of your child should be the primary concern in any program.

(Photo: REUTERS/Chico Ferreira / )
Children wearing Argentina jerseys play soccer at a FIFA public viewing area where fans gathered to watch Argentina play Iran for Group F of the 2014 World Cup
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