The Coach's Clipboard: How to talk to your child's coach

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- As children head back to school, they are also hitting the sports fields. So, if there is a problem or disagreement with their coach, what is the best way to handle that?

That is the topic Chad Moeller is tackling in today's Coach’s Clipboard segment.  The former Arizona Diamondbacks catcher played Major League Baseball for 16 seasons and has coached hundreds of kids. In an interview from the Scottsdale Batting Cages, he says there are issues parents should never hesitate to address. 

If a parent has a concern about the mental or physical treatment of their child, talk to the coach immediately.  “Our number one job as a parent is to protect our child. If we don’t like the language they’re using, the volume they’re using with our kids, by all means that has to be address,” states Moeller, adding, “when you get into a situation where (a coach) is man-handling a child or demeaning them and basically verbally abusing them, you have to step in and protect them.”

Also, parents should not hesitate to approach a coach about helping a child improve. Many moms and dads may not know a lot about a certain sport. So parents should tap into the coach’s knowledge.

However, Moeller says there are some topics he does not believe parents should confront their child’s coach with, like playing time. 

“It’s probably one of the biggest reasons why coaches stop coaching. ‘Why is my daughter not on the field? Why is my son not at shortstop?’ The coach is in charge of the team, and in most cases we’re talking about youth sports and this guy is volunteering.  He is not getting paid; and now he’s being heckled,” says Moeller, who has seen this very scenario play out.

He advises parents who are unhappy with a coach to move their children.  They can try out for a different team and play somewhere else.  However, he warns that the same problems may occur over and over; and that may mean the problem is not the coach, but rather, closer to home.