Adventures from a quarter century of skating observations by professional communicators who are also skating parents.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Parent-Coach Relationships Part 3: In This Corner..
It doesn't have to be this way, you know. It doesn't have to be YOU vs. COACH. When you're feeling cornered or angry, then it's a good time to take the full 10-count and step away from the ice for awhile so you can really listen to your skater. What you hear - and what you don't - will speak volumes about what's happening on the ice, in a lesson and in the rink. I'm not talking about grilling your child when he or she walks in the door. This isn't about how many falls, how many times a program was played or even how many times the rink boards were singlehandedly held in place by your skater leaning on them. This is about being open to listening, observing and being aware of changes in behavior patterns. If you notice your skater is jumping on a scale every time a meal is finished; if you notice a lot of time alone when your child is usually gregarious; if something just doesn't "feel right," then it's time to talk. It may be school. It may be rink bullies. It may be numerous other reasons that certainly need attention and discussion.
However, if you honestly think there is a problem with the coach then set up a meeting with him or her to talk about what's going on. If your skater wants to, or is old enough to participate, invite them to be part of the process. If not, don't force a meeting that may make matters worse. Remember who is the adult; remember who is the employer. Go into a meeting as a business person, not as someone on a witch hunt. Your child is your lifelong investment. In order to mature, the right decisions need to be made calmly and rationally - and the most difficult part of all - with a minimum of emotion.
Easier said than done. But when all is said and done, there should only be one corner everyone is standing in and that's the one that supports your skater's dreams and goals.