3 Steps for Handling Issues with a Coach

In every sport you will hear parents and players complain about “bad” coaches. We asked a long-term hockey director what parents should do when this situation arises. Read on for his advice.

First, you need to dissect what you mean that the coach “isn’t working out” or is a “bad coach.” Oftentimes, a close look at parents’ complaints reveals something other than an issue with development or the team’s win/loss record. Sometimes it’s a personal conflict with the coach. Other times it’s a belief that their player is not getting the ice time he or she deserves—or even that the player is not playing on the same line with his or her friends (or the parents’ friends)! There will always be situations in which a family believes the coach is not doing a good job—and sometimes it is a real concern.

When a real concern arises, follow these steps:

  1. First, speak with the team manager.

  2. If that doesn’t help, ask for a face-to-face meeting with the coach. It should not be a confrontational meeting, but more of a discussion of the issues.

  3. If you feel things are still not improving, ask for a meeting with your association’s hockey director or board member who handles these types of issues.

The best way to ensure that the discussion is honest, upfront and not behind the coach’s back is to make sure there is a good line of communication. I do believe all coaches—even the ones who might not be getting it done—want the player to have fun and develop.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Angelo Ricci for sharing his 15 years of expertise as a hockey director in this article. Ricci is founder, head instructor and consultant for Ricci Hockey Consulting. With 20+ years experience as a skills and stickhandling coach, he conducts/oversees more than 40 programs year-round that develop over 1,000 players each year.
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