Playing time can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss with a coach. Especially in youth athletics. Most of the time the issue stems from some player feeling like they aren't getting enough playing time, innings, or at bats. This in turn rubs moms the wrong way especially because no mother wants to see their child hurt or disappointed. Also, often times teams charge quite a bit of money, and nobody likes to have their money wasted. However, the simple mathematical fact of the matter is that someone will occupy a seat on the bench. But, there is good news. Coaches are not totally void of emotion (most of them) and many have kids of their own. If you'd like to learn how to best communicate with a coach about the subject of playing time, here are some techniques to try.
Unfortunately, one of the most frustrating things for a head coach to deal with during a course of a baseball season is a player or a parent who chirp
from the bench or stands about lack of playing time. Often times I've seen these methods do more harm than good for the situation. There are three ways to communicate with a coach about a concern. The most effective is listed first and the least effective listed last.
1. In person and face to face.
2. Over the phone.
3. In writing, that is letter format, email, text messaging, instant messaging, etc.
The most efficient method to express concern is through face to face communication. While I understand that this method can be somewhat intimidating and uncomfortable for a player, and some parents, this method has some obvious benefits. First, face to face communication affords a coach the ability to read into the emotion of the person he/she is talking with. Secondly, and most importantly, body language is visible. Body language reveals an amazing amount of information. A sincere conversation on playing time with the correct positive body language can communicate concern properly. Because of this, live conversation will give you the best potential means for clear communication.
Phone conversation is another viable method to communicate a sensitive subject. Tone of voice then takes the place of body language. It's important to give a coach time to explain reasoning completely without interrupting or getting into a verbal disagreement without the usage of body language. If face to face delivery of a concern cannot be achieved, phone communication still allows emotion to be expressed effectively. Sometimes physical distance between a parent and a coach may require that a phone is used.
The least effective method is written communication. Now I say this with one reservation. A letter sent PRIOR to a formal meeting is sometimes an effective way of "breaking the ice" in a conversation. The easy and availability of email has become second nature for many, however, because of the potential misinterpretation of words and tone, great care should be taken when composing a message. There is no guarantee that the emotion expressed in an email from a player or parent to a coach will be received with the same intent as was meant when it was composed. At worst, a coach may interpret a concern as challenging, or even argumentative.
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