Before you criticize a Coach…

It happened again! Almost every time I am watching the game from the stands, I’ll hear parents questioning the coach while talking among themselves. I’ve been on the receiving end too – from spouses, officials and even volunteers. In some rare cases, they not only question my methods and/or tactics, but also advise the players to go against them.

Before people criticize coaches (or anyone), they should first ponder over these questions (or perhaps they should themselves go try coaching for a season first)…

  1. Am I criticizing so that I can have an excuse to say “I’m better than you”?
  2. Am I blaming the coach so that I’ll have an excuse to defend my kid or spouse when comparing them with the better athletes?
  3. Is the coach really doing something incorrectly OR, I just have a preference for how a coach should be like? (Some parents may unknowingly prefer coaches who are like themselves, i.e., biased towards their own kids just like themselves).
  4. Do I have the whole picture? A coach may seem to be overly harsh on a player, or be deemed unfair in his handling of the team. Perhaps she has good reasons for doing so and I should clarify with her instead?

Of course, some criticism are well-meaning and since we can’t afford to stop learning and listening, we should be open to suggestions on how we can get better. On our part, we can also be more proactive by having meetings with partners to establish certain communication guidelines, and to also share our training plan with them whenever possible.

“Learn to take criticism seriously but not personally.” Hillary Clinton

Anyways, as coaches, I reckon criticism is to be expected…that’s the nature of our job isn’t it? In fact some of the most critical people are coaches themselves – often of other coaches! Sometimes we just have to close our ears and let these fellas say what they want to say lah…it’s their problem, not mine.

Coach Hansen

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