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How To Handle A Hard Foul

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"Recently, my son's U-12 indoor soccer team played a girls' team. My son inadvertently committed a hard foul. My son's coach removed him from the game for the remainder of the period. I wish the coach instead would have talked to my son during the downtime, telling him to play hard but not so aggressively, and left him in the game. Whose approach is preferable? And, should I tell the coach what approach will get the best out of my son?"

PCA Response by Al Adamsen, PCA Trainer-San Francisco
This is an intricate situation with many variables: the physical play up to that point, the tone of the game, your son's disposition during the game, etc. Your first step should be to discuss the matter with your son. Taking an "ask-rather-than-tell" approach would be ideal: "How did you feel about that game?"

If your son seems upset with how the coach handled the situation, then you can encourage your son to talk with the coach about it. Taking the initiative to have this conversation with the coach is a valuable life lesson opportunity for your son, and by jumping in too quickly, you would deprive him of this lesson.

If your son's conversation with his coach still leaves you feeling concerned, you can ask the coach for a private, one-on-one meeting or phone call. When contacting the coach, I suggest being inquisitive and doing what you can to not put the coach on the defensive. Seek to understand the coach's thinking before sharing your thoughts and ideas.

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