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How To Handle An Opposing Coach Laughing At Mistakes

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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.

"How should I handle it when the opposing coach laughs at my team's mistakes and my players can see and hear it? Do I say something to her at the end of the game? Or just use it as a teachable moment with my own players?”

PCA Response by Ruben Nieves, PCA Director of Training
It is possible that the opposing coach is unaware that her laughter is hurtful to your players. Whether or not this is the case, I think it is reasonable to say something.

This may be enough to get her to change her behavior, or maybe not. But the main reason adult misbehavior at youth sporting events continues is because no one says anything to them about it.

It is important to deliver the message in a non-attacking matter of fact way. I also recommend delivering the message at a time when she can best “hear” your message and know that you are not trying to embarrass her. So immediately after the game might not be the best time.

You might ask her if there is a time you can call her about an important play matter. Then when you call her you can ask permission again by saying, “Can I tell you about something you are doing that is hurtful to the players on my team?”

If she says no or resists, then I recommend leaving it as is. You will at least have planted the seed for her to consider if her behavior is appropriate.

If she gives you permission, then you can say, “I just want you to know that when you laugh when my team makes mistakes, it is very hurtful to them. “

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