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What Can I Do About Coach Benching My Child?

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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.

"My son, age 13, has played and won 5 championships and has been a starter for 5 years. Coach voted him MVP last season, and my son was a big factor in his first year of success as a coach. This year, the coach yells at my son, and when my son does make a play, the coach says nothing but 'Get to the bench.' I, and others, don't understand. I'm thinking of withdrawing my son. First, I'd like to know if I am overreacting."

PCA Response by Joe Scally, PCA Trainer-Chicago
Because of the tremendous amounts of time and energy coaches commit to their teams, they have the prerogative to decide playing time. Of course, coaches must follow league guidelines regarding playing time. Absent a violation of those rules, we discourage parents from questioning a coach's decision about playing time. A situation of reduced playing time is often frustrating for a parent, but it is an opportunity for the player to learn a variety of life lessons.

One of the most important ones is how to speak to someone in authority regarding ways to achieve one's goals. You could encourage your son to speak directly to the coach about getting more playing time or playing a different position. You should coach your son on how to have a respectful conversation. He can ask questions such as "Is there something I can be doing better?" or "What can I do to best help the team?" This might be a difficult conversation for a 13 year old, but it is a developmentally appropriate step.

Download a printable version of this resource, including any additional commentary from PCA, by clicking the PDF below. To read more questions and answers like this, or to submit your own question to the Ask PCA blog, click here.

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