Yesterday, I showed up to teach my Acroyoga class at the YMCA and witnessed a verbal altercation between a parent and a coach. The interaction upset me enough to write this post.

I’ve written about this here and a somewhat relative post on comp behavior.

The hardest part of coaching is almost always dealing with the parents (though for me, it is sometimes also at odds with my administrators over what a cheer team should be).

Last night, a parent approached a coach and said she could no longer talk to his child. This parent did this in front of other coaches and staff in a short and argumentative tone, which I overheard. After the initial conversation, the parent continued to throw his weight around, even talking about the money he donated to the Y or something like that.

His behavior was completely unacceptable, and I was incensed about it. I went to the person in charge of the program and said my piece about how the parent was out of line. Full disclosure: I am not a parent.

I understand and respect that the parent was trying to protect his child. Protecting your children is your job as a parent. Disagreeing with how a coach talks to your child is also okay. Having a conversation with a coach about their coaching methodology is also OK. What is not OK is arguing with the coach in public. It is also okay to find a different program if you prefer a different way than how your child is being coached.

I wouldn’t be writing this if the parent asked the coach to speak privately and talk calmly about their concerns. I wouldn’t be on the fence about submitting a bad review for a local business. I wouldn’t have as much reservation as I do about coaching younger age groups.

Note for parents: coaching is hard and often thankless work. Often time the children don’t understand what is going on, even if they are convinced they do. They may have one version of the story, and the coach may have a different perspective. Parents, if you are dealing with a couple of kids, imagine coping with a 10:1 child-to-teacher ratio or worse. Coaching is a challenge; please consider that when deciding how to treat your coaches. Please consider that you and the coach are usually adults while the kids are kids.