Coach VS Athlete: Tips For Parents

Disclaimer: “This article has been produced by an independent contributor and does not reflect the views and opinions of the SRCMS team or the brand as a whole.”

Whether your child is participating in recreational sport (or seeking representation at a higher level), it can be challenging to know how to handle disputes, problems, and conflicts within the team.

This is made especially difficult when the conflict arises with their coach.

Fortunately, when this situation arises, there are several steps you can take to encourage resolution between your child and their coach.

To start with, it’s important to resist the urge to immediately interfere and contact the coach directly. Depending on the age of your child, it’s important to allow them the appropriate time and space to handle this conflict on their own.

This encourages conflict resolution skills, independence, and effective communication- all very important skills that should be nurtured and encouraged.

That said, there are steps you can take to improve the chances of peaceful resolution.


Encourage Open Communication

Communication should be established early in the season, to set expectations and discuss the best ways to handle conflict and approach challenges together. This is the ideal scenario and is a proactive way to foster communication and positive conflict resolution.


Change Your Perspective

It’s important to put the situation in perspective when considering how to approach the conflict. Coaches have a lot of demands on their time, energy, and resources. Being aware of this might help create a more balanced approach and give perspective in how to approach the matter from a problem-solving mindset.


Encourage Direct Communication

Where possible, encourage your child to directly communicate with their coach and seek resolution that way. Instead of immediately jumping in, it’s important to temper this approach by letting your child have the opportunity to empower themselves and directly discuss their problems with their coach.


Approach The Proper Authorities

If you feel the conflict goes beyond a simple personality clash (and is a case of abuse or harassment), it is worth reporting this to the relevant authorities immediately. Your child’s mental health and safety is always a priority, and you shouldn’t feel any reluctance to approach the administration where necessary.


Consider Mediation

If you feel the complaint requires more than a simple conversation (but perhaps doesn’t warrant a full report), mediation can be the solution. This is especially relevant is in-person communications with the coach has been unsuccessful.

Mediation gives your child, and their coach, the opportunity to tell their side of the story to a non-biased, impartial mediator, who is there to help facilitate a peaceful compromise, and a positive resolution for all involved.


There are many reasons to seek mediation, but some of the most common complaints and issues include:

  • A complaint about on or off field behaviour of a coach, volunteer, parent, or sportsperson
  • A dispute about selection for a particular team or event
  • A complaint about club management, culture, or a policy
  • A complaint of wrongdoing by a volunteer, coach, individual team member or their parent
  • Complaints of bullying, harassment, or discrimination
  • A dispute about inappropriate use of social media in a sporting setting

Mediation is there to facilitate the best possible resolution, while helping mend relationships and improve teamwork moving forward.


Interested in learning more about the sports mediation process?

The team of legal mediation experts at SRDMS are here to help guide you through the mediation process and reach the best possible outcome for all parties. You can do it 100% online or opt to use a managed service where the SRDMS personnel do everything for you, from start to finish.

Want to know more, or enquire about your sporting dispute? Simply fill out the form on the contact page and they’ll be in touch.