WHAT IF YOU HAVE TO CUT A PLAYER?
The first thing to remember is that, whether the athlete shows it or not, he or she is likely to feel disappointed, rejected, and humiliated. The youngster needs support during this very difficult time. You can provide support by acknowledging the disappointment felt by the child. Don't tell the child not to be disappointed or make unrealistic excuses for why it happened. Both of those approaches will delegitimize the athlete's feelings, and do more harm than good. We must all learn to face disappointments in a healthy manner - it's a life lesson.
WHAT IF AN ATHLETE WANTS TO QUIT?
At one time or another, and for a number of reasons, many athletes think of quitting. Sometimes a decision to quit comes as a shock to the coaches, but other times the warning signs point in that direction.
In youth sports, most often quitting comes from two main reasons - the sport isn't fun anymore or another interest takes its place.
Sport not being fun anymore is the number 1 reason kids give for quitting. This comes from many different sources - lack of playing time, not playing the desired position, negative experience with the coach, boredom, excessive fear of failure, etc.
It is recommended the coach expend every effort to remind the player a commitment was made to the team and it's a good lesson for that commitment to be honored.
WHEN INJURY PREVENTS PARTICIPATION
This is likely less hurtful to the athlete's self-esteem but is no less frustrating. One of the disappointments of being injured is that the youngster no longer feels like a part of the team.
Coaches can counteract this by making sure the athlete is included in team practices in some capacity. Scorebooks, charts, leading stretching are all examples of great ways for injured players to be a part of the team.
One way the athlete can prepare for the return to play is with mental rehearsals. Using imagery, visualizing one's self conducting the same movements as those in practice, could help the athlete to maintain the same proficiency level as before the injury.
UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR BY OTHER COACHES
This is one of the toughest situations for a coach to be placed in. Sometimes coaches witness unacceptable behavior by other coaches that could have serious negative consequences. Sometimes the difficult part is deciding whether or not it's appropriate or necessary for you to get involved. When does appropriate concern turn into interfering? Consider your reactions when the following situations arise:
You see a coach verbally or physically mistreating youngsters.
The coach is engaging in unacceptable behavior, such as bad language, inappropriate touching, or hazing of officials or opponents.
The coach is using technically incorrect, questionable, or possibly dangerous coaching methods.
The coach is losing perspective of the purpose of youth sports and seems preoccupied with winning, thus putting additional stress on the athletes.
Because each of those situations is somewhat unique, many of the answers aren't clear. However, when instances such as these appear, it would be a mistake not to consider them problems. As uncomfortable as it may be to either confront or report another coach, we must never lose sight of the primary focus - the welfare of the children.
If you have a personal relationship with the coach that will permit you from approaching him or her with your concerns, this can be a useful avenue to resolving the problem. On the other hand, it may be necessary to express your concerns to the program administrators, whose responsibility it is to take the appropriate remedial actions.