Raising Elite Competitors

When a Coach Cuts Your Athlete's Confidence - Here's What To Do

November 28, 2023 Coach Bre Season 2 Episode 169
Raising Elite Competitors
When a Coach Cuts Your Athlete's Confidence - Here's What To Do
Show Notes Transcript

Ever wondered how to handle it when a coach affects your athlete’s confidence? In this episode, we’ll explore the ins and outs of this common concern and how to empower your young competitor.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Understanding that coaches are human and make mistakes.
  • The importance of open communication between athletes and coaches.
  • Shifting your mindset to see coaching challenges as growth opportunities.
  • The power of staying curious and asking for clarification.
  • Maintaining a positive perspective and avoiding gossip.
  • Empowering your athlete to take control of her mindset and confidence.
  • The significance of a strong support system for your athlete.
  • Teaching your athlete to advocate for herself and have constructive conversations with her coach.
  • How these challenges can be valuable life lessons, teaching resilience, communication, and self-confidence.

Want to dive deeper into empowering your athlete and helping her thrive under coaching challenges? Listen to the full podcast episode now!

Episode Highlights: 

[00:00] How to handle a coach who diminishes an athlete’s confidence. Exploring the issue of a coach cutting an athlete’s confidence and useful tips for addressing the situation.

[02:36] Coaching styles and communication with athletes. Learn the importance of a mindset shift for parents whose athletes are in challenging coaching situations, seeing it as an opportunity for growth rather than a negative experience.

[07:31] Athlete-coach dynamics and mental skills training. Avoid criticizing or badmouthing athletes’ coaches, as it can create conflict and make it harder for athletes to maintain a positive relationship with their coach.

[12:32] Empowering athletes to navigate challenging coach-athlete relationships. Discover the importance of athletes developing mental strength and confidence, even in the face of negative coaching behaviors.

[17:22] Empowering athletes to communicate with coaches. Parents are encouraged to help their daughters build confidence and mental skills, such as recognizing and advocating for their own competence, and surrounding themselves with support.

Next Steps:

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Welcome back to the racing elite competitors podcast. I'm coach Bree, a mental performance coach for a girl athletes. And I am so happy that you're here. Whether you have a lot of sports season under your belt as a sports mom, or you are just getting going, you are in the right place. If you are looking for strategies and tips to raise a confident, mentally strong girl athletes. So welcome today, we're talking about something that I hear a lot about, unfortunately, and on our Instagram polls and just kind of in our broader community and That is what do I do when my daughter's confidence is cut or diminished as a result of being coached by her coach. So we're going to dive into this topic and kind of the nuances that exist with it. Because this is a good one. And likely at some point in your athlete's career, she will have a coach that she either doesn't jive with, or maybe isn't the most positive all the way to potentially is a situation that she would want to get out of. So we're going to talk about all, this is a tough one, we're going to tackle, but it needs to be talked about But before we do, I want to give a shout out to a mom and an athlete in our community. So this moment athlete have been through our signature mentor training program called the elite mental game. And this is what Adri. The mom texted me the other day. She said, Bree, I want to thank you. Our 16 year old daughter needed some guidance to talk to one of her track coaches. And I pulled out your handout for talking to your coach, such a blessing. Thank you for empowering her. So what was really cool about this and his conversation sounded like it was very productive. Is that when athletes and parents join the elite mental game, they get a bonus called how to thrive under challenging coaches. Now, this is a really cool training that teaches parents how to navigate a situation that they might be in if their athlete has a very challenging coach and also for athletes, how they can navigate that situation. How they can kind of you know, go about. Playing and practicing under a challenging coach, whatever that means for them. And included in this is our five step process for how to talk to your coach because oftentimes a conversation is needed. I think an open door communication with your athlete and her coach is so vital, but oftentimes athletes have no idea how to navigate or approach an adult with you know, a power dynamic in this situation. It is tough. They're not typically taught how to do this. And so we include a five step process on how to talk to your coach, how to prepare for that meeting, what to say in the meeting, how to have followup from the meeting. And so I'm so happy that this was helpful for you, Audrey and for your daughter. All right. Let's get into today's episode. When a coach cuts your athlete's confidence here is what to do. So like I said, this is going to happen at some point in your athletes career. And this is actually a good thing. I say that because I know it's tough, especially if you're in it. But as long as your athlete is not in a situation that is abusive. So I am not talking right now about situations that are abusive, verbally, physically abusive. If that is happening. If your athlete is getting verbally abused. Physically abused. Absolutely. Get your athlete out of that situation. That is not a situation I'm talking about. I am talking about where your athlete plays for a coach that maybe is tough, maybe is not the style of coaching that your athlete is used to. Maybe it's doing things that you potentially don't agree with. Again, the aren't on ethical necessarily, but you're like, maybe you don't agree with like their coaching decisions. So the first thing I want to talk about, if you are in this situation or athlete is in this situation is a mindset shift that first you need to take. And I also need to, I mean, this boat with you, right? And that is to see this as a good thing for your athlete that can actually potentially help her. So I know that, especially if you were in it that you're like, no, this isn't good, but it actually is a good thing for your athlete to be in situations where she does feel challenged. Where she does potentially need to advocate for herself where she needs to open up a line of communication. All of these things are good. And you can actually reframe your mindset around all of the challenges that your athlete faces inside her sport. Because honestly, that's why we have them in sports. So that she is faced with some of these things where she can learn how to navigate, where she can stand up for herself, where she can learn how to have a tough conversation. Where she can learn to. You know, deal with failure and mistakes. All of those life lessons are taught inside athletics, and this is one of them, right? Where your athlete will be in a situation where maybe she doesn't like her coach or her coach is challenging in some way. And even if your athlete's coach is tough, even if they're demanding, even if, again, you don't agree with everything that they say and do this can still be a good opportunity for your athlete to grow. Now another thing that I want you to consider is that when your athletes coming to you and they are sharing stories, they are sharing examples. They're talking about situations that are happening with her coach. Get curious. Probably get curious rather than just jump in and like automatically assume not. You know, everything that your athlete is saying is 100%. The whole story. I'm not saying that. It's not, but also do know that your athlete has a perspective. The coach has a perspective. Other teammates probably have a perspective. As a parent, you have a perspective. Like there's just more to the story. And so you don't want to shut down while your athlete. You're saying you don't want to like judge them, but you do want to get curious. And so we always say I say this in the program a lot is. act like a reporter, right? Like report back the story and just kind of report back what you're hearing to your own athlete as she's talking about this. So something like your athlete will say, oh, and then coach did this or said this and you're like, oh, okay. So your coach said that you know, whatever it is, like, you need to hustle more for that ball. Okay. And you're feeling a little disappointed about that and that's what I'm picking up on, is that right? And she was like, yeah, I'm super disappointed because I tried my hardest. I'm like, oh, so I'm hearing you say that you tried your hardest. And you are feeling like your coach didn't recognize that. Is that what I'm hearing? She's like, yeah. That's exactly what I'm saying. You know, I did go all out for that ball and they didn't think I did, but I really did. And so, you know, just kind of report back so that you're at, you can kind of get the full picture of what's going on and even asking things like, okay, Tell me about where was this in practice? Was this at the beginning, was that the middle of the end? You know, what type of drill were you doing when this happened? It would just, and then what happened? Just so you can kind of get the full picture of like, okay. I see kind of what's going on here and so you can see from your athlete's perspective, but also you can get gain more context around what she's hearing. Also remember coaches are human coaches will make mistakes. As a coach myself, I do say things that I'm like, oh, I, you know, I could have said that a different way. That would have been more helpful. And probably more useful if I would have reframed that. Or if I would've said this in a different way, or, you know, I did screw up in this area and if you have a good coach, then they are recognizing that and they are hopefully repairing some of those things. But that won't happen if. Your athletes. Coach doesn't know what's going on and they can't read your daughter's mind. They do not know sometimes if your athlete is disappointed or she has a question about playing time or she doesn't know why she didn't play in that match. Coaches are human in that sense too, that they can not read your athlete's mind. And so that's why it actually is very useful to equip your daughter with the skill of being able to talk to her coach and clarify and ask like, Hey, what did you mean by this? Or can you help me understand what my role is on this team? Can you help me understand? Why after I played in the first set, I didn't play in the second set. I know there was a lot going on. I just curious, you know, is there anything I can be doing to increase my chances of playing these are all really productive ways to have a conversation. With an adult with anybody. And if we just automatically jumped to conclusions that like my daughter's court is playing favorites and my daughter's coaches doing all of these things, then we're potentially missing the opportunity. We're missing the opportunity to develop skills in our athletes. The other thing is if you are like listening to your athlete and she's talking about a situation that happened and the things you are absolutely entitled to your opinion of your athletes coach a hundred percent as we all are. Okay. Here's the deal. When you bring your opinion about your daughter's coach into the conversation, and then you start bad mouthing the coach and you start jumping on that train. This goes for your daughter's teammates too. And you start saying like, oh yeah. Why would they, I mean, like, you're so much better than that girl. Why is he playing or she's playing that person? Or why did that happen? That was just ridicule, you know? And then cutting character of your athletes, Christian, just gossiping about your athletes, coach in general. Is driving a wedge between your athlete and her coach. You are making it harder for her. If you're choosing to engage in this behavior. And so again, you are absolutely entitled to your opinions of the coach. Discuss that with somebody else, with your partner, with a friend, not with your athlete, because when you start to talk negatively about your athletes, coach, now she is in conflict. Now she is going into practice and she's supposed to have, like, in order for your athlete to be successful, part of the thing is she needs to feel supported by her coach, you know? And so now you are making her question that even more than she already was. And you are making it harder for her to maintain a positive relationship with your coach. You're making it harder for her even to have a conversation with her coach, if you're like, oh my, my mom thinks, oh, these negative things about my cup. My mom really hates my coach. And now how am I supposed to feel something different or you know, have a productive conversation with all of these other conflicting things that are going on. So. I would highly encourage you to really be the adult, but setting the example in this situation, by not talking. Negatively about your athlete's coach and this also. Automatically puts her into victim mindset. You know, if we're like, okay the whole thing of this, like teaching life lessons and learning life skills through athletics is to be problem solvers and to figure out like, okay, how can I have a conversation and how can I understand another person's perspective? Like all of these really great life skills are kind of just flipped on their head. If the automatic response. And the solution air quotes. To the situation is just to gossip about it and to like tear people down. That is really not what we want to teach our kids to do in these situations instead, it's, you know, I am hurt. This did happen. I don't understand why this happened. I am having a negative experience. What can I do about it? Where's the opportunity? What am I auctions? Okay. Not, oh, they're terrible. And this and that, like. I hope you get the point by now, but I just can't overemphasize it because I've seen it tear apart coaches and players. It's just really sad. So. Do your part in that, that's the one thing that's totally in your control. Now let's get it to what she can actually do. We teach an inside out approach when it comes to athlete, coach dynamics and relationships. And the big part of this is when I say inside out, this means that it starts with her. It starts inside her, her brain, her mind and she needs to have the skills to be able to navigate these situations. These are actually mental skills and that is part of our responsibility as parents to equip her with those skills. And so if you want to check out how to strengthen her mental game, her confidence that she is mentally strong and be able to navigate experiences like that, go to train her game.com. That is our free training for sports moms. Where we teach you exactly how to do that. And then we also talk about our thrive under challenging coaches bonus. Where she has that five step framework on how to talk to her coach. Now, when I say inside out, like I said, the first piece of this number one is inside focusing on what is in her control about this situation and empowering her to choose how she's going to respond. Is key here, empowering her to recognize that what is in her control and what is out of her control is a key to her confidence in this situation as well. So even asking her like, yeah, there's a lot of things that are out of your control in this situation, in coaching decisions. All of that. What is in your control and have her really go into that and be honest with herself about like, is she getting distracted by things that are out of her control? And she giving her energy, her confidence, her power to a coach. Right. She's being distracted this. She's letting this coach determine how she feels about herself. When really, and this is what we teach inside the program. Really her confidence is an inside job. Her competence is something that she develops and that she counts on. And yes coaches do impact an athlete's journey. And I hope that your athlete has a lot of positive coaches that she really enjoys in her life, but there will be ones that she won't. And in those situations, those are actually opportunities for her to develop that mental strength and that confidence in herself. Even more and even see it as like, okay, well, what is the issue? Is it that the coach is yelling? Is it that the coach isn't really positive coaches, not saying positive things. It's always negative coaches. Maybe she feels like it's praising other people more than her and these are kind of common things that I hear and all of those situations it can come back to. Okay. What is in my control. What does it make control is working to harness being a good teammate, focusing on my own goals and my success. What does it make control if I need to, and I'll get to, this is ask the coach questions, right? Ask the coach. Can you help me understand? Right. Tell the coach what I might need in a situation, because coaches are not mind readers they're going about their day and they're potentially not even knowing whether you think they should or not, not even knowing like that your athlete has an issue or her problem. Okay. That needs to be addressed. So just know that. But really just focusing on choosing where she's going to put her energy and what she's going to focus on. Cause she's going to focus on the fact that coach gives more praise to other people and not me then that's where her mind is going to go. I'll practice. And that's what she's going to choose to focus on. And that is going to take her away from becoming a better athlete in her sport. And so really equipping her with those mental skills to I won't go as far as like, not need her coach, but not need her coaches validation to make her feel good. Right. And that's ultimately what we want for her and her life is to not have to rely on other people. To tell her how she feels about herself now. Absolutely coaches are needed for technique for coaching. You know, all of those things, but the way that it comes out, we tell athletes like if it is an issue of yelling or not being super positive and all of that is. Listen to what coach is saying and not how they're saying it. Right. Like we say, we even give the analogy of it's a presence and people wrap their presents really well. They're beautiful bows. Like my mom, like she was just wrapping presences, so gorgeous. And you're like, I can't wait to receive this gift, you know? And it's like, oh, a beautiful gift. Okay, great. And then other people. Wrap their presents and like newspaper and for other reasons in sustainability, It's like, it doesn't look good. Right? And it doesn't look as good as the pretty wrapping paper, but it's still a gift. There's still a gift in there. And so we tell athletes like, find the gift, what is the gift? Yeah. They set it in a way that was not great for you, but there's a gift in there. Let's find it. What are they saying? Oh, they're trying to tell me to get back on defense faster. Okay. I'm going to get back on defense faster. right. So that is really where it starts. The next ring out there. You know, beyond in the, when I say inside out, so the next. Level, I would say that level one is focused on herself and what she mentally can control two, is surround her with support. So if your athlete is in a challenging environment with a coach, make sure that she has at least one or two solid teammates or friends. Who she can lean on and really are great for her mental wellbeing, her social wellbeing. Also ensure that you are checking in on her, that you are kind of keeping tabs on how she's feeling mentally and emotionally. She might need some extra support in that. And then also ensure that she has proper mental training so that she has the skills to be able to navigate some of these situations. She has a mental skills that she can use to ground herself, get back to the present moment. And so that she's just not kind of foundering out there and don't rely on her coach to teach those skills. Her coach likely will not her coach, luckily is not trained in it. So make sure that you are equipping her with those skills. All right. The last layer is advocate. So empower her with the tools to ask her the questions that she needs from her coach. There absolutely can be confusion, misunderstanding lots of things go on when it comes to the coach athlete relationship and not all coaches are really great communicators. Your daughter's. Which likely has some strengths, right? Identify what those strengths are. And maybe that's like, that is their thing. That is their super power. All coaches have weaknesses, just like you have weaknesses and your athlete has weaknesses. And maybe communication is one of them maybe you know, not being super positive is one of them. If you see that as a weakness but if there was a situation. And maybe you're off, he's kind of getting hung up on it. If there's a situation, if they said something, if there's a planning time issue, the best thing you could do is empower her with the skill to have a conversation with her coach. And depending on your athlete's age, I suggest that you be there to kind of as a third party. It is very hard for an athlete, especially because of the power dynamic to first of all, approach to the coach, have a conversation. And then coach also. You're not responsible for how the coach respond. And of course there might be some thoughts of like, oh, retaliation in and all that. I want you to help your athlete way that decision, you know, and really get her to a point where either you need to move on from this, whatever the thing was that happened or reframe it, or you need to have a conversation. It can't be in this limbo land where you were being basically controlled by this coach. And by Whatever a situation is. Okay. And I know I'm giving kind of a blanket. Recommendation here and there are so many nuances to this, right. So many nuances to all situations. Okay. So I absolutely understand that. This is just kind of a starting point for you. Initiating and conversation and just ha empowering your athlete to say something like, Hey coach. Do you have five minutes after practice? I was confused about something I would like to chat. Okay putting it out there and then empower your athlete to know exactly what she is asking and come about it with a place of curiosity rather than accusation. And this goes to also with you know, if you're having conversation with the coach, if it kind of comes to that piece as well, that you know, recognize the good that is happening. You know, saying something like, Hey, I know you want to create a positive culture. And you really care about your athletes success. One thing that is happening with my athlete, just so that you're aware is better, blah, blah, blah. Okay. And that's more of like, if you're having conversation, but empower your daughter to say something similar as well. Like, Hey, I know coach that you've talked about how it's really important that we are taking coaching and that we're doing what you're asking. I don't know, come up with something that like coach values or something that is good about the situation. One thing that I'm struggling with in that area is that I need more feedback when it comes to my defense. Okay. And so again, if I hear this a lot, like coach isn't coaching me or all that. Okay. Ask to be coached and say like, Hey, next practice. If we do need defensive drills, do you mind watching a few reps and giving me some feedback? If it's around playing time, Hey coach can you help me understand what my role is on this team and how much playing time associated with that? And is there anything I can do to get more playing time? So there are ways that your athlete, and again, this might take a sit down a role playing thing where like, you're the coach, they're the athlete. And I know you're having that conversation and I would recommend if they're young, you know, like. I don't know, I'm probably like 13 or younger. That you are present for that conversation, or if they just need just support you're not leading that conversation, but you were just there for support for your athlete and just to be a third party as well. Okay. So. Caveat here. If there is suspicion of abuse jumping immediately. Okay. If you sense any of that, anything going on? Jump in, but also if there is a situation that you're like, yeah, I don't know what was, like my daughter is saying this I need to fill in the pieces here. Absolutely have a conversation and approach it with like, can you help me understand this is what I'm hearing. I just want to hear it from your perspective as well, you know, instead of jumping in and accusing or all of that, this is just a general way that you can. Navigate this in a way that hopefully will turn out very productive and very positive. Because as a coach, I have had really great interactions with parents and also like a few that haven't been great. And that just comes with coaching. It comes with the game. And the ones that do approach it with like, Hey this is what I'm hearing. Can help me. Understand the situation and those are just way more productive conversations then. Any sort of like accusatory. Way to start a conversation. So, okay. I give you a lot. In this episode, I went on a couple of tangents here, but hopefully this is something that will give you a starting place for this very nuanced and very complicated topic of when your daughter's coach cuts her confidence. First remember that your daughter's confidence is her confidence and teaching her to recognize that. My confidence is mine, and I don't have to give it to anybody else's and really equipping her with those mental skills to build and navigate that also surrounding her with support and helping her advocate for herself so that she can have a conversation and open those lines of communication is, very important. All right. If you want to dive deeper into how to strengthen your athlete, daughter's competence her mental game, and also how she can talk to her coach, have that framework and then go to train her game.com where we talk about all of it. And we can go a little more in depth. All right. Moms, I'm coach Bri mental performance coach for girl athletes. And I will see you in the next episode of the raising elite competitors podcast.