Have you ever been in a situation that required a difficult conversation with your coach? Maybe you felt hurt by a recent decision. Or, maybe you’re uncomfortable with the way he/she behaved toward you or another teammate.
Telling people you respect that they’ve done something upsetting can feel awkward. But, knowing how to tackle difficult discussions is invaluable skill to cheer, dance, and life. We’ve put together some pointers to make your discussion as stress-free as possible.
When in doubt, wait it out. Give your problem a little time and space to breathe before you act on it. In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to collect yourself and articulate why you’re upset. A little cool-headed thinking can help you identify what bothered you and how you’d like to address it with your coach.
Protect practice time. Your coaches want to run a productive program. Bringing up problems during practice can distract from valuable rehearsal time, and reflect badly on you. To make sure your concerns receive your coaches’ full attention, wait until practice has ended. Even better, set up a separate one-on-one meeting to discuss serious matters in private. A responsive coach will understand and respect your decision to plan a difficult conversation in advance.
Keep your cool. Steer clear of angry or tearful confrontations. If you need to, plan and practice talking points in advance. Focus on how the coach’s decision made you feel, as opposed to what you think he/she did wrong. For example, say “It hurt my feelings when you removed my tumbling pass from the sequence. I’m interested in learning more about your decision and what I can do to earn my spot back.” This will likely yield a more positive response than, “You’re being totally unfair. I’ve worked too hard for you to take my tumbling pass out of the routine.” See the difference?
No matter how you decide to approach your coach, stay calm, open-minded, direct and honest. Your coach will appreciate your maturity and self-advocacy.