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This chapter is from the book

Communicating with Opponents and Umpires

Three key words here: respect, dignity, restraint.

Besides being your players’ coach, you are also their role model, whether you like it or not. And how you communicate with opposing coaches, players, and umpires speaks volumes about what kind of role model you are.

If you have a question for an umpire, ask it at the proper time and without showing up the umpire or unnecessarily slowing the game. Treat the umpires, and the opposing coaches, with the same respect you’d like to be shown.

At the ends of games, line up your players and lead them as you shake hands with the other team. Instruct your players to be respectful as they shake or slap hands. Also thank the umpires for volunteering their time.

The Absolute Minimum

This chapter was all about what, when, and how to communicate with your players, parents, league administrators, opposing coaches and players, and umpires. Key points included

  • Use the 10 keys to being a good communicator. Those keys are 1) Know your message; 2) Make sure you are understood; 3) Deliver your message in the proper context; 4) Use appropriate emotions and tones; 5) Adopt a healthy communication style; 6) Be receptive; 7) Provide helpful feedback; 8) Be a good nonverbal communicator; 9) Be consistent; and 10) Be positive.

  • Contact parents before the season begins, sharing information about your coaching philosophy and practice and game schedules, and paving the way for healthy communication throughout the season.

  • Let parents know what you expect of them, in terms of positive team support, and what they can expect of you.

  • Suggest ways parents can be actively involved in supporting and helping the team.

  • Work through the challenging situations parents sometimes present. Keep your players’ best interests in mind as you work for win-win situations.

  • If you have reason to believe a player has been abused, report it to local authorities.

  • Give the umpires and opponents the same respect you would like to be shown. Be a model of good sporting behavior for your players.

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