Coach: It’s messed up because of how the mom handled this... so I think it would be best to just get the hell out.
Me: I think the mom needs a clean break, too. Not sure she knows it.
Coach: I just don't feel like she really appreciated or trusted anything I did for her skater. And I really feel like more of this is coming from the mom than the skater. The mom puts all these ideas in the skater’s head... and the skater believes it because it's mom.
Me: I know exactly what you’re saying. It’s really powerful; I destroyed my daughter’s ability to work with Dance Coach because I couldn't work with him. I should write a post.
Coach: Just about your experience as a parent/coach?
Me: yeah-- about how I sabotaged DD and Dance Coach without meaning or wanting to and how long it took me to really come to terms with that, if I ever have. Not that he or she were blameless, but I certainly was a trigger.
Coach: I think it's great that you were able to see that about yourself. A lot of other parents wouldn't, I don't think. They see it as caring or worrying or some other sort of parental feeling.
Coach: The mom is insisting on having this "conversation" away from the rink... I told her I had 15 minutes between freestyles I could give her in person, but apparently she didn't understand that it was only 15 minutes.
Me: Make her buy you coffee before work. It will be less stressful to do it on neutral ground away from both party's support systems. Off site is a good idea.
Coach: I just don't feel like donating the time anymore. She pretty much ruined it. I've been more than accommodating to her and their schedules and their constantly canceling last minute, answering all of the ridiculous questions while trying to steer her in the right direction.
Me: No, don't burn bridges. Keep the friendship. Nothing deteriorates only on one side, plus you lose nothing by eating a little crow.
Coach This was a one-sided thing, Xan.
Me: I agree. But it gains you nothing to fight it out anymore.
Coach: For all the reasons I mentioned before, I stayed consistent, I kept the mom informed of the things she needed to know about, I've pushed that kid to the point of tears and spent, now, hours answering her many emails. Then she cancels several lessons and I’m still supposed to set aside my free time to talk to her. I have to talk on my terms, when I have the time now. If she does not want to take the time out of her schedule and truly do something when it's convenient for me, I'm not going to waste my time anymore.
Coach: I'm tired of all these parents making coaches jump through hoops. Coaching relationships have really changed. The current generation of parents is not willing to let the coach be the coach.
NB: This skater has since worked with 4 different coaches, and is having trouble with the same elements and with progress in general for the same reason: the mom won't leave the coaching to the coaches, won't maintain a consistent practice schedule, and tells the skater that the lack of progress is because the coaches don't understand the skater. The lesson being learned here is all on the side of the coaches-- don't take this skater seriously, and avoid the mom at all costs.
Have you had a coaching relationship spiral out of control? Share your experience--where did you go wrong, where did the coach go wrong, where did it get away from both parties?