by Lisa Meyers, NCSA Recruiting Coach Director
At some point during every high school athlete’s career he or she will need to initiate dialogue with their coach. Whether an athlete is concerned about playing time, coaching style or wants to ask some basic questions, it is important to address the high school/club coach in a mature and respectful manner.
Many high school students make the mistake of hiding behind their parents. High school and club coaches prefer to be approached directly by one of their players rather than a parent, even if the parent has good intentions. College coaches have the same mentality so communication at the high school level is actually practice for the recruiting process. When a student-athlete communicates directly with his or her coach it ensures that the message is not lost in translation and it also shows the coach that the young man or women is serious and passionate about their hockey career.
Never approach a coach immediately after a game. Whether their team won or lost, coaches and players will have high emotions following a competition and it is always wise to wait twenty four hours before initiating a serious conversation. The coach deserves time to cool down, relax or clear their head, and sometimes players will have a different perspective after removing themselves from an intense situation.
Listen. Any conversation with a coach is an opportunity for a player to learn something about his or herself, their team and sport. Let the coach talk and hear what he or she says. Even if one disagrees, they should try to remain calm and speak rationally.
Most coaches want to help their players, although they may not always be able to provide the exact answers the athletes seek. Remember that even the most intimidating of coaches are involved for their love of the game and their desire to help young hockey players improve. Reasonable, intelligent questions should not go unasked for fear of angering a high school or club coach.