How to Handle Disagreements with Your Coach

As cheerleaders, these seem to follow us everywhere, am I right? Well, I have news for you: these don’t follow us because we are cheerleaders, but because we are people. Intermixing different personalities, ages, values and thought processes naturally brings friction. Conflict is something that, even as adults, will always be around.

Learning how to deal with conflict can significantly improve the health and longevity of your relationships. It’s easy to understand why conflict between teammates should be addressed, but the same is true for conflict with coaches. Whether the disagreement stems from differences in personality or which stunt sequence to use in your routine, we’re here to help you resolve it.

REMEMBER THESE 4 C’S and you and your coach will be on your way to a healthy, thriving relationship.

Converse Openly
When conflict arises, it’s important that you’re able to communicate open and honestly. Set up a time to speak with your coach about how you’re feeling and why. Be honest with your emotions. It could be that your coach didn’t even realize you felt that way, so putting it out in the open could be the only step you need to resolve the situation. Be aware that you may not come away from the conversation satisfied. Coaches will appreciate your honesty, but that doesn’t always mean you’ll get the response you were looking for.

Choose Respect and Trust
Disagreements should not equal disrespect. Positions of authority must always be respected, though this doesn’t mean you have to agree with their every decision. In fact, disagreements can be healthy when handled correctly, as they present an opportunity for different perspectives and multiple solutions.

Just as important is trust. This may be the hardest part, but your coach was selected for a reason and their boss trusts them to do the right thing. Coaches are looking at the bigger picture; they cannot make decisions based solely on your stunt group or this week’s game. They are always thinking down the road, about how this stunt group, this practice and this routine will affect future practices, performances and seasons.

Cater to the Circumstance
Don’t treat every situation equally, because they are not. This takes some observation. First, recognize your coach’s personality type. Some are more laid back and welcome what you have to say; others might be more uptight or resistant to feedback.

Second, consider who is involved. Some conflicts involve teammates and others do not. Also, examine possible motives. Why is the coach acting this way? What is the reason behind his/her decision? What is the end goal? Examine your own motives as well. Can you justify your feelings? Is selfish ambition involved? If so, that’s okay. The first step to resolving conflict is to recognize our own objectives and
possible shortcomings.

Check the Attitude
You’ve probably heard it before, but check your attitude and ego at the door. It’s impossible to control how our coaches act (or react), but we are definitely in control of our own words and actions.

Approach each situation with humility, even if you’re the one who may be right, as coaches will be more willing to hear you out and more open to dialogue. When you approach any situation with arrogance or a negative attitude, communication barriers are thrown up immediately and you’re less likely to come to a mutual understanding.

Beyond remedying issues with your coach, learning to deal with conflict head-on will make life easier in all regards. Instead of acting passive aggressively or gossiping, make a conscious effort from this point forward to handle conflict maturely, with level-headedness and respect. This will earn you respect from your coaches and peers and will lead to honest, mutually beneficial relationships.