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Issue Date: June 2007 Issue

Help! My son’s Little League coach keeps flirting with me.

Kim Schneider
What’s wrong with a little harmless flirting? A lot if it’s with your son or daughter’s coach, says Jack J. Lesyk, director of the Ohio Center for Sport Psychology in Beachwood. “Even though it might not go anywhere, it becomes a slippery slope,” he says. “You’re there for your child and any kind of unusual relationship with a coach is going to complicate the relationship with the child.”

And the older and more competitive your child gets, the more harmful flirting can become. “Your children are getting serious about their sports and are competing for playing time and the coach’s attention,” he says. “It could put that child at an unfair advantage or disadvantage with the other kids.”

If the flirtation is unwelcome, Lesyk suggests ignoring it. If that doesn’t work, something needs to be said. “Talk one-on-one with the person for a brief moment just to say you’re uncomfortable,” he says.

What if you are the one with the hots for the coach? “Don’t go there,” Lesyk says. “Or just wait until the season is over.”— Kim Schneider
3.3% of people say they have flirted with their child’s coach/teacher or their child’s coach/teacher has flirted with them.

How do I approach my son’s coach about his playing time?

Has your kid been warming the bench for three straight games? If so, it might be time to talk to the coach. If you do, Jack J. Lesyk, director of the Ohio Center for Sport Psychology in Beachwood, has some suggestion on what to say and do to get your kid into the game.
Understand the coach. Look at your child objectively. How good is he or she and how much is he or she contributing? “Remember, your job may be different from the coach’s. Their job is to produce a winning team, while your job is to advocate for your child so they get a fair chance in life.”
Be diplomatic. State your case without anyone else witnessing it. Start out with your observation that your child hasn’t been playing. And find out what your child needs to do to get more playing time. “If the coach reflects on it and sees some unfairness, that alone might lead to him making a correction.”
Stick to your guns. “If you get an antagonistic response then, as a parent, your main job is the development of your child and you may want to consider moving to a different league or different team.”

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