What do you mean you don’t discuss playing time?
I hope you mean, “I don’t discuss playing time with an irate parent immediately following a game.”
I hope you mean, “I don’t discuss playing time with a boastful parent whose son just hit a walk-off single minutes ago, and now wants to tell me why he should have been a starter all along.”
I hope you mean, “I don’t discuss playing time with a parent who calls me on the phone and begins the conversation by threatening me or cursing at me.”
But you don’t. You mean that you don’t discuss playing time with parents as a rule. Your rule is, you don’t discuss playing time with a parent who is interested in finding out why their child isn’t playing more.
That’s a fireable offense.
Some of my friends have this rule. They need to change this rule.
Let’s make sure we are on the same page. If a parent approaches you calmly and asks you if you have some time soon to discuss his son Zach’s playing time, and your response is, “sorry Mr. Smith, I don’t discuss playing time,” that’s nonsense. That’s unacceptable. That’s fear.
I think the student-athlete should approach the coach first. Unquestionably, many times the parent’s playing time wishes do not align with the student-athlete’s. The life-skill practice of a young person advocating for himself, having an uncomfortable face-to-face conversation, and communicating his feelings to an adult with authority, is invaluable. But if the player-to-coach conversation does not yield clarity, a parent has the right to hear the coach’s philosophy on his child’s playing time.
I am not even sure what the counterargument could be.
As coaches we have power and responsibility. Using these privileges to communicate our reasons and philosophies to our student-athletes’ families is not only part of our job, it’s a great way to build trust.
It can be said that telling the truth in a calm, reasoned way is the essential communication work of our profession.
This includes discussing playing time.