Soccer Coach Not Playing Your Child? Do This

As a parent, it can be frustrating when a soccer coach is not playing your child. Maybe they are not getting enough game time or whenever games are tight. The coach opts to take them off the pitch. These types of situations happen everywhere. These types of situations provide valuable learning experiences for the child and the parent.

Adversity is something we all have to face at some point and it looks different for everyone. This article aims to give some advice about how to deal with these situations positively.

soccer coach not playing your child

Learn how to address a soccer coach not playing your child. Effective strategies, communication tips, and expert advice to support the player.

What should you do if the soccer coach is not playing your child?

First, you have to decide if this problem is yours or the children’s. Whilst at practice is important that you listen and observe the coach to see if your child is misreading information or detail that the coach provided.

Communicate with the coach to clarify if any sort of change is required to boost the minutes. Finally, take ownership, once the parent and the child are clear on the change required, effort, commitment, and hard work are required by the player to move them toward the desired change.

soccer coach Not Playing with your Child

First and foremost check in with yourself. Is the child getting the same treatment as everyone else. For example, equal game time, and playing in different positions. But the fact that the coach moves your son or daughter into a different position or takes them off the pitch when they are doing well is the part that frustrates you.

Ask yourself if coaches’ actions bother you more than they bother your child. Quite often the child is not too bothered about their lack of game time, they are clear about their strengths and weaknesses and happy to be part of their team the way things are.

If the child is showing some concern or frustration with the game time it’s important for you as a parent to put some perspective on things. Make sure that this is the case before you approach the coach try to ensure that the child is clear on it.

Be clear about what they have to do to earn additional game time. That way you are acting in a supportive manner as opposed to agreeing straight away with the child and getting into conflict with the coach.

Soccer Coach Not Playing Your Child: Do This First?

The first action I would recommend is to attend training and a matchday over a couple of weeks. Take note of your child’s effort, commitment, and application to both situations. Watch how they apply themselves and question yourself. Are they putting in the maximum effort?, Do they listen to the coach and do as they are asked? Are they well-behaved?

These basic questions may reveal some answers to your questions about game time.

It is important that you also take some time to listen to the detail the coach gives your child. If you are close enough to do so. Quite often a child says they understand what is expected of them but in reality, they don’t.

These misinterpretations or misreadings of situations can sometimes lead to a lack of minutes or game time. Then if there is a simple solution the child can put this right relatively quickly.

If you feel that your child ticks the right boxes with regards to the questions above and they are not misreading a situation, then take a look at their actual performance.

Check out this article on playing time HERE

How is your child performing?

When looking at performance ask. How successful are they within games, drills, or practices? What influence are they having on games, drills, or practice? How do they react to errors or setbacks? If you cannot answer these questions in a positive light then chances are the issue is within one of these areas and this is the information you may want to sit down with your child and discuss or clarify with the coach if you ask for feedback.

If you spend some time observing and still feel that there is a problem. Maybe it is time to speak to the coach.

I would recommend you give the coach a heads-up that you would like to chat. Be clear with the topic. Try to arrange this for after a training session rather than a game.

Emotions can be high following good or bad performances from coaches, parents, and players. It, therefore, makes sense to chat on a training day.

Are there any specific reasons why a soccer coach might not be playing my child?

  • Injury: Is your child growing and showing signs of an overuse injury (heels, knees, hips, back). Game time and training load needs to be managed to manage the symptoms of this
  • Physicality: Is the coach protecting the child from physical mismatches? These can be detrimental to their overall development and well-being. So in games they play in different positions or get taken off
  • Attendance and Punctuality: If your child constantly turns up late or missing practice, it can send a bad message to others. If your child gets the same game time as everyone else even when they do not show the same levels of commitment
  • Attitude: Does your child want to be there? Do they play because they love the sport and want to get better? Or do they play because you want them to? Are they giving their best effort? How well do they engage? Do they give up at the first sign of defeat? Attitude could be a reason your child is not getting the game time they want.

Check out this article HERE about what to do if a coach is ignoring your child

Coach to Play Your Child

How to Get the Coach to Play Your Child?

If you have not found an answer in the content provided so far. It may be time to communicate with the coach. The main focus of this communication is to identify the change that is required by your child to earn additional game time. The questions you ask therefore become important, The following questions might be a good place to start:

  • What is my child doing well or good at?
  • What is stopping or holding my child back from additional game time?
  • How can my child improve?
  • How can they help the team?

These questions should help you get the answer you are seeking. It is important that you remain positive and do not argue with the coach. You may not like the feedback you receive, sometimes the truth hurts.

Remember you have asked for feedback, so you must be prepared for both positive and negative.

Take Action on Feedback from the Soccer Coach

Once you have the feedback you need to take action on it. For example, the coach may ask that your child shows higher levels of commitment. They may require more impactful moments or they must react better following setbacks.

A collaborative approach to action often works best. So you chat with your child about what the coach said and feedback on the information. Ask the coach to also reiterate the changes required. From the child’s perspective, they must show willingness and implement the changes required.

It is useful to give the child some time to implement. So a follow-up meeting should be arranged in about 4 – 6 weeks to see if the desired change has occurred. This gives everyone the chance to take action on the communication.


Ownership, once the child has the detail they need they must apply themselves accordingly. This will ensure that they give themselves the best chance of success. The child must be willing to take the actions needed to change. They must be clear on what success looks like for them. For example, it may be working harder, not giving up. It could be getting fitter, turning up on time, not using excuses, or just being patient.

Whatever it is the coach and parent must see the intent in the player’s actions over weeks not just a few days.

player's actions over weeks

In Summary

The key action to ensuring your child gets a fair crack of the whip is to listen. Observe then communicate, then use these observations to formulate actions that your child should take ownership of. Follow this process and see how it goes for you.

On a final note do not get too caught up in this. Remember the game is not your child’s identity. Just because they have a great game or they have a really poor game it does not mean they are more or less valuable.

How the child responds and how they treat others is much more important than performance. Try to teach the child to demonstrate positive values along with positive behavior. This is opposed to you judging them based on the success of a soccer game they are playing with their friends.

Soccer and the challenges it brings are just something they do, it should not define who they are. Being a better person is much more important.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I approach the soccer coach about my child’s lack of playing time?

Approach the coach respectfully and seek a private conversation. Express your concerns calmly, ask for feedback, and inquire about ways your child can improve to earn more playing time.

What can I do to support and encourage my child when they’re not playing?

Offer emotional support, reinforce their love for the game, and encourage them to focus on their own development. Emphasize the importance of dedication, perseverance, and being a team player.

How can I maintain a positive relationship with the soccer coach while addressing this issue?

Communication is key. Approach conversations with respect, active listening, and a genuine desire to understand the coach’s perspective. Be supportive, open to feedback, and willing to collaborate for the benefit of your child.

How do you know a coach is bad?

A bad coach will often single out players for no apparent reason. They have a win-at-all-cost attitude and show little to no care for the health, safety, development, and welfare of the players. They just want to win. A bad coach will often be rude to the players, parents, and opposition which often leads to the same things from the players.

The coach may become deceitful and become disrespectful if challenged about their behavior. If you notice these traits in a coach. You must question if you want your child to develop in such an environment.

Why does my coach always yell at me?

Sometimes a coach yells because they are passionate about what they do. They find that yelling can bring about an immediate response. Some coaches yell because they are passionate about your development and they want to help you identify ways to fix it. There is a fine line between yelling and aggression. If you have a bad coach as mentioned above then yelling at some players is the coach’s way of trying to influence the result and get a reaction from the players.

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