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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Student-athletes Examine the Coach Complaint Process

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The relationships between coaches and players are some of the most important in sports. Trust, communication and respect have to be the foundation of these relationships. In order for a team to have success on and off of the field of play, it is of the utmost importance that players thoughts and ideas are respected by the coaching staff and vice versa.

However, problems with team culture or chemistry stem from miscommunications between players and coaches. These miscommunications and disagreements can ultimately be the downfall of a season.

According to an anonymous female student-athlete, “Complaints to the coach are not taken seriously. I feel like I am written off as a player whose emotions take over. There are certain players on the team though that do have a strong relationship with the coaching staff and are able to tell the coaches what they think. The problem with this, though, is that not everyone’s voice is heard or valued.”

For other student-athletes, it seems that while the head coach may be attentive to the player’s needs, assistant coaches and other members of the staff are not. “Our head coach definitely listened to our complaints and tried to make changes. But some of the other members of staff did not always listen to our complaints or validate them. We had coaches where it was their way or the highway, even though we were the ones playing in the games and taking hits,” said an anonymous male student-athlete.

While complaints about coaching staff are bound to come up during a season and over the course of time, it is sometimes necessary for Carleton administration to get involved when more serious issues arise. When these complaints are brought to Carleton administration there seems to be mixed opinion from Carleton athletes as to if their complaints about coaching staffs are taken seriously.

“Complaints to administration are taken seriously to the extent that they will complete the due process. But throughout sports at Carleton, my understanding is that the coaching staffs are lacking and complaints are not taken seriously by the administration,” said an anonymous soccer player.

An anonymous student-athlete had this to say about the role of administration in coach/player conflict: “Our team has not had many major situations come up with our coaching staff. But I think our whole team would agree that complaints are taken seriously by administration for the most part. There will obviously be things that cannot be resolved immediately, but I feel as though our team is taken seriously by the administration.”

When a student-athlete has a complaint about a Carleton coach, two of their main options for action include filing a community concern form and meeting with members of administration.

“If there have been repetitive community concern forms filed about a coach, the administration should do an investigation and handle the situation more promptly. In the investigation of the coaches, anonymous surveys should be sent out to all of the players and these should be taken very seriously. It needs to be more than just having another varsity coach coming in to observe to the coach in question.

It is imperative that the players have a voice in this situation,” said a female student-athlete.

A senior student-athlete had this to say about addressing student-athlete complaints about coaches moving forward: “In my time at Carleton, I think I have seen the process of coaching complaints improve.” They said, “There are definitely processes that could use some work and things are by no means perfect. But I think the administration is always trying to help student athletes in handling these tough situations with their coaches. It is my hope that there are more concrete processes created soon to help future and current student-athletes better communicate their concerns to their coaches and administration.”

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