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Football Instruction/Am I allowed to ask the coach why?


I am a mother of a 6' 4" 250 lb. freshman boy. He will be on the freshman football team but I don't know if he will play. He played 1 year of youth in 6th grade where he was played both ways and did excellent. Played 1 year in 7th grade where he hardly played at all. Had to take 8th grade off due to herniated disk surgery. Has been through extensive physical therapy and training and has survived winter lifting, spring & summer camp. They had him in a starting position until last month. Ever since, he's standing on the side lines, in practice, waiting to be played. He's very frustrated but says that he cannot talk to the coach and I am not allowed to either. How can I help?


There is no problem with you communicating with the coach, as long as it is done in a professional way, and it is clear that you are merely interested in the well-being of your child, and not questioning the coach's decisions.  Your son is a freshman in high school.  That makes him a minor.  You have every right and obligation to watch out for his best interests.  However, make sure you do not question the coach's coaching style.  

One of the major lessons your son learns through sports is tolerance and adaptation to different styles of leadership.  Beyond speaking with the coach in a professional manner (with the sole purpose of helping your son learn and grow into a better person), your son should deal with the relationship with his coach on his own.  He will learn how to deal with things as a young man, and will come out a better person.  He should know his mom has his back, but he should also know that she expects him to deal with his own issues, when possible.

Any conversations with the coach should be in a spirit of cooperation toward the development of the young men on his team.  Whatever you do, never confront the coach in the middle of a game, or around others.  Addressing the coach in a nonconfrontational manner, away from the field, will be the most productive.

Overall, I think you should let your son try to do as much as he can on his own.  He should approach the coach and show the coach that he wants to get better, and be the best player he can be.  If the coach sees the drive and initiative in your son, it will help your son and will show the coach that your son is the type of player he wants and needs.


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William J. Robers


Any questions related to football rules and mechanics, as well as safety. Extensive experience in football officiating, including training, evaluating, discipline, and mechanics of football officials.


Consulting and Expert Witness Analysis: Football-related issues of player safety, including liability cases; standard of care and negligence claims of players, coaches, schools, and game officials; mechanisms for on-field injuries; subrogation claims; playing rules; sportsmanship; true sport; committees' points of emphasis for game rules; and mechanics of the game and game officials. - Media education and analysis - Officiating instruction, qualifications, mechanics, and standards - Coaches' education - Film evaluation, analysis, and grading - Insurance coverage, risks, liabilities, investigations, subrogation - Legal education, objective analysis, discovery plans, trial and cross-examination preparation - Injury analysis, cause, prevention, and involvement of officials, coaches, and players - Expert witness evaluation and testimony - Remedial measure to minimize future risks - Fact-checking and analysis for authors and media - Disciplining officials and players, and causes for discipline - Analysis of hazardous playing conditions - General education on the rules and mechanics for players, coaches, schools, and game officials

Big Sky Conference Football Officials Association Colorado Springs Basketball Officials Association Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Football Officials Rotary International Sports Lawyers Association American Bar Association Section on Sports Law

JURIS DOCTOR, cum laude 2001 University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota President, Entertainment and Sports Law Students Association Associate Editor, Minnesota Law Review MASTERS OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, with honors 2001 University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, Minneapolis, Minnesota Double Concentration: Marketing and Finance Beta Gamma Sigma (national honor society) BACHELOR OF SCIENCE, cum laude 1997 Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Double major: Business Marketing and Business Finance Minor: Political Science Beta Gamma Sigma and Alpha Sigma Nu (national honor societies) Extensive training in football rules and officiating mechanics.

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