DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a gymnastics coach who is dedicated and motivated to make our team better. He puts his attention toward practice and the girls only when we are in the gym, and he is uninterested in dealing with anything that involves the girls outside of the gym. It is hard for him to understand that he has to be a part of both worlds in order to succeed in the gym. How do I approach my coach about my concern for his lack of participation? -- Current Gymnast, Seattle
DEAR CURRENT GYMNAST: As you already know, coaches are often strong-willed and set in their ways regarding how to motivate their teams. With that in mind, you have to be strategic and creative in order to get your coach to consider another approach to how he engages his students.
Take a personal approach. Tell him that you are feeling disconnected from him. You spend endless hours working together, which means you do not have time to develop many other bonds. When he is unwilling or uninterested in bonding with you in the rest of your life, that leaves you feeling unsupported. Tell him. Ask him to be a bridge for you to the rest of your life. Ultimately, you do want him to let go, but you don’t want him to be abrupt. Ask him to help you and the team strike a balance between gymnastics and your personal lives.