Dating Drills brings you an alternative way to approach dating and relationships with a sports twist. If you have a dating or relationship question and you’d like a second opinion, reach out to me on Twitter @CoachKay_85 or send your questions to

Hi. I’m Coach Kay and I’ve joined Belly Up Sports to bring you a sports-themed dating advice and strategy series. Why a sports theme you ask? Easy. Most guys like sports. I’ve learned that putting my concerns into sports terms can make it easier to make my point. Sometimes I swear I can see the light bulb turn on. I’ve also used cars and other analogies, but sports has been my go-to option. That said, my strategies for dealing with relationship challenges can be useful to anyone. No matter what your relationship looks like, the principles will still work. Although I’ll be speaking from the perspective of a woman, the theories and strategies presented can be applied to all genders.

Dating Drills: Rules of Engagement

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Most people have, at one time or another, been told or heard certain rules about dating. One that springs to mind immediately is not calling right away after a great date. Personally, I’m not a fan of BS and playing games. For instance, when it comes to the calling or texting right away “rule,” I completely disregard it. If I genuinely had a great time with a guy and I want to text him right away, I will. If he has a problem with that, I know right away that we’re not compatible.

On the other hand, the guy I’m seeing right now texted me only about a half-hour after our first date. And he didn’t play it cool. He texted to say he had a “fabulous time.” That was immediately a good sign for me. Right away he showed me that he also wasn’t going to play the how-long-do-I-wait-to-contact-her game.

In the next edition of Dating Drills, I’ll talk about why you should always have your own set of dating rules. I’ll also explain my personal dating rules and how I came up with them. Hopefully, this will provide you some insight into how to define your own set of rules. If you’d like someone to bounce ideas off, I’d love to help. You can reach me @CoachKay_85 on Twitter or email at

With that being said, every relationship is different. Even similar challenges between the same two people are often going to vary depending on the situation. A strict set of rules simply isn’t comprehensive enough to be especially helpful. You need to be able to evaluate and react to each situation. You have to do so calmly, rationally, and from a place where your emotions give you the strength of conviction. The alternative is letting your emotions control you and make you look cray.

A Dr. Phil Saying

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In fairness, if you Google the phrase, you’ll get results from Tony Gaskins long before Dr. Phil. But, Dr. Phil is where I heard it so I’m gonna roll with that.

I’ve been an on-and-off watcher of Dr. Phil for many years. Some of what he says I completely disregard. Some of what he says I’ve found very useful in my life. One thing he says often and I’ve applied in my life, “You have to teach people how to treat you.” If he’s said it once, he’s said it a thousand times.

I believe that to be an absolute truth in any type of relationship. If you show yourself to be someone who can be walked all over, people will walk all over you. When you behave in a way that is emotional to the point of being out of control you lose credibility; by default. You’re teaching people to disregard everything you say therefore making any valid concerns just part of the noise. Your behavior is how you teach someone how to treat you. It is vital that you find a middle ground between expressing yourself and controlling yourself.

I’ve recently realized, however, that Dr. Phil has left out an important part of that idea. Yes, if you don’t teach people how to treat you, they’re going to treat you however the hell they want. But, in order for you to learn what someone doesn’t know about how to treat you in a way that is acceptable to you, they have to mess up. They have to be inconsiderate or rude or annoying or selfish or thoughtless or whatever. The point is, you have to get a little bruised, a little hurt, maybe a little angry.

How do you Manage all the Feels?

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In a lot of cases, those feelings will be completely valid. Sometimes, it might be necessary for you to look in a mirror and make some adjustments of your own. In fact, I always try to determine if there is something I should have done differently before approaching someone with my concerns. That requires getting to know and having a high awareness of yourself. Your emotions have to be tools that you control, not forces that control you.

Most people don’t approach challenges with a plan, especially emotional challenges. It’s not really something we’re taught to do. Movies tell us that when you meet the right person, eventually it will just work out. Rarely, if ever, do they show you the work that goes into a successful relationship. Hell, most romantic movies don’t show you past the honeymoon.

Your parents might not be helpful, in that they may not want to discuss the ins and outs of their relationship with their children, even as adults. In the case of my ex-husband, he doesn’t have a single family member he is close to who has been able to break the cycle of failed relationships. He has no long-term examples to even observe, let alone a brain to pick. Some people only have close friends who can’t see past their bias so they never get the truth as it is. Plus, in the context that we’re discussing, feelings have been hurt to some degree or another. Those emotions have to be managed as well.

Dating Drills: A Game Plan

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This is where a game plan comes in.

In the years since my first long-term relationship started in my very early 20s, I’ve learned through trial and error after error, that having a game plan makes all the difference. It makes a difference when you’re single and looking for a partner as you navigate getting to know someone new. It makes a difference once a relationship is established and you navigate challenges and bumps in the road.

In keeping with our sports theme, in a future article, I’m going to lay out a basic gameplan for approaching conflict in dating and romantic relationships. Think of this as the fundamentals. If you’re angry and hurt, when and how should you address an issue? Here’s a hint, the answer is based on criteria rather than a certain period of time.

Dating Drills: Film Sessions

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Once we have a basic gameplan for approaching relationship challenges we’ll get into analyzing some tape. Similar situations are going to come up with different people. But because the people are different, every gameplan needs to be adapted to the person involved. In sports, every time a team takes the court, field, or ice, they’re playing the same game. But it’s still someone’s job to make a scouting report on each team they’re facing off against. Presenting that information to the players and coaching staff happens during a film session.

In relationships, a film session is where you analyze the details that make each interaction unique. You’ll want to note body language, tone of voice, choice of phrase and lots of other nuanced information to help you decide on an appropriate response. The tape may also reveal areas where your own self-development will make relationships easier for you. Perhaps the analysis will reveal it’s simply time for a trade; you might be more familiar with the terms, dump, dip, or kick to the curb.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @CoachKay_85. And when your partner starts wondering where you’re getting all these awesome sports-themed relationship strategies, send them to Belly Up Sports for all the sports content they could ever want.

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