Your child’s youth sports coach has a lot on his plate: wins and losses, coaching kids, and raising money, to name a few.
But his greatest challenge comes in dealing with parents of athletes.
I recently came across a letter written by a high school baseball coach in Southern California to sports parents. In it he requests only one thing from the parents of his players.
Your child’s Youth Sports Coach Needs You to Let Go
Your child’s coach will probably ask for a lot of things from the parents of his players. He needs volunteers to drive on trips, work the snack bar, order team uniforms, or plan the year-end party. But even more than all of that, your child’s youth sports coach wants you to let him do his job as coach. In the letter he wrote to parents, this baseball coach writes:
After many years of coaching high school baseball, I have experienced a part of coaching that is the most difficult to accept. It is not the more obvious frustrations of wins and losses, dealing with the problems young high school student-athletes face or declining budgets and fund raising.
It is the parent that interferes, criticizes and manipulates constantly in order to improve their son’s/daughter’s chances of playing time. Parents are not involved in the daily program of practice and player-coach interaction; they have a limited view of the real situation. What the parent does not realize is the person that is ultimately hurt is their son/daughter, not the coach they portray as the villain. For the coach, it is a temporarily uncomfortable situation, but for the player, it is something that may last a lifetime.
So, what should parents do? Help your son/daughter by leaving them alone. Allow them to fail or succeed on their own. They will grow from the failure and take great joy in knowing they have succeeded on their own. Today, they may appear to appreciate your intervention, but more likely they will resent your interference later. Allow your son/daughter to come home and air their feelings about the day’s events without fear of you jumping in trying to solve their problems. Listen to them and use it as an opportunity to help them learn, not as a way of suppressing their independence by your interference.
Remember, the coach is really the most unbiased person on the field. They see the team as a team in the proper perspective.Parents see the team through eyes that are tinted with the love and aspirations for their son/daughter. No matter how much the parent has played the game or coached youth sports; they are not exempt from these feelings.
Love them and let go!
There were times when it was hard for me to believe that the coach was unbiased; I was so sure that the coach didn’t like my son or daughter because they weren’t getting the playing time or position they wanted.
But since I see things from the other side of the bench–my husband as a coach–I understand that parents, including ME, are not at all objective when it comes to our kids. We are very biased, so it’s hard for us to accept a coach’s unbias-ness. We instead accuse him of not liking our kid or liking some other athlete better just because our child is not getting what he wants.
Yes, there are those rare cases when politics and favoritism come into play, but honestly I think that we often use that as a scapegoat instead of addressing the real issues, namely that our kid needs to improve on a certain skill or that he needs to work harder in practice.
Your Child’s Coach: Will You Give Him What He wants?
Encouragement and support from parents is what your child’s coach, and his team, need, not parents throwing out insults and criticism to breakdown the morale of the team. A great season can be completely destroyed by a parent or parents that think they know better than the coach.
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