As a coach by experience, schooling, passion, AND as a mom, I struggle at times whether or not to talk to my kids’ coaches about certain situations. I usually decide against setting up “chats” after I’ve put myself in the coach’s shoes as a coach first (emotional mommy, second), and refresh my mind of the fact that these coaches, for the most part, know what they are doing. NOW, before anyone questions me on this, I’m specifically talking about REAL coaches. The ones that coach for a living, not the “volunteer parent” coaches of youth sports; THAT would be an entirely different blog topic – ha! I’m talking about coaches that have REAL passion for the SPORT as well as working with students of the game, and those that have dedicated their life to it. Again, not the coaches that are simply trying to advance their children in a specific activity or sport. Which brings me to my point.
I just read a wonderful blog post by Brooke de Lench, an contributing author of MomsTeam.Com – Sports Blog, about an interview she had with the New England Patriot’s quarterback, Tom Brady Jr’s father, Tom Brady Sr. WOW. This blog post is a very interested read pertaining to youth sports and coaching – it’s a short, informational read about how Tom Sr. NEVER talked to any of Tom Jr’s coaches about playing time, troubling situations, times Tom Jr wanted to quit, etc. Take a moment and consider what the type of successful athlete Tom Brady Jr is.
Tom Brady Sr. discussed how he always supported his son’s sporting decisions. That means, he always believed he was arming his son with the confidence and ability to discuss things in a mature way that were troubling to him, as a student of the sport. I’ve written before about how I’m worried about how the younger generations of today and that they are incapable of organizing things themselves, because WE, as parents, have always done it for them. Club this….select that. Gone are the days of “pick up games” in the front yard or driveway, or banging on doors until you find enough players to have a game of kickball down the street. Parents schedule “play dates” for kids instead of the kids FINDING something to do or someone to play with.
It seems that just about every day, I hear of a parent whose first reaction is to “go talk to the coach,” blister the coach on behalf of their baby,” beg for more playing time, or worse (in my opinion), discuss OTHER athletes. It never ceases to amaze me when I hear about a parent setting up meetings with their kids’ coaches to discuss things outside of what – in my opinion – is important, their child. While I think meeting with a coach is a good exercise especially when a child is struggling with something and the parent believes the coach could either aid the child in a decision process or in understanding a what’s going on. I really think interfering with day to day coaching (unless it’s hurting someone – and feelings are NOT included in that statement) and ……discussing OTHER ATHLETES should be TOTALLY off limits.
Time after time I hear how a parent “went to bat” for their athlete for more playing time or for their child to be placed on a different team, but I’m always amazed when other athletes are brought into the discussion. Maybe another athlete was blasted in the process in attempts to make their child look “innocent” or “better” than another athlete – where’s the maturity in that? You can’t control parents – my frustration comes in to play WHEN COACHES ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN and react sometimes “to get someone off their back.” Thus the struggle. Do I go to bat for my child “because others have”? Am I doing my child a disservice by NOT talking to the coach? My stance has always been, in the long run, these kids’ with parents that “micro-manage” their lives, from social to sport situations, will NOT be able to function in the real world….because their parents have always done it for them. I tell my kids that “they’ll get what’s coming to them” all while hoping my children are learning something from the process.
As a coach (not that I always do it right), I always dreaded the “explain why you didn’t play my kid more than you did” discussions, especially post game and in heated “loss-related” situations. I HAD A REASON at the time. Normally there was a reason, and sometimes maybe it was just oversight on my part. It happens as we are all human. As a coach, you question yourself enough as it is, “if I had done this, would the outcome been different?” And as a “demand-er of respect,” I at times have been known to bench a kid that was disrespectful to another teammate (or me) or just in general, a complainer, but NEVER because of the actions of a parent. It’s just not fair, in my opinion, to penalize a child because of the actions of their parent. But wow – is it ever hard to just sit back and take it.
My goodness people. Teach your children how to defend themselves and to ask questions in a respectful, mature way, and stop butting in. Let the coaches do their job. Ask questions when necessary but NOT in a threatening way – think about it. Do YOU want to be backed in to a corner? Everyone now and then, let the kids “handle social situations” themselves. Really, they’ll learn from it. Teach the to be respectful of others whether they like them or not, and to NOT burn so many bridges. And WHY, WHY, would you blast another child to a coach as it is about YOUR kid right? It just makes YOU look stupid, right Coaches? Come on guys…….RIGHT? It’s not just about you and your child……..and remember – what goes around, comes around!
Off my soapbox now! Adios!