Just like anything else we do in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about things. Coaching is no different. Sometimes these lessons come easy and sometimes they come hard, but if we pay close attention to our actions, we can make a positive impact in a young person’s life.
I remember when I coached one of my children in a community basketball league. It was a lot of fun - except for the occasional parent who persisted to coach his kid from the sidelines.
I explained to this hyper-involved, screaming and steaming parent their constant coaching, criticizing, and correcting of their child during the game wasn’t helping their child or the team succeed. I explained it was less confusing to the athletes when only one adult voice is directing the team’s actions. Things got better after that and the kids finished with the best record that season!
My wife and I have two children who both competed in NCAA Sports. No, we didn’t attempt to become “Unofficial Assistant Coaches” during collegiate contests. As mentioned, we did our “coaching” years before either of our kids set foot on a field or track on a college campus and were sensitive to our role as parents of student athletes.
Here are three ways we helped coach our student-athletes:
We stressed the fact the correct order is “Student-Athlete”.
Both kids knew schoolwork came first. Playing sports is a privilege, not a right. Getting good grades is the key to success.
As a result, both of our Student-Athletes received some sort of academic scholarship along with other monies to augment our parental funding.
We let them speak on their own behalf to the coaches.
By the time a Student-Athlete reaches a college or university, the coach’s expectation is that they won’t have to babysit the players. One of the best ways to demonstrate the maturity level of your college-bound young adult is to get them involved in the adult conversations necessary in getting selected for the team by the coach.
Writing letters to the coach, making phone calls to him/her, and conducting themselves professionally during campus visits is imperative. In my opinion, kids need to own these tasks and they need a parent to support their efforts - not do the work for them.
We considered any expenses related to their chosen sport as an investment in their Student-Athlete future.
As a former coach and team manager for a youth team, I’ve heard my fair share of parents complaining about the cost of things. High School sports have some degree of inherent funding. Club Sports require parents to fund lots of things or do fundraisers to offset cost. As such, not only did we support of our children, we even created ways to fund kids who didn’t have the money to pay for items such as uniforms, tournament fees, hotels, and food.
However, we took it to another level once we recognized the kids had what it takes to compete at NCAA level.
Once that truth became a reality, we looked at every dollar spent as an investment in our children’s future as both a Student and an Athlete. We worked these costs into our budget.
These are just three examples of how you too can coach your Student-Athlete from the sidelines in the most positive ways possible.
Have some ideas on how to coach your student-athlete as a parent? Please feel free to chime-in and ask a question.
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