It’s always difficult as a coach to try to dictate what a parent’s role should be in their child’s athletic career, particular as a coach who has no kids of his own. But, over the years, I’ve encountered a number of great parents, and a number of parents who seemingly hindered their young athlete more than helped. I figure I would sum up each set of parents from a coach’s perspective.
The great parents encourage their child to participate, and support them in their efforts. They attend games, cheer for the good plays, and show their appreciation for the entire team, not just their own child.
The hindering parents try to coach from the sideline, and make it clear that he or she knows more than the coach, referees, and players. They openly show their frustration towards their kid after bad plays. They believe they can devise an off-season plan, skill development program, and psychological profile. They force their athlete to play particular sports or to do particular drills. They badger coaches about playing time, position, and points. They find it to be their role to break down the athlete’s performance after each game, and dole out punishment and rewards based on game performances.
What you’ll notice is that the paragraph for the good parent is the shorter of the two. There are many more ways to do things wrong as a parent than there are to do things right. So, my only advice would be to keep it simple when it comes to parenting an athlete. Enjoy the ride with them, and encourage them to do their best (both their own child and the team) –simple as that. Don’t try to coach, analyze, dictate, or meddle. Just enjoy. From what I’m told, parenting is difficult; sport is one area where a parent should just sit back and enjoy!
SPU's Alex Drayson writes the SPU Football Performance Blog.