First off, this is not a preaching session. It is merely a way to provide a different perspective into the relationship of coach to parent, parent to child, and child to coach. These are just some thoughts that I have had over the span of my 9 years as an educator.
I constantly had to grow and evolve to be an effective educator. No I am not a parent, but everyday mothers and fathers drop their children off at my school and trust that I am going to take care of them as if they were my own. Depending on the time of year I may spend anywhere from 3-12 hours or 3 straight days with your children as part of my job in education.
Our relationship does not start when students become old enough to play sports for the school, typically 7th grade. It starts at home when children are learning from their parents the beginner levels of whatever sports they participate in. Parents, you are the foundation of your children's athletic successes. Spending time with your children and teaching them basics beginning with fine motor skills all the way to complex fundamentals of each game is vital. It is also imperative that they learn to respect and care for their peers, as well as, the rules of the game and the other individuals that are involved in the events (officials, spectators, opposing players and coaches). As a coach, it is amazing when kids come into our programs with a base knowledge of the games they are wanting to participate in.
This Saturday, my student-athletes are competing at the Texas Cross Country State Championships. Throughout this year we have traveled all over the state of Texas with our student-athletes. We will be leaving and have these kids on the road overnight through Saturday. This is a huge responsibility and one that we do not take lightly. Parents, I know that it is hard and this world has terrible people in it. I am personally thankful to our parents for trusting me with the care of their children. Trust is absolutely the largest component in the parent to coach relationship. Yes, I am going to hold your child accountable for their actions if they are wrong (this is typically when division occurs in the parent to coach relationship). However, I am probably going to be the first to compliment them and celebrate with them when they achieve a goal that they have set individually or as a team.
Again, trust is vital. When your child starts competing for a coach, trust that they are competent enough to get the job done the correct way. Yes, there are times that you are going to disagree with the coaches decisions. Remember, there is an overall team goal within each sport, and you are not there to see the work that goes into achieving that goal. You are also not there to see how hard your child works when they are with me. This is the hardest pill for you to swallow, but once your child begins athletics and the season starts YOU ARE NO LONGER THE COACH! Please stay out of the way during practice and especially during games. You have to now become a fan of your student-athlete and your support of them and of the process that the coach has put in place is vital to the success of the team! Trust me, I know that you laid the foundation for what your child already knows and I give you that credit, but it is my turn to instruct now and your support of your child and of me means everything!
As a coach I understand that respect is earned and not given because of my title. Just because I have to raise my voice to get my point across does not mean that I do not like your child. I may have taught and even re-taught a certain scheme to your child and they refuse to do it in the way I ask, therefore there is a consequence (lack of playing time, being verbally reprimanded… etc). This is not personal, it is a way to hold children accountable for their actions.
Finally, parents please understand that it is my responsibility to take what you have taught in the home and utilize your child's education/extra-curricular activities to teach them class, character, respect, integrity, accountability, and trust. If children can learn these attributes from US (parents and coaches) they can take them once they leave school/home, and become integral parts of our society. The goal is for us to mold them so that they become great husbands/wives, mothers/fathers, employers/employees…. etc. If we work together, the process is so much more rewarding in the end for everyone involved. As a coach, the relationships that we make with families through our jobs as educators mean more than any championship that we may win. The end goal is the same for us all!