This is Part 4 of a 6-part series What Your Child’s Sports Coach Wants You to Know, sponsored by TeamSnap, a company that does its very best to give parents, coaches, and teams a tool that will facilitate clear and consistent communication.
If your child is playing high school sports, then you’ve most likely been in youth sports for awhile. You know the drill, experienced the drama and witnessed the dreams that your child has about playing.
High school sports is probably the hardest season for youth athletes. No longer is every guaranteed playing time or even to make the team. It is truly a place where kids either learn to grow up and stick with their passion, or they give up and decide that maybe it’s not really what they wanted after all.
I’ve asked some high school coaches to share with you what they want parents to know about high school sports.
“Trust me as your high school coach”
As long as your son/daughter is on the team that I am coaching you have already committed to trusting me to some extent. I realize that you are watching out for your child; it’s your parent’s job to do that. However, I am looking out for every child or athlete on the team not just one. I am going to coach each player to the best of their ability and place players in situations (positions and playing time) that will help them succeed but also do what is best for the team as a whole. This means they may play a position that was not their first choice, and it also means they may not get all the playing time they want. The function of the team is not to show case one player. Troy Wellington, soccer.
I stress to parents our objectivity in evaluating a players’ skill set. We look at athletes from a TEAM perspective rather than individually. It’s my job to put the best TEAM on the field at a given time. As far as playing time, so many factors contribute to that – matchups, health, scheme, players attitude, etc. Communication between coach and athlete is key. A coach should explain, not justify, his depth chart to his athletes. I have a 300+ lb. defensive linemen who played 70% of the snaps on defense one week against a power run team. The next week, he played less than 10% of defensive snaps against a spread passing team. The decision was based on matchup and skill sets. High school coaches are professionals. We ask that parents trust our judgment. Joe Brown, football.
I have a knowledge of the game (29 years’ worth) and I am committed to developing players’ skills as well as growing them to be team players and leaders. I make that promise to parents. Ted Meredith, football and softball
“I expect certain things from your high school athlete”
I demand accountability and that starts with communication. I expect players to notify me if they will miss a workout or practice ahead of time. My players will testify that I am a much happier coach and practice will be smoother if everyone communicates. We expect athletes to commit to the weight room. I encourage athletes to play multiple sports. I want my athletes to compete as often as possible. In competitions, we expect effort! We may not always be the biggest, strongest, or fastest team, but we will never let effort give us a disadvantage. Joe Brown, football.
It boils down to a few simple concepts. Always do the right thing (play fair, follow the rules, win with class and lose with class, etc.). Always put forward your best effort and bring your best attitude (show up on time, help your teammates, always be prepared, go the extra mile). Always be unselfish (help your teammates, do your job, do whatever is needed when ask, sacrifice your ego for the team). Troy Wellington, soccer.
I always expect my players to be leaders in the classroom and on the campus as well as on the field. I expect them to give it their best every day and I expect them to be committed to being at practice every day. If they cannot make for a very good reason, I want them to tell me before practice, not after. Ted Meredith, football.
“Your athlete needs specific things from you”
Your child needs positive input, support, encouragement. Parents need to be their child’s biggest fan. Parents need to listen to their child and act as a sounding board. Don’t be critical and don’t undermine the coach. Troy Wellington, soccer.
Players need their parents to support them by supporting their coaches. If a parent gets behind their coach the way they want a coach to get behind their athlete, amazing growth will take place. Joe Brown, Football.
Your child needs you to stop the coach-bashing at home and to encourage him or her to resolve issues themselves, without you stepping in to run interference for them. Ted Meredith, football.
“Your Athlete’s Academics are VERY Important”
Grades come first. Whether the child is gifted average athlete, he or she needs to maximize their potential in the classroom. Not every student is a “straight A” student or gifted academically. However, athletics should never interfere with their ability to maximize their achievement in the classroom. Each parent needs to know their child’s academic ability and balance that against their commitment to athletics. On the flip side, you certainly do not want to remove athletics from a child’s life if they are working to their maximum potential in the classroom. This could cause resentment by the child and remove the only incentive the child has for working so hard in the classroom. It is a balancing act. Joe Brown, football.
Academics are extremely important regarding sports. I don’t have any college level athletes with a career 2.5 GPA that get many, if any, opportunities for a college scholarship. I also stress the correlation between the academic experience and athletics. If a player is often late to class or misses classes, he is usually late or misses his assignment on the field entirely. If an athlete doesn’t study for a test, he can expect to perform poorly. The same holds true if an athlete doesn’t watch film or read his scouting report. Lazy students are lazy athletes. An OK athlete that is an excellent student will always develop further than a great athlete with poor academic performance. Troy Wellington, soccer.
This post is sponsored by TeamSnap, who wants to help you focus on making your child’s youth sports experience a positive one. Their online team management makes your sports parenting job a lot easier!