One of the toughest jobs as a parent is to sit back and watch your child participate in junior high and high school athletics. Our society continues to raise the bar and place unrealistic expectations on all of us involved. The objective of sports has been tarnished greatly. It seems to have taken on a “what’s in it for me mentality”. This saddens me and makes the task at hand all the more challenging. Coaching today is as difficult as parenting, but with your help it does not have to be that way. Our most successful teams have always had great parental support teams. Below are some helpful tips to make your child’s experience a positive one for everybody.
Try not to shout advice to the players during the game. Your insightful tips may conflict with our instruction. However, when you shout out words of encouragement we all benefit.
Please don’t heckle the refs. Sometimes a particular call is hard to take for whatever reason. Believe me, I know! Such times are a test of emotional control. We expect our coaches, players and parents to conduct themselves in a worthy manner. Learning to cope with disappointment is a valuable life skill.
This is one issue we will not discuss with parents. A player has every right to ask a coach what needs to be done to earn more playing time, but a parent interfering with such a matter is inappropriate. This includes emails, texts or calls made asking for it all to be kept private from the player. We go to great lengths to objectively assess each individual player everyday in practice. It is on the practice floor where playing time in games is earned. All of our coaches are professionals and we make judgement decisions based on what is best for the team.
Please don’t talk poorly about a coach in front of your son. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, and it is easy to question various coaching decisions after the fact. The best thing you can do for your son is to “bite your tongue” and stand behind the coach’s leadership unconditionally.
We would like to know in advance about a missed practice or game. Please call and speak with the respective coach if your son is ill or has a conflict. It is also important to communicate anything else that might affect your son’s performance (i.e. injury, illness, or death in the family). Use your discretion, but please try to keep such issues at a minimal on game days.
Bruce Brown is an excellent mentor when it comes to coaching and parenting student-athletes. Our program has used many of his resources. One of my favorites has always been "The Role of Parents in Athletics".
The Role of Parents in Athletics
By Bruce Brown
Attend as many games as possible.
Do everything possible to make the athletic experience positive for your child and others.
View the game with team goals in mind.
Attempt to relieve competitive pressure, not increase it.
Encourage multi-sport participation.
Release your child to the coach and the team.
Look upon opponents as friends involved with the same experience.
Accept the judgment of the officials and coaches; remain in control.
Accept the results of each game; do not make excuses.
Demonstrate winning and losing with dignity.
Dignify mistakes made by athletes who are giving their best effort and concentration.
Encourage athletes to keep their perspective in both victory and defeat.
Be a good listener.
Accept the goals, roles and achievements of your child.
Avoid PGA’s (post-game assessments).
In closing, I've also included "Rules for Basketball Parents". This video, by Performance Coach Alan Stein, shares some constructive guidelines to help parents truly enjoy the experience of having a child that plays high school basketball.