What I’d Ask of My Kids’ Coaches

Sports are part of life. No matter where you’re from or how you grew up, sports have a role in your life. You either love or hate them. You either enjoy playing sports or you can’t stand the thought. Almost everyone has an opinion about sports. And since they have opinions about sports, they have opinions about coaches, too. People aren’t afraid to share what they think about a coach.

If I’m ever lucky enough to have kids, I hope they find a sport they love to play. Sports teach valuable life lessons. You learn to work hard, to be a good teammate, and to do the right thing. Sports are not easy and they definitely aren’t for everyone, but they teach lessons that last a lifetime. I hope my kids get the chance to learn those lessons.

When most parents watch their kids play sports, they are full of ideas for coaches. They say—or yell, most likely—things the coach should be doing or complain about a variety of things. Some parents might be upset because their kid isn’t playing as much as they think they should. Others might be upset about the plays the coach calls or the practice plans. No matter where sports are played, there is no shortage of parents that think they know better than the coach—the one actually coaching and trying to help. The problem with complaining is that it doesn’t help anyone. It does not help the team, and it definitely doesn’t help your kid.

If my kids play sports, I won’t waste time telling the coach what they should do. I won’t complain from the stands and act like complaining is helpful. There is, however, one thing I’ll make sure to do: I will ask the coach to please hold my kid to a high standard. I will ask the coach—and I will ask, not tell—to please challenge my kid and have high expectations for them. I will ask the coach not to let my kid take the easy path or take a play off. Don’t let them be a distraction or not listen to you. Don’t let my kid talk while you are talking or fail to make eye contact when you are talking. Instead of telling coaches what they can do better or what you don’t like about them, start with supporting them and allowing them to do their job. Your support just might make them a better coach.

What we are missing today is people willing to set high standards and hold others to them. Instead, we have tons of people judging from the sidelines and complaining when things don’t go their way. But what are we without high standards and people expecting great things from us? It is the only way we learn to expect great things from ourselves. I want my kids to learn those lessons from their coaches. And that won’t happen if I get in the way.

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