In a recent Forbes.com article in May, author Bob Cook discusses how parent involvement in the firing of a High School coach in New York backfired on them. So, today we ask the question, why do parents go over the top when trying to support their youth athlete? Why can't they see they are not helping the situation?
Unfortunately, as Cook points out, parent involvement in the firing of a coach happens all too often. When parents gather around the court or ballfield, they all have stories of engagement with the individual coach and may choose to assess, or possibly judge, said individual. What happens when the parent sees the coach out after work hours having an adult beverage? What if the coach is texting and driving? Should we always expect a coach's firing or a letter of concern to go to the school administrators?
When a student-athlete isn't developing at a certain rate during the school sport calendar, getting enough playing time or succeeding in their sport the way the parent 'hoped' they would, they will lean on other athlete parents, school administration and sometimes the coaches to push their child to more training. But what if that child just wasn't meant to play that sport at an advanced level? What if there is another avenue for their child to succeed and maybe even at a greater level that they haven't considered yet?
Parents get so hooked on "investing" in their kids future playing one (1) specific sport that they lose sight of other career or sport opportunities their child could work on. What if the parent could change their mindset to identify the real challenges their student-athlete is going through in that sport and support them by providing experiential learning of other sports and activity? Rather than going to the coach, or school administration, threatening a job and bullying over more playing time or advanced attention in practice, WHAT IF THEY explored, learned and recreated the environment to support the youth in advancing their mindset in all of sport.
Just because a youth wasn't meant to be on the baseball or softball field and go pro does not mean they can't attain a scholarship, become an Olympian and have a successful career in sport. Individuals that overcome challenges are greater skilled when adversity hits. When encouraged to strive no matter the circumstances and to take each hurdle as an opportunity, especially during a competition or work event, they are going to be more inclined to see the positive growth rather than blaming another person.
If parents learned to be the role model on and off the field for their youth athletes as opposed to spectators on the sideline, our society would be a world different. If you are a parent, please share with us how you work with your student-athlete to encourage and support them in their sports and goal setting activities.