Even the most loving and supporting parents can become frustrated from time to time. Probably the biggest concerns that I hear from parents seems to be the amount of playing time that their child is receiving or that their child is not utilized enough in the actual scheme of things. Whether your concern is playing time, or some other issue, here is a prospective from a coach’s point of view that may help you to better understand how to deal with a problem whenever one arises.
First off, you need to understand that football is a team sport and individual recognition is not the objective. Secondly, people do not choose the coaching profession for the money. To be honest, most coaches are not paid at all and this includes coaches at the high school and college level. So when the pay is minimal or nonexistent, why does someone choose to be a coach? It is for the love of your child with the hopes that as coaches, we can have a positive impact and help instill character traits that will help make your child successful in life. Coaches and parents do have one major objective in common, and that’s the well being of the student athlete themselves.
We are on the same team and when coaches and parents work together, it’s the child that wins. So as a parent, what can you do to make sure your child has the most nurturing experience possible? For starters, give the coach the benefit of the doubt until you talk to them and find out otherwise. There are always two sides to a story, so be sure and get the coaches prospective of the situation before you make any judgments. Next, remember to treat the coach as a professional and with respect at all times.
If you have a concern, make an appointment to come in and talk to the coach in his office at a time that is mutually acceptable to the both of you. Pulling a coach aside to vent your frustrations after a game or on the practice field will accomplish nothing. Delicate issues relating to your child require thought, with a cool head and in an environment that is private. I can assure you that venting your frustrations in the stands and making derogatory comments about the coaching staff always makes its way to the coaches through other fans or parents. This usually happens before you have a chance to have your meeting. Try and refrain from this so there is not the potential for hard feelings before your actual meeting can take place.
During your meeting with a coach, never bring another player into the discussion. The meeting is about your child and not someone else’s. When you bring up another player and make comparisons that demean that player, you will put the coach in a defensive posture and more often than not, the coach will cut you off. Coaches do not like attacks on any of their players and will defend any and all of them when provoked. This will end your meeting abruptly and nothing will be resolved.
Lastly, try your best to look at your child’s ability and performance objectively. In today’s society the reality is that coaches lose their jobs because of their wins and losses. While I do not agree with the wins and loses philosophy in determining a good coach, more often than not, it is a fact. Do you really think a coach can afford not to play his best players?
Your view of your child’s ability and the coach’s opinion may be different but the only way to know and understand his opinion is to communicate with him and not at him. Coaches do value and appreciate the support and opinions of all parents associated within the program. The best relationship is one of mutual respect between the coach and the parent and the role they both play in the child’s development. Sometimes you may both simply agree to disagree. There is nothing wrong with that outcome and at least you will both know where you stand on the issue.
When in doubt, refer to the golden rule and treat others as you would like to be treated. Believe it or not, coaches and parents have the same desire - the love and well being of your child.
Tony Lotti is an award-winning Georgia high school football coach and the author of Fourth Down and Long: Everything is Possible When You Believe. Learn more about Coach Lotti at http://www.tonylotti.com