Without adults, there would be no organized youth sports. But adults can ruin it for the kids. In this guest post, writer Quinn McDowell gives us adults some good advice.
Managing the Complexity
The dynamics between players, coaches, and parents have become notoriously difficult to manage, and understandably so. The complexity that results from the intermingling of these relationships is due to the very nature of sports and competition. Generally speaking, the coaches agenda is centered around the team, a players agenda is centered around themselves, and a parents agenda is centered on their child’s wellbeing. This is not to say that a player can’t care about their team, or coaches always disregard the wellbeing of their players, but usually this is where priorities lie. To put it another way, the allegiances of all parties involved are usually directed (and rightfully so) towards their primary interests. These allegiances can cause coaches to be insensitive, players to show disrespect, and parents to overstep their bounds.
In youth sports, the majority of this friction could be laid to rest if all players received one specific thing from their coaches and parents. This one thing is a mindset as much as anything else, and if all future decisions can be measured against this principle, everyone will benefit. Players simply need: honest, truthful, supportive communication from their coach and parents. This may sound simple, but the impact can be dramatic. Here are three ways that this type of communication will have a positive effect on everyone involved.
Sports (especially when you have to deal with tryouts, playing-time, and other similar issues) can be a great learning and growth experience for many kids. However, I believe one of the biggest reasons athletes can have a negative experience with their coach or team is because their expectations are never met since expectations are never set. If an athlete walks into a team with a particular set of expectations, and the coach never communicates his/her expectations with that player, inevitably someone will be disappointed.
Quinn McDowell is a writer, trainer and professional athlete. He has played in the NBA D-League, Australia and Spain, following his four-year career at the College of William and Mary. He is the founder of AreteHoops.com and desires to see coaches and players succeed with excellence. He currently resides in Palencia, Spain, with his wife Lindsey.