When it comes to sports and kids, parents have a vested interest that goes beyond safety concerns and a good-hearted desire to instill healthy habits into childhood years. In many cases, parents can become irritating, annoying, and even abusive toward coaches and staff over what they believe is unfair treatment of their children. This behavior is partly to blame for the 70 percent of kids under the age of 13 who drop out of organized sports.
Why Do Most Kids Drop Out Of Sports?
It begins in the early stages when coaches volunteer to train our kids. A good-hearted family member of one of the kids on the T-Ball or softball team offers to coach the team in order to pass on their love of the game. For everyone involved, it’s an innocent and carefree activity. Points aren’t recorded, the teams go out for ice cream after the games, and everyone gets a trophy at the end of the season.
Within a couple years, however, things tend to change. Kiddo is a rising star and you begin salivating over a potential scholarship or starting position on your favorite team down the road. And thus begins a new era of parental-based sideline coaching. Why? Perhaps you think you know more than the coach. Perhaps you believe the coach is a volunteer or otherwise unfit for the task. While 25 perfect of coaches in America are volunteers, 75 percent are paid instructors who are hired specifically to improve the overall performance of the team. In other words, he’s not just there to focus on your pride and joy.
What Are Basic Coaching Requirements?
Oftentimes, your kids’ coaches are full-time teachers. Even if they don’t choose to teach as their primary occupation, if they’re paid coaches, they’ve met the training requirements of a school teacher. Beyond that, specialized training in first aid, concussion knowledge, and coaching fundamentals are required before they’re issued their whistle, clipboard, andlanyard.
For all intents and purposes, the coach has to play the role of a parent, teacher, motivator, and medic alongside of his or her basic coaching duties. He’s responsible for ensuring everyone knows their schedules and shows up when they’re supposed to. He’ll arrive an hour early to prep the field and stay late to return the football equipment back to the locker room. Therefore, you know that furious screaming from the fence, or worse, in the coach’s face, thing you do? Yeah, it’s not helping. Let the coach do his job.
What Can You Do to Help?
In any type of sport, there are needs for all types of support. If your local school team has a booster club, consider joining it. If there isn’t one, you can organize it yourself or simply help by agreeing to supply extra sports equipment or coaching supplies. And that would be much more beneficial to the team than becoming irate over differing opinions regarding the “lack” of fairness on the playing field.
If the coach is an established teacher within the district, he likely has access to access to gym teacher equipment. However, if you’re feeling especially generous, new locker room equipment – balls, cones, pads, helmets, new mouth guards – are options to consider. But you can start off small as well. Clipboards and dry erase boards are always needed for planning new plays. Scorebooks, scorers, whistles, lanyards, and laser pointers are necessary basics as well. And he can always use extra stopwatches, timers, pedometers, water bottles, inflators…the list goes on. Confused? Ask the coach what supplies you can help out with for the season. Sometimes just making the offer is enough to save face when you’ve been less than tactful.
The point is this: it’s fine to get emotionally invested in your kids’ activities. But when you cross the line and become verbally abusive, it ruins the fun for everyone. Your child will be torn between his loyalty to you and his desire to please the coach. Work with the coach, not against him, and everyone will remain happy on and off of the playing field.