Dec 15, 2011 10:45 AM
Whether you are a parent or a coach reading this the volatile and sometimes hostel relationship between parent and coach has a dramatic impact on both players and team, usually to the detriment of both.
Having coached nearly 700 fastpitch softball game I have pretty much seen and heard it all, as a coach, parent and fan. As we all know...it gets ugly sometimes! The real question is why does it get ugly and how can parents and coaches get along better?
In competitive or travel softball parents always have a choice as to which team they place their daughter on; in high school or rec softball you're kind of stuck with whomever is coaching. In either scenario there are definite ways to make the relationship work...here they are:
1. Better Communication - Whether parent or coach the best way to resolve any issue or concern is with one-on-one communication. Take the initiative to approach the other party calmly with suggestions. Don't assume the coach or parent knows what you are thinking and that your point is "obvious" to him/her. Go to the source and work it out. As a coach I always appreciate a parent who takes the time to seek me out to address an issue. I want what is best for my team and each player, and if any parent can help towards that end I'm open to it.
2. Lower Expectations - In my experience many softball parents have astronomical expectations for both their athlete's and team's performance. As a coach I can tell you that most teams are a work in progress; particularly if they are a new team or a team jumping to the next age group. I recognize frustration occurs when players or teams don't perform well, but if your athlete is under 16, believe me, she has yet to master a very difficult game. Give it time.
3. More Patience - Which leads me to more patience! We expect a lot from our kids today and sometimes they have a difficult time handling everything we throw at them. Allow them some time to get better. No coach is a miracle worker. A good coach sees the big picture for his/her athletes and the team. Do wins and losses really matter at 10, 12 or 14? Look for the baby steps of progress.
4. More Trust - Parents need to trust their athlete's coaches more. In my experience parents assume they know exactly what is going on with the team at all times. However I can assure you they do not know about injuries, keep track of playing time (for 12-14 kids...which can be hard), work with the players in practice, know their strengths and weaknesses as well as those of the opponent. If you have committed to a team trust that the coaches have a plan.
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