When What Parents Say Isn’t What They Want

A typical parent interaction with a coach after a game or practice usually goes something like this:

  • Great win!
  • You really worked them!
  • You annihilated them!
  • Your star player is incredible!
  • They really got their exercise today!
  • Tough loss!
  • We’ll get them next time!

If these are the only comments coaches hear, then over time it is easy to understand why coaches come to believe that it is all about having tough practices and winning.  However, if coaches act to these comments, they are likely to become the object of parent and player frustration.

Many parent don’t always know what to say to coaches.  Their inexperience with the sport, shyness or fear of causing problems for their child can lead them to make only the most basic and obvious statements.  More heartfelt comments such as:

  • My child is really enjoying his season.
  • My child is bonding with his teammates.
  • I really appreciate the sportsmanship my child is learning.
  • My child has become a better leader in his classroom based on your coaching.
  • Thank you.

are seldom made.  Although they are often parents themselves, coaches may have a difficult time judging other parents’ desires from hallway or field conversations.  When in doubt, coaches need to seek out parents for more lengthy and heartfelt feedback.

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