Ancient Chinese Advice for Coaches

“To know your enemy, you must become your enemy… Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
Sun Tzu

Unfortunately for some youth coaches, this saying might have more application to team parents than to the weekend’s opponent. However, if parents are becoming a problem, this ancient Chinese battle strategy does provide solid advice for coaches seeking a remedy.

Coaches and parents do not have the same goals. Where parents focus on one child, coaches focus on the entire team. Most times, these differing viewpoints yield the same result and parents and coaches see little conflict. Occasionally though, these differing focuses cause two distinct interpretations of events. This is where Sun Tzu’s advice comes into play.

For coaches to work with parents, they need to bring them close and to communicate. Coaches not only educate players, they also educate parents. Part of a youth coach’s job is to help parents understand ways they can help their child and to help them understand things from a team perspective. Good communication between coaches and parents goes a long away to keep things in perspective and under control. Good communication won’t make the viewpoints the same, but will make for a better understanding.

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