Last week I wrote a post about how young players can take control of how much attention they are given, in try outs, by exacerbating a few key “controllable” character traits that coaches get excited about. Naturally, by giving insight and insider information on the “realities” within the game, I had a little backlash from some parents that may not have liked everything they read. I will take this opportunity to admit, I have come to accept that writing or having opinions worth any merit will probably result in a large mob chasing after me with pitchforks and torches.
Without further a due, I invite you to have your favorite hay bailing tool by your side and keep the kerosine close, as the remainder of this post may not put me in the best grace’s with most of you.
Enter Harsh Reality…
I proudly consider Performance Unlimited the “missing link” that exists between the parent and the coach. We are a truly neutral party towards all clubs and teams, and can freely give real, non-partisan, information to everyone that asks for our services. We have no dog in the fight, and have turned down opportunities within clubs because I value this position greatly. Our staff will never recommend players move to a club, however we often give recommendations on coaches that I feel create the right environment for the player in question. These coaches vary greatly across the city, with a variety of different clubs.
It is my belief that parents appreciate our program, because we naturally create a nonjudgmental and confident environment within our training facility, that allows the player to blossom into surpassing potential. The coach can appreciate us (well, most coaches), because we have the time and resources to make sure that each player is progressing in the manner that said coach feels is best. We exist as an extension of the team coach and a voice for the parents.
With that being said, I can also give all parties a bit of truth which should come of no surprise to either entity. Parents and coaches rarely have a relationship where positive and clear communication exists. Therefore, each side has quite a bit of frustration pent up that may never get out until it is too late or rears itself as an all out shouting match. When either side does try to do the right thing and say what is on their mind, judgement often ensues and typically everyone walks away more angry than before.
I have made no secret that the 2-3 weeks prior to tryouts are not my favorite time of year, and I have witnessed and heard of too many instances where parents are doing more harm for their children than good. Every coach has their “crazy parent” story…EVERY COACH! And I feel it is my duty to let parents in on what may irk the very person that has the ability to make your beloved son or daughter’s next year of soccer a great experience or a nightmare. Remember, do not shoot the messenger, as I am sure these examples do not include you or your past actions…but be aware so that they never do become a part of your interactions with your child’s soccer career.
Here is a list of things you, as a parent, may want to avoid, prior to tryouts or any other time, for that matter:
- Giving the coach an assessment of where your child should play. Whether it be position, team, or any other “expert” advice you may have from your illustrious Lincoln High class of ’82 (the golden years of American player development) career. This is single-handedly the last opinion that you should be giving to a professional coach.
- Calling the coach every day. If your coach or DOC is not answering the phone, it is, most likely, for a good reason…they don’t want to hear you go through the first mention on this list. All you need is one very simple and justifiable conversation that would introduce yourself (or touch base, if you know them already) and say that your son/daughter is looking forward to the chance to be at tryouts. Enough said. Don’t allow the coach to create a picture of you “calling them at midnight, after practice, next year because you want to talk about how little Johnny is a natural striker, not an outside back”.
- Letting yourself get anxious or nervous before tryouts. This is not your world, parents. If you want your child to be on the team that is best for them, they need to play well, and the way to ensure that they do not play well is to be an absolute ball of nerves leading up to tryouts. Kids are the most intuitive people on earth…they know you like the back of their hands. When you are suddenly having them attend every session that the DOC is putting on, buying them $150 pairs of cleats, and telling them that “if they don’t move up a team, then they should give up the sport”…they are automatically going to freak out.
- Relating personal status with team name. This is the most applicable to youth soccer. I understand that you want what is best for your child, and you exist to protect them from harm. However, the name Predator or Gold after their year of birth, does not make them any more of a person than playing Recreational soccer. What a person does on the field does not reflect on who they are. You have to believe that and preach that value to your children, or it will be a long and expensive road.
- Using political ties or other means to allow your child to be where they do not deserve. This not only effects the team where the player ends up, but it will effect the player as an individual. A lower level player on an upper level team, is a liability for the development of the team and the individual. Most often, the year spent on the upper team will swing the pendulum for the player far in the opposite direction. The player ends up moving down and the confidence of that player has been killed because they have sat the bench for a year and compared themselves unrealistically to others much more capable. Shame on you and shame on the coach for allowing it!
For more information on Jeremy Boone, Parent Your Best, or how to play your parent role to the best of your ability, visit: www.parentyourbest.com