Parents, Seek Coaches Who Are Tough, but Fair on Your Kids
By Allistair McCaw
TOUGH LOVE – Parents, seek coaches who are tough, but fair on your kids, you’ll thank them later:
Think back to the teachers and coaches you remember and respected most from your school days. You may only remember 2 or 3, but you probably remember the tough ones, right? The ones that challenged you, the ones you didn’t always like, the ones that were strict, but fair.I remember my school track and field coach, Mrs Vorster, being one such type. She would check that your shirt was always tucked in, hair was cut and neat, made sure you greeted all the staff every time you came to practice and would raise her voice to show her disapproval at times.Mrs Vorster was tough, and I only really appreciated and understood it completely years after. We are losing a dying breed of tough coaches I believe, and that saddens me.
These day’s I see it all to often in coaching. Parents complaining that the coach is unfair and too tough on their kid. Parents complaining that their coach is ‘negative’ when in fact thebest way to learn is from the coaches who give constant ‘feedback’ (which is seen by many as ’negative’).
I’m all for positivity, but I’m also all for realism when it comes to compliments being dished out. Especially here in the United States, if you aren’t saying “Good job Johnny” every 30 seconds you labelled as a ‘negative coach’.
If I tell you ‘Well done’ it’s because you’ve earned it, not because I’m trying to keep the Jones family happy and keep my job.I believe if you are a tough, but fair coach you will prosper by attracting the right people and clients. Don’t worry about the ones who leave you for a more ‘softer’ approach.
So here’s my message:
Let your kid’s be challenged and stretched by the ‘tough’ coaches, The ones who have discipline, rules, standards and a zero acceptance to ‘bad attitudes and effort.Stop looking for the ‘yes’ coaches, the ‘everything’s great’ coaches.
What type of adult do you want your child to be one day? One that had compliments and ice cream all the time, or one that dealt with adversity and challenges head on, one that eventually becomes a strong character ed man or women.
I sometimes hear parents mention that their child’s coach is ‘unfair’ or ‘to hard’ on their kid, then I ask them how they’d like them to be if the big world out there is also sometimes unfair and hard?If they are in a team environment, the parents might complain that their kid got substituted again or not chosen for the team, but then their kid only gives 70% effort at practice or doesn’t even make every one. And just because you spend thousands of dollars a year on lessons and sports equipment doesn’t automatically mean your child should be treated in a special privileged and entitled way. Respected yes, but they need to learn to handle toughness, failure and adversity. Teach kids to earn it, to work hard for it, to be challenged for it and to fail at it. That’s how you make them better people and students for life, not just a sport.
Every time we undermine a coach, or blame an official or umpire for a bad call or loss we take away the opportunity for our kids to learn about handling toughness and, well that life can be unfair.You see, there is no better place than sports for teaching our kids what it takes to exist in the real world.
Parents, embrace the fact that this is your child’s journey, not yours. Focus on being a positive, loving and supportive parent. More often than not, your child’s coach is in a better position to evaluate and instruct your child. So let the coach, coach.
So what if the coach raises his/her voice every now and again, so what if she/he throws the clipboard down. As long as there’s respectful boundaries with no physical or verbal abuse, then fine. Seek out the coaches who are positive, strong, strict, disciplined, ones who have a growth mindset approach and those who are tough. Don’t steal the opportunity of your child learning about life by finding a coach who sugar coats things, say’s ‘good job’ to every single little thing your kid does. Find the coaches that challenge your child to grow into a strong independent adult.
It’s called “tough love” – Be tough, but love them. They will thank you later.