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Parents, Coaches and Children

Be astonished and amazed by our coaches and leaders - but please do NOT try to tell them how to do their job.

As the North Branford Thunderbird Cheerleaders start their competition season, I have been looking back over the past year. I am always amazed at how the parents, the unsung heroes of the school sports and activities community, constantly step up to the plate to support their children. I am also astonished at the coaches and leaders, that skilled group of individuals, who take every child and turn them into something special – an athlete, a performer, a team player – while juggling jobs, school and personal time.

However, I am also aware (sometimes painfully), that there are a few individuals who believe that they know better than the coaches and leaders, and are insistent upon making their opinions known. I have unfortunately seen how detrimental this is, to the children who are approached directly by the ‘well-meaning’ parents, the children of the parents who would really rather that the ‘well-meaning’ parent please not say anything, and to the coaches or leaders who have enough stress trying to transform a bunch of individuals into a cohesive team or group, pulling out the best in every one of those individuals.

Our coaches and leaders are hired because of their skills and they know their job. If the parent believes that their own child is having trouble, by all means approach the coach or leader but please do NOT try to tell them how to do their job. In addition, approaching the children on the sports or activities team and airing opinions is highly detrimental – the children take direction from the coaches and all the ‘well-meaning’ parent is doing is casting seeds of doubt on the performance in the minds of the children.

The best thing that parents can do is to support their children, be the ‘taxi’, support the fundraising activities, pay for all the items that go along with the sport or activity – but NOT to tell the coach/leader what they should be doing, nor to tell the team or group what they should be doing.

Here is my plea to those ‘well-meaning’ parents – PLEASE STOP.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michelle Cleveland March 01, 2013 at 01:58 PM
1st off coaches are leaders and also teachers. How dare you write NOT in bold. What example are you teaching the kids if you feel the need to talk badly about their parents. Now I'm wondering who is in high school the kids or the coach? If you have a parent who feels a concern for their child regardless if they think they know more than the coach as a leader they should listen to the concern and try to understand where the parent is coming from if they are right or wrong. As parents it's your job to support your child in any sport and if you or your child feel they have a problem it is the coaches job to listen if they like it or not as they were hired to coach an lead. As a parent of a 10 year veteran Pop Warner, All Star and High School Cheerleader I have never heard anyone say such words. How dare you!!! Your article sounds like you are bullying children and their parents. Maybe you should take your own advice and grow up!!! I am appalled as a parent and a leader you would write such words. If you are a coach I hope you get fired. If you are a parent shame on you and your child should be removed from the program as you are a BULLY!!!!
Janice Despotakis March 01, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Michelle thanks for your comments. It's great that blogs allow us to air our opinions, isn't it? However, I would like to point out that I did state, if your child is in trouble, by all means, you must step in and speak to the coach, leader, teacher, etc. However, I don't believe that a parent should try to tell the coach/leader/teacher, etc., how to do their job in general, or go to the members of the teams or groups and ask why they are not doing certain things, why other teams look better than they do, perform better than they do - that is the hurtfulness of the 'well meaning' parents - and they do mean well I am sure. But to criticize the children is wrong and providing unsolicited input to the coach/leader/teacher is wrong - and it isn't effective either. The bully is not me - its the 'well-meaning' parent.
Victoria Raucci March 03, 2013 at 01:23 AM
Michelle, I think you might have misunderstood the article. The intention of it was it to suggest that it would be best to let coaches decide what is best for their team, and that spectators not approach the coach or the participants directly to insult them or make suggestions. The parents of the participants themselves have a stake in what happens to their children, and if there is a positive relationship between the coach and the parent, respectful communication is encouraged and welcomed. The problem addressed in this article refers to when outsiders directly approach the coach and the participants to insult their efforts and offer advice. For example, I would not approach a basketball or football player to insult his playing skills, nor would I tell the coach what his team should be doing. Good sportsmanship and judgment is not limited to the players - it extends to the parents and spectators as well.

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