What sports parents want coaches to know

By Janis Meredith | Posted 6/6/2016

Coaches, here’s an open letter expressing what sports parents want you to know:

Thank you for sacrificing your time to coach my child’s team. As parents, we often get irritated, but we are still glad you are willing to do the job. Someday, I may be coaching, but for now, I’m glad to just watch.

There are a few things I’d really like you to know:

I’m not out to get you; I just love my child. If it seems that I sometimes have a personal vendetta against you, please know that this is not true. I just love my child and sometimes that protectiveness rears its head when I feel my kid is not getting a fair shake.

I want to see my child have success. It would be great if my kid could be the star of the team, but I know it’s more important for him to work hard and reap rewards for that hard work. If I get angry about his playing time it’s because I want him to feel like his hard work has paid off. But I also know that success doesn’t always show itself in minutes played; it comes in many intangible forms and I’m okay with that. I just want you to acknowledge his hard work and help him experience some success.

I want my child to enjoy playing. I’m not asking that you take it easy on my kid, I just want him to have fun even as he is working hard. I would love it if you would help fan the passion my child has for his sport. From what I’ve observed, a coach does this by being positive even as he corrects and teaches, by truly caring for his players, and by wanting each child to become a better athlete and person throughout the season. If you do that, I’m pretty sure my kid will be excited to go on to another season.

I want my child to be safe. Please don’t ever forget that my child’s safety–and the safety of every child on the team–is the most important thing. Please take time to get properly trained and be sure you have medical personnel around who can step in when needed.

I think my child is the best. And so does every parent who has a child on the team. Unfortunately, some of us let the my-child-is-the-best mentality translate to my child deserves to play all the time, or my child should be playing quarterback (or pitching or playing libero or goalie). Please accept my apology right now for blurring those lines, and try to be patient when it happens.

Someone once said that having a child is like watching your heart walk around outside your body. In that case, there’s a lot of parents whose hearts are out there playing on your field or court. That does not justify our bad behavior, but I hope it helps you understand just why we are so passionate about our kids’ sports.

Sincerely, Mom and Dad

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach's wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. Her new booklet, “11 Habits for Healthy and Positive Sports Parents,”is available on Amazon. She has a podcasting series for sports parents. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.