High school sports is probably the hardest season for youth athletes. No longer is every athlete guaranteed playing time or even a spot on the team. It is where kids either learn to work for their passion, or they give up and move on.
I asked a few high school coaches to share with you what they want parents to know about high school sports and this is the consensus of their replies.
Trust the Coach
As long as your son is on the team, you have committed to trusting the coach to some extent. Of course, it’s your job to watch out for your child, but the coach’s job is to look out for every child or athlete on the team, not just one. He wants to coach each player to reach his potential, but he also needs to do what is best for the team. This means your child may play a position that was not his first choice, and it also means he may not get the playing time he wants.
Hopefully, your child’s coach is being objective in evaluating each player’s skill set. He’s doing this to field the best team he can. That being said, a coach should explain the depth chart to his athletes.
More is Expected of High School Athletes
Many coaches demand accountability, and that starts with communication. Players should notify the coach if they will miss a workout or practice.
Players are expected to give their best effort at practice as much as they do in games.
Players should be leaders in the classroom and on the campus as well as on the field.
Athletes Need Parents to Support the Coach
Your child needs positive input, support, encouragement. Parents need to be their child’s biggest fan. Parents need to listen to their child and act as a sounding board. Don’t be critical and don’t undermine the coach. In fact, your child needs you to support his coach. If a parent gets behind their coach the way they want a coach to get behind their athlete, amazing growth will take place.
Stop coach-bashing at home and encourage your child to resolve issues themselves, without you stepping in to run interference for them.
Academics are VERY Important
Grades come first. Whether the child is a gifted average athlete, he needs to maximize his potential in the classroom. Not every student is a “straight A” student or gifted academically. However, athletics should never interfere with his ability to maximize his achievement in the classroom.
Few college level athletes with a career 2.5 GPA get opportunities for a full college scholarship. That laziness in academics can translate to sports. If a player is often late to class or misses classes, he is usually late or misses his assignment on the field entirely. If an athlete doesn’t study for a test, he can expect to perform poorly. The same holds true if an athlete doesn’t watch film or read his scouting report. Lazy students are lazy athletes. An OK athlete that is an excellent student will always develop further than a great athlete with poor academic performance.
Janis B. Meredith is a sportsparenting blogger, podcaster, and life coach. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Her book 11 Habits for Happy & Positive Sports Parents is available on Amazon.