10 Things Parents Want Coaches to Know
1. I love my child so much it hurts. It makes me a little irrational. Please bare with me. Be gentle. My heart is walking around outside of me, and I entrust it to you. I am not asking for a free pass, just a little empathy.
2. And of course, I want you to love my child too. I realize you have many kids to love, but let’s admit it…mine is really awesome.
3. Despite what my actions might suggest, I want to be a good parent. I really do. So much so that I am prone to making mistakes because I over think things. I need your help in guiding me on how to be the best support for my child-athlete. If you think I am doing something that isn’t good for my child (like watching every practice or constantly bailing her out when she leaves her gym bag at home), communicate that with me. I am all for help from the village.
4. I need more information. I don’t understand things and that make me anxious. I need to understand how kids move up. I need to understand how to explain to my child what she needs to do to move on with her friends or to know that she won’t be so I can explain that to her. When I don’t have information from you, I rely on other parents, the internet or I make things up myself. We both know that this is hardly a good thing…
5. Because remember: I don’t speak gymnastics. To me a giant is a character in a fairy tale. Kip is a guy with top siders and a country club membership. And don’t get me started on Tsukahara or Yurchenko… Then, once I think I have the hang of what the levels all mean, things change, and I am confused again. Is level 6 easier than level 5 or is that just my imagination?
6. Just because I ask you a question, does not mean I am questioning your competence. I genuinely don’t understand things and need clarification. Please try not to be defensive. I am working hard to assume good faith and hope you will assume the same in me.
7. Big surprises freak me out. They freak everyone out. If my child isn’t going to move up or is missing a major skill she needs for competition, please tell me in time for me to prepare her or better yet help her achieve her goal. I know that delivering bad news is not fun for you, but if you tell me in advance I can maybe do something about it. And if bad news is unavoidable, be sensitive in how you deliver bad news but tell me the truth. In private, please.
8. Please understand we are juggling a variety of commitments and that means sometimes we might be late or even miss practice. I understand that gymnastics is your career and it makes it harder for you to do your job if my child isn’t in the gym. But occasionally a sibling’s first communion or grandma’s 90th birthday will fall on a day of practice or even a meet. And, once a year we travel to visit family and once another time we will actually scape enough cash together to go on a vacation. Sometimes the carpool falls through and I cannot get her little brother from soccer at 5pm and be on the other side of town to drop her at practice at the same exact time. We accept any logical consequences that arise because of her absence from the gym and will do our best to notify you in advance, but please do not take your anger or disappointment out on her.
9. You are the expert on the sport and my child as an athlete, but I am the expert on my child. Please know that I will always defer to you on what to teach my child, but I can provide insight to you on who she is. For instance, if one of my children says she’s not feeling well, I might take it with a grain of salt. If my other who has never missed a day of school in her life and never gets sick says that, I am certain its true. Let’s work together to share what we know so we can best understand her.
10. If you have a chance, can you encourage my kid to read, straighten our her room and be nice to her parents and siblings? You see, you have a magical influence over my child. She worships you and wants you to be proud of her. You are her role model. And I am grateful for that and am happy to bring you Starbucks whenever you need a caffeine boost.