I have had hundreds of conversations with parents about their kids’ sporting experiences, probably the majority of them about their kids’ coaches. Some have been frustrated, others furious, many confounded by actions these coaches took or did not take. What is a parent to do?
Be RealisticOne of our sons played on his school’s varsity basketball team with a boy who had little talent. The coach didn’t cut him because he knew the boy desperately wanted to make the team. Even though the boy was content to ride the bench, his parents frequently grumbled about their son’s lack of playing time.
When parents don’t accurately assess their child’s abilities, they, and often their child, become frustrated. Since it is hard for a parent to be objective, I occasionally asked sports-wise people to appraise my sons’ talents. I used that information to help my sons (and me!) develop reasonable expectations. One time we used the information to begin praying that our son would have an opportunity to play more—a prayer God eventually answered.
Be a Godly ModelWhen one of our sons was a senior in high school and a starter on his basketball team, his playing time was reduced for a few games because his coach believed he wasn’t hustling. This made no sense. His athletic intensity never dropped much below 10, as evidenced by six steals in his most recent game! So what was the best way to help our son? If the goal was his maturity, I couldn’t lead him where I hadn’t traveled. Though I wanted to gripe about his “brain-dead coach” (the description that kept assaulting my mind!), I chose to forgive the coach and help my son do the same.
Be a FriendCoaching can be a lonely calling. What your child’s coach may need is a friend—someone who will encourage him, drive a van, assist at a practice, record statistics. The main communication most coaches hear is how they could do their jobs better.(How do you think your surgeon would react if you gave him advice about your upcoming surgery?!)
Parents, act like a parent and not a spoiled child. Your child needs a godly model for how to handle life's unwelcome surprises.