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5 traits coaches display that parents love
Posted 2/24/2017 By Jon Buzby
Youth sports organizations ask a lot of their volunteer head coaches, most whom display a wide array of coaching talent and experience. But here are five traits every coach can and should exhibit that every parent will appreciate.
Organized Start and finish practices on time and have a prepared plan that allows for the most efficient use of time. Select drills that allow for the greatest amount of engagement by the majority of players. Drills that have long lines limit the amount of ball touches and increase the chance for boredom and loss of attention. A busy kid on task is a productive one.
Communicator This starts with making sure parents always know when, where and what time practices and games are held. There’s no such thing as too many reminders, but remember not everyone is on Facebook so email is usually the most effective communication tool.
But also, as a parent, I want to know when and how is the best way to have a conversation about my child regardless of the subject. Would you rather talk in person? If so, do you prefer before or after practice, or a completely separate time? The majority of these discussions are about a child’s playing time or a game situation. As a parent, I follow the same 24-hour rule I used to require of the parents whose children I coached. I wait a day, and if something is still bothering me, I want to know I can reach out to the coach and discuss it. I haven’t always liked or agreed with every answer I’ve received, but in each situation I was grateful to have been given the courtesy of getting one.
Punctual Families are busy and often have multiple places to be and several things to do on any given practice day. As s a parent it drives me crazy to be told practice is ending at a certain time and then it is 30 minutes later before my child starts walking across the field toward the car.
Like a lot of parents, I plan my day and evening around my boys’ practices, including often picking up or dropping off one sibling right after the other. The most important of these activities is homework. We often decide if it needs to be done before or after practice based on when practice is supposed to end. So when it doesn’t end on time — for no good reason — homework has to be completed later than usual and the rest of the evening routine is now disrupted. As a former coach, I understand there will be times when a practice runs longer than expected. But those times should be very rare.
The same holds true for starting practices on time. If you request my child be there at a certain time, that’s when practice should begin, even if it’s not with the entire team present.
Fair I once overheard a head coach tell a newly drafted 10-year-old: “You’re going to enjoy playing with my son. He’s the starting quarterback.” I wanted to speak up and say, “How do you know that my son isn’t a better quarterback than yours?” Every player should be given a fair shot to compete for every position on a team, regardless of who he is or what role his parents play on the team or in the league.
Fun Kids play sports first and foremost because they are fun. Once the fun ends, going to practices or games becomes more like doing homework. And let’s face it -- no kid likes to do homework.
Coaches need to be creative with their practice plans, drills and activities, and make sure that all kids are engaged and on task the majority of the time. One head coach I know ends every practice with a 10-minute game of dodgeball as long as everyone hustles the entire hour leading up to it. One parent tells me it’s the main reason her child wants to come to practice each week. It’s funny how “fun” works with kids.