“Second-Goal” Parenting Method #1: Establishing a Coach-Parent Partnership
Research is clear that when parents and teachers work together a child tends to do better in school. There is no reason to think that it is any different for Little Leaguers. Following are guidelines for how parents can cooperate with their children’s coaches for the best possible Little League experience for their children.
- Recognize the Commitment the Coach Has Made: For whatever reason, you have chosen not to help coach the team. Coaches commit to many, many hours of preparation beyond the hours spent at practices and games. Recognize their commitments and the fact that they are not doing it because of the pay! Try to remember this if anything goes awry during the season.
- Make Early, Positive Contact with Coaches: As soon as you know who your children’s coaches are, contact them to introduce yourself and let them know you want to help your children have the best experience possible this season. Offer to help the coaches in any way you are able, such as being a “team parent” responsible for coordinating car pools or snack schedules. Getting to know the coach early and establishing a positive relationship makes it easier to talk later if a problem arises.
- Fill the Coach’s Emotional Tank: A Little League Double-Goal Coach® fills players’ emotional tanks (like a car’s gas tank, when people’s “emotional tanks” are full, they can go anywhere, and when they are empty, they can go nowhere). But coaches need their tanks filled, too! When coaches do something you like, let them know it. Coaching is difficult and many coaches only hear from parents when they have complaints. Truthful, specific praise that fills coaches’ tanks will contribute to their doing an even better job. Also, if you’ve given credit where credit is due, it will be easier to raise any issues that occur later. Many coaches do a lot of things well. Take the time to look for them.
- Don’t Put the Player in the Middle: Imagine a situation around the dinner table, in which you complain in front of your children about how poorly their math teacher teaches fractions. Wouldn’t that affect your children’s motivation and respect for that teacher? Same with your children’s coaches. Conversely, when parents support coaches, it is that much easier for players to compete wholeheartedly. If you think your children’s coaches are not handling situations well, do not tell your children. Rather, seek a meeting with the coaches.
- Don’t Give Instructions During a Game or Practice: You are not one of the coaches, and it can be very confusing and un-nerving for children to hear someone other than the coach yelling out instructions during a game. If you have an idea for a tactic, quietly discuss it with the coaches and let them decide whether or not to heed your advice. Remember, getting to make those decisions is a privilege they have earned by making the commitment to coach.
This information is brought to you by Positive Coaching Alliance. To learn more, please visit www.positivecoach.org.