On Again Off Again Relationships

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The relationship between the parent and the coach is a delicate one. I have learned as a coach having to manage parent relationships in addition to being on the other end as the parent that these relationships must be handled with care. The ultimate goal of this relationship has to be to help the athlete become the best athlete he/she can become. If that is not the goal of both parties the relationship is doomed to suffer tensions and in the end the only oCR8fx3rUcAAb7xone that truly loses is the athlete.

Let’s be honest that sounds good but it’s hard. Especially as a coach I have my opinions and feel they should be heard. But how does that help my kid? How does that effect the relationship between my child and his/her coach? Remember Jefferey you are the parent not the coach….UGGGGGHHHH this should not take this much thought. When do you speak up? When do you stay silent?

As a coach I have expectations for the parents of my athletes. These expectations include:

  • Leading by example (If you as the parent do not repsect the coach’s authority, recognize and respect the incredibly difficult task officaials have, and support your athlete no matter the score why would your child behave in that manner?)
  • Support the coach and vision they have for your athlete (As the parent oc53e8b4e8c141171525a5fce63e5430aftentimes the focus is on your child and you may not see that your child is only one piece of the bigger puzzle)
  • Encourage your child in good times and bad (Studies show that the most dreaded time for a student athlete is the car ride home. The most important words your child can hear are “I am proud of you” and “I love to watch you play”)
  • Communication (Any scheduling conflicts or concerns the coach should be aware of should be commuincated as early as possible).

imagesAs a parent I have expectations for the coaches that work with my child. These expecations include:

  • Leading by example.
  • Communicating clear expectations of the program and of him/her as a member of that program.
  • Holding athletes in your program accountable. (If my son/daughter leaves your program only knowing how to shoot a ball that’s a problem.)
  • Communicate communicate communicate (Communication is the foundation to any relationship and that is no different in this one).
  • Be a professional and maintain an appropriate relationship with my child.

If everyone involved can come to the relationship knowing their role and working in that role the winner will always be the child. Like I have said before these waters are tough to navigate. But with work and diligence to do what is best for my child I think I can handle this.

Thank you for everyone who actually took time from your lives to read my blog. I am not a professional by any means this blog was ther result of a graduate school project and therefore I will be returning to my day job (or should I say jobs I have so many.) I may be hanging up my keyboard but I am going to continue to work to be the best sport parent I can be becasue I recognize the incredible responsibility I have to be my best and help my children become their best. I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts from the safety of my computer desk chair. Hopefully I have helped someone at least take the time to examine themselves and their role in this crazy sports world. If not…well..I tried ūüôā Until next time….until then I’ll be the guy in the stands trying to keep a neutral face, cheering positive affirmations to my child, and hopefully sitting a little more closely to my wife. Take care.

 

 

 

 

 

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Food for thought (It’s better than concessions)

Watch this video

And read this article

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They just play for the snacks!

What are your thoughts on travel youth sports teams?

As a¬†high school coach and former college athlete I am blessed with the connections and resources that allow me to provide my children with opportunities to play, train and improve their skills without making significant time or financial commitments. But what if I was not in this position? As a coach but also a parent of student athletes I am on the fence. On one hand I want my athletes to improve their skills in the off-season, have the opportunity to hear another voice (hopefully a trained knowledgeable voice that reinforces good habits and fundamental skills), and just go out and play the game. **Gets on soapbox**¬† But on the other hand I am legitimately bothered when club, AAU, travel, elite, or select teams interfere with the high school season, insist that their voice be louder than the high school coach, or influence the decisions of athletes with false promises and exaggerations of outcomes. ***Rant Ahead*** When you are missing high school basketball practice or even a game (yes a game, that happens) to play or practice club whatever that’s a problem. What happened to the value of your word and your commitment to your team? Where is loyalty and school spirit? Are the days gone when being proud to represent your school mattered? It seems that the tide has turned and high school athletics is no longer viewed as the best avenue for student athletes to get exposure to college coaches. Really this all makes my head spin. As a parent I like many others are left confused wondering what should I do? What is best for my kid? Am I robbing him/her from their one shot if I don’t take out a second mortgage and do this? And it should not be that way.

So here is some perspective….

  • There are benefits to playing club sports. Mentioned earlier. But does the positive outweigh the negative? Have we even considered the negative because we are blinded and distracted by the shiny positives?
  • Many of these coaches are paid (well) for what they do so if you are bringing a hefty check chances are they will tell you and your child what sounds good to keep you coming back…Its a business, a big billion dollar business. But don’t be fooled into thinking your child’s athletic ability has a monetary value. Just because you spend a lot does not mean your child will get that starting spot, lots of playing time, a college scholarship etc.
  • Many of these coaches are not holding players accountable. As a society we have arrived at a place where if I don’t like something I will take my money and my talent somewhere else. There are so many “Elite” teams ready with open arms to accept kids and their baggage without even a question as to why they left the other program. And many programs that allow kids with talent to do as they please so they don’t leave.
  • The amount of games played, time spent, and energy exerted on the madness that has become elite youth sports programs ( I keep using that term but many programs are elite in title only) do not take into consideration the social and emotional well being of your child. That is our job as the parent. Advocate for your child make sure you are putting them in situations that make them better people not just better athletes.
  • Ask yourself is your child receiving valuable instruction or are they just attending a series of open gyms and then going and playing 50+¬†games in the summer leading to burn out and increased injuries from over training? Its no wonder when they get to their high school season they are less than enthused and board with defensive slides.

I am left wondering what am I missing? Should my son be flying to California one weekend only to fly to Florida the next? Am I hurting his chances of making it to the next level? My head hurts writing this blog thinking about it. Like myself so many parents I talk to already feel inadequate as parents period. We are in charge of little lives and up to a certain point responsible for guiding those lives with our wisdom. Many days I don’t feel wise at all just lost. But together with my wife we try to keep our eye on the prize. We help and support each other and do some checks from time to time to see if we are leading our littles in the right direction…Do they love God and seek him first?…check… Do they feel loved, provided for and protected by their family?…check…Are their academics in order?…check…Are they having fun and allowed to just be a kid?… sometimes. They don’t particularly like yard work or doing dishes…After all that anything else is icing on the cake. I have to remember it is not my job to raise an ELITE athlete. It is my job to raise God-fearing, self-assured, critical-thinking, resilient, mentally strong, honest, caring, dependable, passionate, independent,¬† faithful grownups that make positive contributions to this world. That’s a tall order. And like I have said before if sports help me do that fine if not I am not willing to sacrifice my children to this youth sport world I can hardly recognize anymore. ***Rant over***

**Side note I don’t think all programs are bad I think most programs are bad. Please don’t feel the need to defend your program here I’m venting.

***Side side note I don’t know if what these programs are doing is wrong per se but it feels wrong and I trust myself so I’m going with…wrong.

****Side side side note do you see the number of question marks in this post that tells you how much I don’t know. Please share your thoughts by clicking comment under the title and answer some of these questions for me!

Can I Force my Kid to Open a Can of Care?

First thank you to everyone who has taken the time to view this blog. I actually thought my wife would click on it a few times and that’s it. I am overwhelmed by your support. That being said let’s go…

Ibigstock-motivational-concept-got-mot-30228101 have been a basketball coach for approximately 15 years and counting. I played for about 15+ years prior to that. I have pretty much followed basketball from the womb. To say I know the game is an understatement. I have coached countless athletes and had the pleasure to witness some play at the next level. I have played at the next level myself so I know what it takes to get there. I think in theory we all do, right, because “what it takes” is the same in anything we want to accomplish. In addition to some talent or ability it takes hard work, commitment, sacrifice and determination to name a few.

This motivating factor we will call drive…I find myself asking the question how do I instill this drive into my oldest son? Can I, his mother his teammates or his coach even do that for him? Are you born with this innate drive or can it be cultivated? How do I motivate him to be motivated? So many questions and no answers just frustration.

I think back to my younger self waking up thinking about basketball, watching the clock during class until it was time for practice, anticipating open gym before practice was over and then looking forward to watching the game when I got home. Let’s just say he does not have the same level of passion, and if he does, he does not express it in the same manner and this drives me insane.

Most days I feel like my son could take it or leave it. Why does that bother me so much? Why do I see this invisible sand timer running out one grain at a time?¬†Why am I comparing him to the other under whatever year olds? Why am I comparing him to the me of my youth (which truth be told my mom told me I didn’t really spend hours and hours out in the driveway working on my game. That is just how I want to remember it). My wife is a school counselor and she likes to throw around counselorisms like confetti (yes I make up words) she says “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I’m sure she saw that painted on a block of wood on Pinterest and ran with it. But it is true! Am I missing the joy in just watching him be him? Really and truly I want him to love what he does. But I want him to care because he truly cares about and enjoys what he does not just because I think it matters.

I teach business and I came across this article and it made me think of this internal conversation I am having with myself. In the article, Business: The Drive to Succeed,¬†the author, Jim Taylor Ph. D., puts it right out there. When describing the grind he states, “Many corporate psychologists will say that you have to¬†love¬†The Grind. I say that, except for a very few hyper-motivated businesspeople, love isn’t in the cards because there’s notimages (5) much to love in The Grind. But how you respond to The Grind lies along a continuum. Loving the Grind is rare. At the other end of the continuum is “I hate The Grind.” If you feel this way, you are not likely to stay motivated. I suggest that you neither love nor hate The Grind; you simply accept it as part of the deal in striving toward success. The Grind may not feel very good, but what does feel good is seeing your hard work pay off with success.”

So many parents are out there pushing their kids, over-training their kids, passing it off as a love of the grind. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling like all this sacrifice is essential and will pay off in the end. But what am I sacrificing? That is the scariest question of all.

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Can we go back!

All that being said I am getting better. I recognize that self-care is important for me and for him (another counselorism I got from the wise one). I let him make the choices. Sometimes its not the choice I would have made, nor what I think he needs, but I go with it, and to be honest I have seen his passion increase because the choice is his alone. I have seen him begin to see the success and the fruits of his labor and that is cultivating the drive on its own. The biggest benefit has been our relationship improving because I took a step back and rather than dragging him by the collar of his jersey down the road of HIS journey I am letting him take the lead. I’m just happy to follow and see where this goes.

 

 

 

Who am I, and What is the Youth Sports Triad?

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Me and my wife Erica

My name is Jeffrey Carroll. I am a high school business teacher, a football and basketball coach, director of the career connect internship program on my campus and sponsor of the Black Student Union. I am in the process of completing my MBA (because obviously I have a lot of free time) and am currently taking a Social Media Marketing course. One of my assignments is to create a blog and track the analytics as well as generate traffic on social networking channels. I appreciate you taking the time to visit my blog, and assisting me in this endeavor.

The reason I chose the topic of building bridges between all the major players in youth sports is due to the fact that my full time #1 job (despite the long job description I provided you earlier) is to be a husband and the dad of three boys and one precious angel, my only daughter. Our children range in age from 13 to 7 and each of them is involved in various sports and activities. As they have grown I feel I have gotten increasingly  better at navigating the troubled waters of youth

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This is a typical Saturday for us sporting events all day long!

sports. However, I still have a lot to learn (a fact my wife makes painfully clear as she changes seats to avoid sitting with me in the stands). I am aware of the difficulty of fully understanding who to be as I sit on the sideline…Am I coach, dad, cheerleader, constructive criticizer, heckler? Joking about that last one, but seriously, my personal experience and observations of other parents of youth athletes, has taught me that it is not always easy and I am not alone.

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Little man will never be outdone by his older siblings.

I stated earlier I am a coach so I have been on the receiving end of parental criticism, but does that stop me from critiquing every coaching decision made by the young men and women who have graciously volunteered their time to coach my kid?… ummm no. Do I occasionally lose it on a ref or umpire if they miss a call even though it is not the world series of four and under t-ball?… Probably. Have there been times when my words, facial expressions and body language convey to my kid that I am less than impressed…Okay I could do better, I admit. The most concerning to me is the last one. The relationship between my child and myself throughout this process. I want to nurture and build my relationship with my children, not tear it down. I want to build their self-esteem, not destroy it. I want them to know I support them even when they are not the MVP or their team misses the playoffs. I want to use youth sports as a vehicle to teach my children valuable life lessons, but I don’t want it to be the vehicle that drives them off of a cliff. I want to be their champion not their opponent in this matter!

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Don’t let the pretty face fool you she’s a beast!

I hope to use this blog to help parents like me have access to resources that will help create a triad between the athlete parent and coach. I want to harness the power of youth sports and use it as a tool to help better the character in my children. Mainly, I will be using this blog for self-help but if I can help others along the way…I am for that as well. Looking forward to this!