31 March, 2016

Dear Parents

Dear Parents

Image Credit: K Whiteford

A open letter to Parents, that every coach wants you to know. Because sometimes coaches are just too nice to tell you the way it really is. So listen up...

Hi Parents,

I am going to be coaching your child this season for the sport you/they have chosen. I really appreciate you choosing this club and giving me the opportunity to be a part of your child’s learning in this sport.

I just wanted to write you this letter, because I think that it is important that you understand a few things from my perspective. It might help you understand some things later in the season if we need to have a chat.

Firstly, I am coaching this season for a couple of reasons:

  • I love this sport and I love this club, both have given me many opportunities when I was a junior and I now want to share that passion with the next generation.
  • Because of number 1, I couldn’t just stand back like the majority when the club was calling for coaches. So I put my hand up to help out.

Now here are some things I am not:

  • I am not getting paid for this. In fact it actually costs me money. A lot of the equipment I buy to make the sessions interesting, I got from the sport store on the way to training, with my own money. They say time is money, well the hours I spend in preparing for the sessions, being down at the club and talking to great parents like yourself, means I spend a fortune!
  • I am not doing this because I have spare time. In fact I work fulltime, have a family to look after and try to have a life outside of sport. I am just as busy as you are.
  • I’m not perfect; I make plenty of mistakes. In fact I will make plenty this year that I am sure you will see. I get it; you might second-guess if I have got the skills to be coaching your child. Well, we are all human and mistakes are part of the learning process. I am still learning to be a great coach.

I would really appreciate it if you could help me with the following:

  • It would be great if you could get here early or even stay after training to help set up or put gear away. What would be even more amazing is if you could help out during the season. Sometimes coaching kids is like herding cats! Waiting in your car like this is a drive through doesn’t help me to build a great relationship with you as a parent or help to create a successful team
  • If you don’t agree with something I say or notice a mistake, then please bring it up with me constructively and to the side of training. You having a go at me in front of the team, in the middle of training or a game doesn’t make my life any easier or me a better coach.
  • Know that this isn’t professional sport. The kids just want to have fun and I am trying to give everyone a fair go. I get that you are just looking out for your child. Well, I’m trying to look out for all 15. You undermining the team values to promote your child as an individual works against the team cohesion and discipline I am trying to create.

I hope you don’t take this the wrong way. I love coaching and love teaching this group of kids. I feel privileged that you have allowed me to teach your child something new every week and to be someone that they look up to. I sometimes just get frustrated with the small minority of parents that make volunteer coaches second guess their reasons for coaching. I know you are not one of those parents, but I want to be honest with you from the start.

The positives of coaching these children definitely outweigh the negatives. I just hope that you can help me to eliminate the negatives of having to deal with overbearing parents.

Yours sincerely, a volunteer coach

© 2019 Paul Mead