Player, Coach, Parent

The pyramid used in Anderson and Aberman is a useful illustration of the relationship that should exist between coach and player, coach and parent, and parent and child. The main problem with the situation involving Jenny is that she began to see her coach as a friend. A coach may play other roles for an athlete other than strictly being a coach, but playing the role of a friend should not be one of those roles. In college, often times a coach will play the role of a parent for a player. This is not uncommon because many athletes are a long way from home and a coach can give guidance, support and discipline much the same way a parent would do. I like what Warren said to Jenny in one of their later conversations: "Everyone needs someone to talk to sometime, but my main job is to help you become the very best tennis player possible." Warren did a nice job of letting Jenny know he was there to listen to her frustrations, but that he was a coach first and foremost. What I like about the pyramid is that the line between coach and player is not a solid line. This is important because athletes must feel their coach cares about them as a person and not only as an athlete. This is summed up well by the popular phrase, "They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."

The FA Parent Guide videos are a great example of problems that exist in youth sports. Obnoxious parents are a common occurrence in youth sports. I agree with Elizabeth's comment in her blog that although she was appalled by the father's behavior, she is sympathetic knowing that the father just wants what is best for his son. There is nothing wrong with wanting to give your child the best experience possible, but most parents have probably never educated themselves on the best way to do this. Without completely letting obnoxious adults off the hook, some parents are unaware that their yelling and screaming (which they perceive as helpful coaching) is detrimental to their child's sporting experience. As mentioned in the video, when a parent begins to yell and coach from the sidelines it undermines not only the coach, but the confidence of the child as well as the child's ability to think for him/herself. A yelling parent puts unreasonable expectations and pressure on their child. The whole situation in the video became so bad that Joe's dad decided he wanted to put Joe on another team. I find it interesting that Joe's dad never took the time to ask him what he thought of the game and his experience on the team. When asked why they play soccer, all the kids talked about the enjoyment of the game and the chance to be part of a team. In youth sports, winning and losing does not matter as much to the kids as it does to some parents. A child likes to see their parent encouraging from the sidelines and being supportive of all the players on the field.

Dan DeWitt

**I was unable to open the youtube video or the AAPHERD brochure