5 Things High School Sports Coaches Wish Parents Knew

High school coaches really wish all parents knew these things.
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High school sports offer teens a lot of benefits, and a good coach can really make a big difference in a teen's life. But parents don't always see eye-to-eye with coaches. While one parent may be frustrated over a child's lack of playing time, another parent may be concerned about the team dynamics. 

I reached out to coaches across the country to learn about the types of things they wish all parents knew.

They offered a variety of tips about how parents can support a teen's involvement in sports.

Here are a few of the tips they had to offer:

1. Complaining in Front of Your Child Isn’t Helpful

"Never let your child hear you complain. If you are unhappy with the coaching, find a program and coach you are happy with and move on. Most parents don't realize when we speak negatively of a coach, kids pick up on this and begin to look negatively at the coach and will lose interest."

-Mark Robinson, San Francisco Bay Area Basketball Youth and AAU coach and the founder of Personal Player Development Magazine.

2. Being Part of a Team is a Serious Commitment

"If your child signs up for a sports team, make sure you and the child are taking this commitment seriously. If you have other conflicting engagements, make the coach aware of these at the outset of the season. If your child is only showing up for games every now and then and not making the practices, he or she will suffer and so will the rest of the team.

It's unfair to the players who are putting in the time during practices and pre-season to work on their athletic skills to have a teammate show up every now and then who not only expects to play, but is not performing at the same level as the rest of the players."

-Mark Duncan, Athletic Director and Head Lacrosse Coach at The Shipley School, a pre-K through 12 independent coeducational day school in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Choosing a Good Program

"The character of the program's coaching staff is very important. Are the coaches passionate about what they do, do they understand the game, do they try to go above the standards of developing your child? These are some of the things you should consider when selecting a sport's program for the long-term development of your child!"

-Lamar Hull, AAU basketball coach and Founder of Inspirational Basketball in Charlotte, NC.

4. Most Teens Never Play Beyond High School

"Only a very small percentage of high school athletes are able to continue their careers in college and a very minute percentage eventually plays professionally. If those things happen, that is great, but those should not be the goals of playing in high school. Your child is only a high school athlete for a short period of time. Enjoy that time together, help each other through the difficult times, and do all you can to make the experience a memorable and educational experience for everyone involved!"

-Brian Williams, former basketball coach and athletic director in Indiana, and the creator of The Coaches Toolbox

5. It’s Good for Teens to Address Issues Directly With a Coach 

"My preference is always to have the players come and talk directly to me about any problems, before the parent. Players have a better idea of team dynamics, game situations, and coach tendencies and are in a better position to address these issues more effectively.

Having kids speak directly with coaches also helps them resolve their own conflicts, which is great practice for dealing with future problems on and off the field. I do encourage parents to talk to me about safety issues or to ask how their child can improve. Some off limits areas for talks with a coach include playing time and players other than your child." 

-Alex Bondy, New York City Volleyball Coach and staff member with Up2Us Sports, a nonprofit that harnesses the power of sports to reduce youth violence, promote health, and inspire academic success for kids in every community.

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