Parents vs. Coaches

PARENTS VS. COACHES: Why Parents Feel Compelled to Meddle

A most interesting conversation with Bob Cook from Forbes Magazine this AM. Bob, who writes a youth sports column entitled Your Kid’s Not Going Pro, was talking about why so many parents feel empowered – almost entitled – to meddle with their coach’s HS or travel coach.

Of course, most coaches have rules in place regarding parents. That is, no talking with the coach for at least 24 hours after a game…or parent can set up a formal office appointment with the coach….and in some cases, the coaches insist that the youngster himself or herself talk with the coach and not the parents.

But most parents feel – especially after they have invested a lot of time and money in their kid’s sports education – that the HS coach needs to be doing everything he or she can to promote the kid’s talents so that he or she can shine on the varsity, be named to All-Star teams, and ideally put together a stellar athletic resume that will attract college coaches.


So if the kid is not getting enough playing time, or is playing the wrong position, or is not named as a team captain or All-League, then the parent begins to develop a growing unease that he needs to talk with the coach and to “enlighten” him or her as to just how talented their son or daughter is.

Bob agreed, and took this step one further: basically, by the time your is 16 or 17, they probably already know whether they’re one of the top stars on the team. And they also know what their realistic odds are of playing in college.

Problem is, the parents don’t pick up on any of this. They see their kid as being one of the best, if not the best, athlete on the team, and as a consequence, with a little extra boost or promotion from the coach, the youngster should be attracting college scholarships.

But of course, it doesn’t work out that way. As we know, very few HS kids are good enough – or for that matter, even have the desire – to play at the next level. And as a result, the real disappointment ends up with the Mom or Dad who have been the last 10 years hoping and spending their way to help insure their kid gets one of those golden tickets.

Invariably, it’s the parent who feels that their dreams are being crushed….not so much their child’s.

Too often, this is a sad and disappointing outcome, but unfortunately, it happens all too often.