Ahead in the Count

Let the Coach do the Coaching

Yesterday I got an email from a friend who coaches her son’s tee ball team. She was asking for advice for how to deal with an overly aggressive dad who spends most of the game coaching from the bleachers. The dad supposedly yells instruction at his son and sometimes at the other players, upsetting many of the kids and frustrating the coaches.

This is a pretty common issue — especially at the lower levels of youth sports where many fathers (and mothers… but usually fathers) believe that they can do a better job than the coach. I’m not a parent but I’ve witnessed scenes like this enough times to understand that there must be such an overwhelming urge to see one’s child succeed on the athletic field that normal rules of human interaction no longer apply.

Kids should learn at an early age that there are one or two authority figures on the field t0 whom they need to listen —  just as there are one or two teachers in their classroom. No parent would ever think that having 12 parents in a classroom — each yelling at their kid to color within the lines or finish their multiplication tables faster — would create a good learning environment. But somehow when sports and competition are involved, good sense is lost.

I encouraged my friend to have an admittedly uncomfortable conversation with the father. I told her not to single him out as the only one who does this and to use the analogy of an elementary school classroom. For further motivation, I explained that the guy’s child will be the ultimate beneficiary.

I look forward to hearing what happens. Maybe my friend will  comment on this post with an update.

May 4, 2009 Posted by | On the Field, written by Ted Sullivan | 1 Comment