As a former high school/college/pro player, coach and father, I ask that everyone review this Basketball Guide and Advice for all of our parents, guardians, coaches, and staff members.
Parents… you must embrace the fact that this is your child’s journey – not yours. Do not live vicariously through them. Put your focus on being a supportive and encouraging parent.
- It’s true. Coaches do play favorites. They favor players who give the team the best chance to win, who have great attitudes, who work hard every day, who embrace their role (regardless of what that role is) and who support the program’s culture. It subject to change! If you think a coach doesn’t ‘like’ your child, your child is more than likely deficient in one (or more) of these areas. Own it and help them grow.
- As far as playing time goes, coaches want to win. If your child will help them win… they will play. If not… they may not. Especially at the older age levels.
- Often, your child’s coach is in a better position to evaluate and determine appropriate playing time because they see everything. They see work ethics, attitudes, teamwork, coachability, posture, and games (whereas most parents get an incomplete picture because they only see games and what their kids tell them).
- Often, parents never want to admit that most coaches usually have a better basketball IQ, feel for the team, what they want and general understanding of the game then parents do (so questioning a coach’s X’s & O’s or their ability to judge talent is inappropriate).
- Stop coaching your child from the sideline. The only ‘voice’ a player should receive instructions from is the ‘voice’ of their coaching staff. This will take the fun out of the game for your child, and at times embarrass them. Don’t coach…Cheer!
- You love your child more than anything in the world. You always want what is best for them (which is understandable and respectable). However, a coach’s obligation is to do what is best for the team. In many instances, what you want your child and what is best of the team is not congruent.
- Never discuss playing time, strategy or another player with your child’s coach. Never! Those 3 domains are sacred ground.
- Politicking will never get your child more playing time. I promise you, this statement has never been said by a coach in the history of high school basketball, “I really need to start playing Jeffrey more because his mom thinks he isn’t playing enough.”
- You should encourage your child to communicate any issues, questions or concerns they have (or you have) directly with their coach by having them schedule a meeting. It is my belief, as a parent, you have the right to attend that meeting, simply as an observer, but the discussion should be between your child and the coach.
- NEVER approach a coach immediately after a game (24 hour rule)!
- Do not undermine your child’s coach! Subtle, passive aggressive comments like ‘Your coach doesn’t know what he’s doing’ or ‘I can’t believe you don’t play more’ do not comfort your child (although I am sure that is your intention) – it enables them to have a bad attitude and to make excuses… both of which are unacceptable.
- If your child isn’t getting the playing time they feel they deserve or if they lose a tough game… use that experience as a powerful teaching tool. Teach them how to own it. Teach them what they can do in the future to possibly get a different outcome.
- Stop berating the referees. It sets a bad example and it makes you look foolish. The referees are doing the best they can. Often, a referee has a better position and a much better understanding of the rules to make the correct call then a parent does. And I promise you this statement has never been said either, “Can we stop the game? I’m sorry everyone. The loud-mouth mom in the stands is right, her son did get fouled on that last play.”
- It is highly unlikely that your child will play professionally. In fact, statistically, only a very small percentage of you will have children that play in college. So let them enjoy the journey. Their playing days will be over before you know it. Use basketball as a vehicle to teach the life lessons they will need when they grow up.
- Don’t push your child too hard. It’s OK to encourage. It’s OK to suggest. It’s OK to hold your child to a very high standard of excellence… but don’t force them to ‘get up extra shots’ or get in extra workouts. That must come from them, not you. If they choose to do those things on their own, be supportive. If they choose not to, if they choose to only do the bare minimum, they will eventually learn a potent life lesson (not make the team, not get much playing time, etc.).
- One of the best things you can do is develop a quality relationship with your child’s coach. Listen to them for some sound advice.
- Please cheer, root and support all the kids, your coaches and the organization. THANK YOU!