I was in several meetings over the past few days where the topic of parents in youth sports came up; in fact it was a recurrent theme. In light of my post of the Manifesto on Youth Sports it certainly struck a nerve with me. I think reflecting back on my 38 years of coaching; one of the biggest things that has changed is the involvement of the parents. 38 years ago a parent would never think to question a coach on anything. Today the parents are always involved and always questioning. This incessant drive to gain a scholarship or a pro contract has really distorted the whole perspective on youth and high school sports. I certainly was involved as a parent in my daughter’s athletic career, sometimes possibly too involved so I think I can look at this from a personal perspective. Not every kid will get a scholarship; even fewer will play professionally or be Olympians. Somehow we have to regain a healthy perspective that gives the young athlete space and allows the coaches to do their jobs. On the other hand it is important for the coaches to be well trained and professional in their approach. We all need to recognize that everyone is not created equal in ability. As the athletes rise though the system the better athletes will get more playing time and recognition. Everyone cannot be a star, but everyone can strive to be the best they can be. As adults and coaches we need to stress commitment ant and individual improvement to the youngsters so they the measure against themselves. I realize this is a Pollyanna attitude, but I still believe this. I know who the stars are on the volleyball team I am working with, but as an athletic development coach my greatest satisfaction comes from the young freshmen girl who may never play varsity but has been there every day working her butt off. In my eyes she is as much a star as the stars.


At 3/14/07, 8:32 PM, Blogger Joe P. said...

Good point Vern. Our most winningest teams were not necessarily the one's with the best players. One year our football team had 7 players get scholorships to D1 colleges. We finished 1 game above 500, our worst season ever. The most successful teams were the ones where the 50/50 kids stepped up their game.

At 3/15/07, 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our mantra with the kids we coach has always been, "I don't care how good you are. I care how hard you try." Good things happen when you are putting forth an honest effort.
Our biggest challenge has been in getting the talented kids to put forth consistent effort.
It's so much fun to come across that rare individual who has both talent and desire.

Bob Helfst


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