A good friend of mine, who is a mom and former coach, recently shared this on Facebook:
"Your kid's success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are…But having an athlete who is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient, and who tries his or her best is a direct reflection of your parenting."
It really had me thinking of a few experiences with parents as a young coach. Parents want the very, very best for their children. There is never any doubt about that. Sometimes in that wanting, what they say and do in relation to their child's sport can get lost in translation, especially to their son or daughter. Instead of "good try" or "I love watching you play!" comments and cheers turn into loud groans when a serve hits the net or phrases like "it is never too late to start training for college." A child can view that as not being good enough, while his or her parent only wants the best and is thinking about the future, accidentally missing the present ever-important journey to that goal.
On the other hand…
"Coaches, your team's wins or lack of wins in volleyball does not truly indicate what kind of coach you are…But taking a group of individuals to form a team that can look back and see improvement, individually and as a whole, while fostering a love and appreciation for the hard work is a direct reflection of your coaching." And most of the time, if your team has these things, wins will come naturally.
Too many times, teams with all the talent and physicality in all the world lose to less talented teams because they do not know how to play together as one, thus preventing any real team improvement. No matter how much the coach yells, throws the clipboard, tells the team that they are better than that, demands suicide sprints or conditioning, the team cannot figure it out. As a coach, being able to recognize that the record of wins-losses is not the only thing that matters. How you play the game, work together, and improve is just as important and can prove better results on the scoreboard in the end.
Parents and coaches, you are on the same team. Stop blaming one another for things that the players do or don't do on the court. Both want the same for each player, each child, the very best experience and opportunities on the volleyball court. Yes, differences will happen and discussions will be had, but respect (and a good example to boot!) is required especially in front of that child, the player. The coach knows what is best on the volleyball court, and the parent knows what is best off the court. Work together, if not for the sake of each other, but for the sake of the player and child.
Whether you are a coach or a parent, a future coach or a future parent, or even none of the above, take a minute to think about these two quotes and how they can possibly apply to your life. Many times, we are so focused on one aspect of a goal, such as total wins or playing in college, that we are blinded to other important parts, including the wonderful, sometimes tough journey to reach it.