Open Letter to Coaches of Youth Sports

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youth sports

Dear Coaches of Youth Sports,

This letter is an apology of sorts. With a son and daughter who have both played a variety of sports, from t-ball to basketball to soccer, we have had our share of volunteer and paid coaches. Over the years, I have made some observations:

1) No matter what time of day you pick practice, someone will complain. Billy has Kumon right after school so we need practice at 4:20. Kaitlynn needs to eat a full vegan meal at 5pm and then digest it so we can’t even think of practice until 6:30pm. We can’t do Wednesdays because we have piano that day. Be secure in the fact that people will complain no matter what day or time you select. For volunteer coaches, your reply to parents should be simple: “Feel free to coach next season if the time/day selected does not work for you!”

2) Location = another no-win situation. The field you choose will be too far from work, school, or home and you will field complaints. You may even get complaints if the location is not by a Starbucks or Target (that’s me!). You will be asked to consider fields that are not near your employment or home. Please reply with your answer from point 1.

3) Player Position. As parents, we cherish and love our lil’ darlings so, of course, we want Lily to play center forward and be on the field scoring goals most of the game. (Mind you, little Lily may want to play goalie – but that’s not want mama wants.) You will hear feedback on play time, position, and have heated debates about why Dylan doesn’t get subbed while your son is on the bench. Be consistent and fair, but stick to your guns. All children need to learn to be subs, and as parents, we need to respect the coach’s decision. (Notice I didn’t say agree, but we must respect).

4) Ah yes, RESPECT. 99.9% of our kiddos are not going to go pro, or even play college level sports. So what do we want out of this activity? Fun, competition, teamwork, physical activity, kids who respect authority …… So as parents, we need to show that respect. No matter if you, dear coach, are volunteering or paid, you are giving up time for our children. Respect.

5) Competition. We all want to be on the winning team with the championship trophy or medal at season end, but I will tell you that my kids have learned more by being on the scrappy team that does not win a majority of their games. We all want our kids to learn perseverance and have the ability to compete even when they are the underdog. Coaches, you are not represented by the game stats – you are represented by players that play fair, work hard, and play to the final whistle!

Thank you Coaches! Thank you for the headaches & heartaches. Now let’s play ball!!

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