Dear High School Coach,
Let me begin by saying that:
• I do understand that the little bit of money you are making by coaching, if any, does not cover 1/16 of the commitment and time you put into the program.
• I am not a coach and have never been a coach. I have never walked in your shoes but honestly don’t feel that would make a difference. These opinions are based on positive leadership and respect for others.
• I realize that there is always more than one side to the story. We know that our children aren’t perfect. We trust that, if needed, you will deal appropriately with disrespectful or lazy attitudes by our teens.
• I believe that if you are a high school coach, and these opinions anger you, you are probably the coach I am talking about.
• I acknowledge the fact that there are more awesome coaches than there are not. For them I am grateful.
• I ask that you realize that these are opinions. We are allowed to have them.
CODE OF CONDUCT STANDARDS
I totally support having expectations spelled out in a code of conduct type of document. A form in which the athlete has to read and sign.
And I get the reasons why parents are asked to “co-sign” the document.
Nowadays, parents need to realize that they can’t act like idiots and that they have to help hold their teenagers accountable for things that they do against the code of conduct.
But, here is my question.
When do we, as parents, get to hold you accountable to a certain code of conduct?
Why are we and our teenagers held to a certain standard but you aren’t?
Please understand, as parents, our hands are tied.
If we were ever to stand up for something that we believe you are doing isn’t right, safe, or fair, our teenagers would kill us. We chance to ruin their ability to be successful on the team for the rest of their high school career.
So we just stay quiet as long as we can.
Each parent is in charge of their war.
We never join forces in fear that backing up another parent will hold the same consequences for our daughter. We just thank God that the spotlight is not on our daughter-yet.
We sit in the bleachers acting as if everything is okay as you ignore us and act like we don’t exist.
We organize and pay for meals, car washes, and locker decorations so that our daughters feel supported-and because you have made it mandatory.
Regardless of the fact that our own mother is in the hospital, we are recovering from our own illness or surgery, or we have a huge project that we are in charge of at work, we bust our butts running around the state in attempts to find the exact pair of black shorts to wear with their uniform…because they outgrew them or ripped them at the last game and they are scared to death to show up at the next game without that exact pair because you will publically embarrass them.
We sneak time from work to try and track down some kind of sports season schedule because you don’t feel the parents need it.
After all, in your opinion, the KIDS should be adults and keep their own schedule. Parents just need to wait in anticipation to be told when and where their teen needs to show up somewhere.
And, we are the ones rushing home from work in the afternoon during lunch break to put their uniform in the dryer so we can rush it over there after school because you decided to change what uniform they should wear at that game that night.
And then we go to the end of the season banquet and listen to your ridiculous talk about how proud you are of the team and thank the parents for all they do to help the team succeed.
We attempt to hold back our urge to vomit as the underclassman proceed to stand up and give you the accolades you require to even consider them for the team the next season.
And yeah, that gift that the team went together and bought you. You know, the one that you barely acknowledged. We paid for that, wrapped it, and brought it to the banquet.
In fact, what’s in the package is just as surprising to the teens as it is for you.
Needless to say, we are completely worn out by the season, and we promise ourselves that we refuse ever to be treated like this again.
And then during the off-season we forget our emotions from the season before and feel re-energized enough to do it all over again.
Maybe it wasn’t as bad as we remembered it to be. This year will be different-right?
Heck no. Usually within the first week of the season, it's apparant that we have again signed up for months of the same emotional stress that we endured the year before.
So below is the list that I have compiled of standards that I believe should be put in the code of conduct that I feel you should have to sign.
This list has been compiled over time by my own experiences and in talking with other parents from all over the place.
What I’ve discovered is that the frustration is widespread. The problem is not just in one particular school or with one single coach.
I’ve made a commitment to myself and my “tribe” that I will always be transparent and that everything I write about will be for the reason of positive change or improvement.
I’m hoping this can just bring awareness to someone so that female sports can remain positive, competitive, and educational for teen girls.
1. Respond to emails, calls, and texts. Even if it’s just a short response such as “kk”. At the very least, just let us know you got it.
2. If you don’t like it, quit. Your team knows it, the parents know it, and everyone around you who has to listen to you complain know it. We are hoping you quit.
3. Don’t try and teach them life lessons and treat them like they are lazy and irresponsible adults. They aren’t adults. The parents raising them are the adults. That’s why the government says we get to support them now until they are 26 years old.
4. Just realize that when you go home after a game, we are at home picking our daughter off of the floor in tears because she felt she didn’t live up to your expectations AGAIN-and we continue wondering why our daughter cares so much about what you think when we know she will never live up to your expectations.
5. If you make practices mandatory, it is mandatory that you have a set schedule. The whole families’ lives are usually set about a month in advance so that we can function efficiently. This particular team doesn't encompass our whole lives.
6. If you have girls dropping the team, it doesn’t matter what they say the reason is. It’s because of you. You are an ineffective leader.
7. Let’s think outside the box in regards to the “rules” you have put together. If a teen misses part of a practice to go to a funeral, she shouldn’t be made to feel as though she is letting the whole team down. If a teen misses two games because she is flying across the world with her family to help orphans on a mission trip, it isn’t the same as leaving practice early to go to a concert one week and missing a game the next week to go on vacation with their best friend. It’s just not the same.
8. Unless they are 16 and have their license, they don’t drive themselves to practice. Even then, they have to have a car to drive. If they are late, it’s probably because their parents got pulled over driving 100mph on their way home to pick up the teen, while trying to ignore the beeping of their phone from the constant text messages their teen is sending them about the trouble they will be in if they are late.
9. Don’t categorize them according to how they played in 5th grade or how talented your best buddy coach thinks they are based on how they played years ago. Every year should be a clean slate because some teens spend their whole off-season doing whatever they can to improve. They deserve that chance.
10. Don’t flirt with the parents or the teenagers. Ew…it’s just gross.
11. Don’t degrade them in front of others, or for that matter, don’t degrade them at all. We trust you to teach them in a productive way. We don’t comment on how big your butt is or how ridiculous you look with that new haircut.
12. Don’t put them at risk. Not much else to say about that.
13. Don’t question a diagnosis or treatment plan by their doctor. It’s weird and annoying.
14. Don’t assume you know how to parent, especially if you don’t have kids. Don’t tell the girls what their parents should or shouldn’t do but yet not have the guts to discuss it with the parents. One of the best quotes I have ever heard is: “I was a wonderful parent before I had kids.”
15. Don’t have mandatory parent meetings, and then change the date or time at the last minute.
16. If you have mandatory parent meetings, be organized and efficient.
17. Don’t automatically label all of us parents as overbearing psychotic parents who think their teen is the best on the team. The majority of us won’t run to you and complain every time we think our teen isn’t being treated as such. We know there are parents like this because we work with them, go to church with them, deal with them as the parents of our daughters’ friends, and purposefully refrain from sitting by them at the games because we are just as tired of listening to them as you are.
18. If you give them a uniform that is ten sizes too big for them, there is no magical seamstress in the world that is going to make it look right. It may require safety pins, staples, tape, or a miracle. And for that reason, you have to be okay with that.
19. Understand that single parents are truly doing the best that they can. Speaking from experience, there is almost no conceivable way that children of a single parent can participate in extracurricular activities if the coach is unrealistic. Yes, some do it. However, many teens of single parents are not involved in sports because it’s not possible. Either they get caught in the middle of their parents arguments about paying for the sport or transporting back and forth from the sport, or one of their parents doesn't support them participating in the sport. These kids go through a lot of emotional messes, most of which they have no control.
20. When you act like an out of control and disrespectful coach during a game, that’s how you look. It’s embarrassing, and we just feel grateful that we don’t have to go home and live with you.
21. Colleges expect teens to be "well rounded" in their extracurricular activities. That means they may be involved in more than just the sport you coach. Of course, it is important that they communicate schedules and changes to all parties involved as soon as possible. But regardless, any resentment or anymosity between coaches needs to be dealth with between the coaches. It's way to much pressure on these teen girls to play referee between you.
Ultimately, these girls look up to you simply because you are their coach. You have an opportunity and responsibility to take that seriously and support them.
If that fact isn't exciting to you, we expect and respect your decision to move on.
I welcome constructive comments, so please respond if you have an opinion. And again, thanks to all of those selfless coaches that are passionate and devoted to our daughters!