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Parent-Coach Relationship

Camp Lessons...One Student Athlete's Journey


Meet Allie, an incoming junior, high school and club soccer player and client of The College Program.  This summer Allie had the privilege to attend two soccer camps back-to-back in Colorado.  We interviewed Allie about her experience, how she prepared herself for these camps, what she learned during the camps and what she is going to do with this knowledge moving forward.
how she prepared herself for these camps, what she learned during the camps and what she is going to do with this knowledge moving forward.

Elaine Raakman (Justplay Founder): Abusive Youth Sports Coaches Should Not Be Cultural Norm

Being the mother of an athlete is a challenging yet rewarding role. So momsTEAM has designated May as Sports Moms Month and is celebrating by asking some of our favorite sports moms to share their wisdom by responding to a series of questions.

So far this month we have heard from a fascinating range of sports moms, from a mom of an Olympic athlete to moms who were themselves Olympic athletes, from a mom of two former minor league baseball players to a Minnesota hockey mom and author.

Today, we hear from Canadian youth sports reform advocate and sports mom, Elaine Raakman:

The Canadian founder and developer of Justplay, a program which monitors the behavior of coaches, spectators and players and generates reports which youth sport administrators can use to make data-driven staffing and policy decisions, says if she could change one thing about the culture of youth sport, it would be the acceptance of abuse by adults in general and coaches in particular as the cultural norm.

Sports Parents Asking Tough Questions: Are They Troublemakers?

This past weekend,  the Hey Coach Tony show on a local Connecticut radio station devoted an entire hour to discussing one of MomsTeam's most popular  articles: the one listing questions to ask youth sports coaches at the pre-season meeting with parents. 

In case you don't know about Coach Tony, he is what I would call a "guy's guy": a tough-talking "shock jock"-type of radio host who tends to shoot from the hip, and with a reputation for disdaining political correctness and for using outdated terms for people he doesn't like (I cringed while listening to an earlier show when he used the word "retarded" and "retard' more than a dozen times to describe a person he did not care for). 

This past weekend,  the Hey Coach Tony show on ESPN Radio devoted an entire hour to discussing one of MomsTeam's most popular  articles: the one listing questions for parents to ask at a pre-season meeting.  Particularly instructive was the way he chose to end his show: with an email from a listener saying that parents who ask questions will be labeled as troublemakers.

Teaching Life Lessons As a Coach: Be Careful What You Teach

There seems to be a phrase that every coach has embraced of late which I think needs a closer look, and it is "teaching life lessons." It's phrase you have probably heard a lot lately, so much so that it seems to have taken on a life of its own, particularly in the context of middle and high school sports.

"Teaching life lessons" seems to be a phrase that every coach has embraced of late, so much so that it seems to
have taken on a life of its own, particularly in the context of middle
and high school sports. But the life lessons a coach teaches can be negative or positive. It's up to the coach.

The Best Thing Tom Brady, Sr. May Have Done For His Son: Nothing

Yesterday, I had a chance to talk with Tom Brady, Sr. in his Boston office. Yes, that  Tom Brady. Father of  New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady.

It was actually the second time I had had a chance to talk with Tom.  The first time was at a seminar in Harvard Square a year or two back in which he was on the panel. This time we had a chance to talk at length.  I came away with a much better understanding of the "recipe" he used in raising a super hero: not only an elite athlete, but a wonderful person, too.Tom Brady and Tom Brady, Sr. embracing

The best thing Tom Brady's father may have done for him was not talking to his college football coach at the University of Michigan about his son's lack of playing time.

A Team With An Attitude: Mid-Season Evaluation Form Can Help

It seems that every time I have a conversation with a coach who complains that some of his players have bad attitudes, I quickly start getting a sense that the coach not only isn't doing anything to make things better, but may be contributing to the problem in the first place.  It is often easy for an outsider to spot the bad body language that infects so many player/coach relationships, but goes unchallenged and unaddressed because of the power that a coach has over playing time. If this doesn't make sense to you, start watching the coaches at games, and pay close attention to their body language and interaction with their players. See which team ends up winning. The coach who interacted with their athletes least, and displayed the better body language, probably came out on top.

One way to correct bad attitudes on a team is to give athletes and their parents a chance to express their concerns or air grievances anonymously during the season through a mid-season evaluation form.

Hey Coach, I Just Want You to Listen to Me!

If you're actively coaching sports, please don't let that vein in your forehead burst before I get done explaining why I believe it is so hard to be a well-liked coach with a winning record to boot.

A good youth sports coach knows how to listen. Really listen.

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