The Heart Surgeon
You have a heart problem and your family doctor sends you to the heart specialist 100km away. This particular heart specialist is quite popular, has a superb resume, rep, and modern method to operate. You sit down and discuss your heart symptoms. Once the symptoms are discussed and initial tests/assessments are completed you continue to explain your expectations, timeline, how long you want to be operated on, and how you want the surgery to be performed. Flash back to reality and no rational person would find this acceptable. So why are so many parents approaching a well-rounded coach in this fashion. Always remember you’re the Uber driver, financial system if needed and support line for your son or daughter. Nothing more, nothing less. Leave your unwanted opinions at the door, watch the training sessions from a distance, and only clap during game time.
UPDATE: August 13th, 2019 - As this topic keeps coming back to me in full circle, I thought I’d take the time re-visit this in a deeper manner. As this topic is potentially the MOST common in North America and around the world but also has been popping up recently in conversations where I live. Where I live is quite affluent, and seems to be the pattern for parents intervening in youth soccer around the world. However, in Central America, South America, and Africa where the parents last worry or thought for sports intervention, it allows for the athlete is be much more independent and are able to chase what they want to do within the sport, sports or activities. Let’s dive into this increasing epidemic problem! Using clear analogies that will hopefully trigger some realization within parents and the fact that well-meaning actions can still result in massive failure. Above, I wrote a quick blurb that outlines a common parental approach in sports but would never be seen as a reasonable action in other situations like listening to your doctor, health specialist, car mechanic or contractor of your home.
Let’s take the latter and pretend you “half” listened to the contractor and builder of the million dollar home your building on your dream lot. You change the building designs that do not meet the building code, you over spend in areas that the contractor has advised you not to do, and you do not listen to the importance of having a well built foundation. Any logical person knows this would be insane and lack common sense, however in the sports world parents are making decisions for their son or daughter without insightfully consulting a professional, knowing and understanding soccer methodology, and implement training environments that produce more harm than good. The contractor or builder that has an education in building homes, has been doing great work as a career for years, and understands the industry is the person you need to ask the questions and trust their guidance and advice.
The icing on the cake within this analogy is that the building doesn’t have a soul, feelings, emotions or desires. The building does not have a brain or cognition patterns to address. The building is not a person. So even though the parents intentions are pure and out of love it doesn’t take away their poor judgement or lack of understanding that will negatively impact their child physically, emotionally or tactically (let alone socially). I will give you some insight, it will potentially impact all 4. Now you know why athletes quit the game or burn out at an early age. Everyone talks about the coach and the early pressure elite levels can put on an athlete, winning vs development, environment where fun has been signficantly decreased yet no one takes a deeper look at the ENITRE situation. A LOT goes on when the child steps into the car and drives home with their guardian. Imagine both, a poor training environment and a parent that doesn't understand athletic development and the cognition process an athlete needs to succeed. No wonder our youth quit sports at an early age in Canada.
Parents take a step back, ask your child what they want to do and talk it through and listen to your professional coach who is involved in professional talent development. If you want to really stand out as a parent, always remember what I said above: You are the uber driver for training and games, if need, financial system for your child since we do live in a pay to play system unfortunately (2 pro clubs in our Province but are the 2nd biggest country in the world! Mmmm sounds like a new blog topic to me!) and are the positive support system at home. If you leave the rest to the right professional, you will have a happy, well rounded athlete by the time they graduate high school.
As one of my Academy parents recently mentioned in the result of reading this blog, “Love Gets In The Way!”