Monday Motivational Tips

Another Coaching Responsibility: Positive Parent Training Day

Youth coaches have enough on their plate just helping players learn the game, but it is not a bad idea to have a parent training day, too. Good coaches take on the responsibility of helping build player’s self esteem, and this parent training day helps parents learn the positive coaching approach, also. 

I believe in trying to get everyone, players, parents and coaches on the “same page,” when it comes to teaching baseball fundamentals. It helps players immensely, as they do not get “stuck” hearing, and having to try, very different things from numerous sources. Having a parent day for baseball practice is a good idea for confident coaches, where parents attend a practice for showing them things coaches teach and for things players can practice at home.

Unfortunately, sometimes, this parent training day backfires. Some parents may feel like they know more than the coaches do and disregard the teachings or even disagree with coaches. Once again, it takes a confident and knowledgeable coach to have a parent  training day. However, when I say backfire, it happens in other ways also.

Positve Parents Training Day

At one of my baseball clinics with the same intention of having everyone in the league on the same page, I overheard a parent say, “Why don’t you listen to me,” “You just don’t get it” and “I am not signing you up any more, it’s a waste of my time and money.” Bad enough, but even worse was that this was said to an 8 year old. Most people just shake their head in disgust as I did when hearing stories as this. The problem is that this is more common than one might think and many, who do the same negative coaching, do not even realize they are doing the same things.

Of course, I don’t believe it is the coach’s place to tell others how to parent, but it is a coach’s responsibility to inform parents before and after the practice sessions, the power of positive coaching and the negative effects of the opposite.

“You” is the most empowering word in the English language. Sentiments like “You can do it,” and “I believe in you,” encourage players to have confidence to do the job at hand. Of course, the word works the other way to, as above. Its use degrades and diminishes players’ self-esteem. Quotes as, “You will never be any good,” and “Why don’t you ever do it the way I tell you” are common negative quotes that injure self-esteem over the long haul. Coaches should help parents understand the difference, not through confronting other adults, but through their own words and actions. Unending positive-coaching words and actions win over players and adults in the end.

So, how did I deal with the above negative parent’s words to their child? I simply walked over and said to the young player, so all could hear, “I really love the way you are working on this, I already see the improvement,” and walked away.

Remember, “Negativity corrupts and corrupts absolutely;” an obvious play on words from another famous quote.

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