This is an open letter to my child’s school athletic coach. A coach can have such an impact on a child whether it is a small child or one who is in High School. The impact can be positive and/or negative. I will speak about the experience my child has had. My daughter first tried out for the sport she would come to love in sixth grade. Her sport is/was Cheerleading. She did not make it her sixth grade year, but tried out again in seventh grade and made the squad. She was so very happy. She would stay on this squad till the end of her freshman year in High School. She had made many good memories over those years. Her coaches during that time period were straight forward. Here are the rules, you break them and there will be consequences. As it should be, this teaches children during this time in their life to be respectful, to be disciplined, to be responsible, to learn to work with one another and so much more. These coaches were strict; they looked like they would bite your head off. At first I was taken aback by how abrasive they seemed to be. Over the years thru interaction and just sitting back and watching I realized these coaches were being just that; coaches. They invested their precious time to molding and sculpting young cheerleaders into young ladies. They did not try and become friends with my child or any of the parents. They were there to do a job and at the end of the day they were respected by the team members and parents.
Cheerleaders have a very important role. They promote spirit within the school, community and they are role models to young children who idolize them and want to be just like them. I understand why coaches monitor social media pages to include Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and any other social media outlet a teenager would be a part of. Parents and Coaches can find out a lot thru monitoring these websites. If you are a part of a school team and you have little children looking up to you then you should not display bad behavior to include foul language, explicit behavior, partaking of alcoholic beverages – underage drinking, fighting, consumption of illegal drugs, etc. School athletes represent the school system and should exhibit good behavior. As a coach if you turn a blind eye to things that your athletes are doing and you are aware that it is of poor judgment, you are in a sense condoning this behavior.
After Ninth grade my daughter went on to make her High School Varsity Cheerleading Team. Oh was she excited, that is a big accomplishment. Her first year on the squad was alright with minimal issues but as time went on and she went on to make the team her junior year issues started to arise and by her senior year well it was a mess. Her coach during this time period was less then mediocre. The communication between coach to parent and parent to coach was awful. It seemed that if you had an issue and addressed it somehow/someway your child would pay for it. There were members of the team who were hurt while participating in a sport they loved doing. Some who could not return to cheerleading cause of serious injuries, injuries received while practicing and or performing and some returned, desperately wanting to participate knowing it may be the last time they get to compete were told and I quote:
“I’m not going to work you into the routine cause you would not be contributing anything to the team”
WOW! What coach says that? I know winning is the top goal but making one of your cheerleaders feel worthless speaks volumes as to the type of coach you are.
She could not tumble due to an injury, yet there were and are team members who cannot tumble. So my questions are:
1) Why would a coach say that to a child?
2) What did the team members who could not and can-not tumble “contribute” to the team?
My point is if you are a coach to a child whether it be little league football, middle school softball or varsity cheerleading, they follow your lead, what and how you say matters watch what you say to these kids. Put 100% into being a coach. You have the power to make the experiences great. When you have great coaches you will have a great team. It starts at the top.
Behind every great Athlete is a great Coach.