Forget trying to be her “other coach.” The best thing you can do to help your daughter excel in athletics is to be a good sport and a good parent. Every once in awhile, I turn to my assistant coach and say: “If some parents knew how much we can tell about their parenting style from coaching their daughters, they would never let their daughters go out for basketball.”
Now before I get myself in serious trouble, I want to emphasize the caveat in that statement: Some parents. For every horror story I’ve heard about an over-zealous parent berating a coach, or otherwise getting carried away at an athletic event, I can think of 20 stories about model parents who are their daughters’ number one fans, chauffeurs, trainers, equipment managers, and smelly sock washers. And they do it all without complaining.
In 10-plus years of coaching, I’ve coached at least a couple of hundred girls in camps, traveling leagues, and on high school teams. In that time I’ve had what I can characterize as jaw-dropping experiences with only a few parents. But even model parents can learn a thing or two about how to better help and support their daughters’ success in sports by hearing a coach’s perspective.
Hence my five tips guaranteed to make the experience more fun for you—and more successful for her.
1. Communicate with your daughter’s coach. Find out what the policies are, what’s expected of your daughter, and which opportunities exist for her outside of regular season practices. Most coaches have an extensive library of books and videotapes they’re willing to loan out, and a good knowledge of which camps might be best suited to your daughter. And they often have an off-season program that offers instruction, practice, and opportunities to play in leagues or tournaments. (Whether it’s a good thing or not, to be competitive in sports at most high schools today, your daughter will have to work on her game during the off season, too.)
2.Help your daughter understand that she needs to work hard. In sports, as in life, the people who have the most success and the most fun are the ones who do a little extra: They show up every day with a good attitude, they listen, and they work hard. (And make sure she understands that practice is the place she really needs to work hard. Almost every player will give it their all during a game.
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