RT Staff Note:The following is an exerpt from the Book Athletes wanted by Chris Krause, founder of National Collegiate Scouting Association, Chicago, IL.
Don’t be a helicopter mom or we dad.
This rule applies regardless of how old a child is, and whether dealing
with a child, athletic director, high school coach, college coach, or Pee
Wee football coach. A helicopter parent hovers over the child, not
allowing her to grow or act for herself. As parents, w live vicariously
through the child’s accomplishments.
Remember, in the parent/student-athlete relationship, the student-athlete must become the team captain! Th e greater load the student-athlete takes and is able to handle, the better. Th is particularly applies to communicating with the coach.
Don Beebe, a former member of six Super Bowl teams, now runs a program called House of Speed in which he teaches athletes to build character through sports. The most important role he sees for parents is to create an environment that fosters positive growth.
Beebe had the following advice for parents: “Th e biggest thing is
to stop putting pressure on kids. If playing sports is her passion, back
her and support her. If a child puts her heart and soul into a game and
still loses, a parent should pat her on the back with as much enthusiasm
as if she had beat a world record.”
RULE #2: TEACH HUMILITY.
On the fl ip side, young athletes—especially those who are talented—can receive too much support, develop attitude problems, and become less motivated in important activities outside of their sport. Quality parenting can make the diff erence between a child who thinks he is king of the world and a humble, gracious child who works hard and excels as an athlete and a student, said Michel Balasis, the
former kicker for Michigan State University and head of Loyola University’s department of visual communications.
“Student-athletes are a mixed bag. Because they are great athletes, the pampered ones think they can skate by,” said Balasis, noting they are easy to spot for their lack of work ethic.
But Balasis takes notice of the students whose parents expect more of them. These students are also easy to spot because of their rigorous work ethic and ability to go the extra mile.
Parents are primarily responsible for their children’s attitude. Children who strut into class thinking they will sail by because they are student-athletes will learn a lesson later in life. Parents who teach their children early to work hard will save their children from years of suff ering while in college and later during their careers.
“Teach your kids that they need to earn what they have,” agreed Beebe,who knows a thing or two about hard work. “When they cross the line in sports or academia, step in and tell them they have to change.”
To compete successfully in sports, a student must maintain an academic standard. Parents should insist on it now, and their child will be better prepared for the demands of college. If parents overlook it now, their student-athlete might not make it past freshman year in college. Like a good coach, a good parent will discipline their children who have stepped over the line.
What the student does to the fi eld is just as important as what takes place on the fi eld. As the recruiting process begins, maintaining good grades becomes more and more important. Performance in the classroom tells a coach plenty about an athlete’s likelihood of reaching their potential on the playing eld. Coaches know that good students tend to make the most of their abilities and stay out of trouble.
Michael Stonebreaker, two-time All American from Notre Dame, reports that his father made him go to summer school because he received a C on his report card. Stonebreaker was not happy with the requirement, but it was the only C he would ever receive. Later, his high GPA helped him earn a full scholarship to Notre Dame, so while he had to devote his summer to academics, he learned a valuable lesson.
We suggest the three-part ACE formula for teaching students to be accountable.