Helpful Hints

Updated Friday June 19, 2015 by Amelia Carruth.

Helpful Ideas for Parents

By: Tim Eastlick, Head Football Coach, River Valley High School

I would like to thank John Hoch, and the WFCA for asking me to contribute to The Point After ll. I have spent the past 10 years coaching football, basketball, and track at both the mid­dle school and high school levels. It has been my privilege to learn many life lessons while being involved with high school and college athletics. I would like to add a thank you to my parents for "steering" me in the right direction.

I have just completed my first year as a var­sity head coach. I thought about what infinite wisdom I could share with the association. I decided X's and O's would be for someone with more experience. At this time I would like to share an article that I presented to my foot­ball parents at our parent/player meeting at the beginning of the season. As we all know, par­ents have become more active in their chil­dren's athletic experiences, sometimes positive­ly and some times negatively. Hopefully, this article will be of use to you:

A Coach's Letter to Parents
By Dr. Darrell Burnett
All Iowa Sports & Fitness

January 2003

Here are some hints on how to make this a fun season, with lots of positive memories for your kids and your family.

  1. Make sure your kids know that, win or lose, you love them. Be the person in their life they can always look to for support.
  2. Try to be completely honest with yourself about your kids' athletic capability, their competitive attitude, their sportsmanship, and their level of skills.
  3. Be helpful, but don't coach your kids on the way to the game or at the breakfast table. Think how tough it must be on them to be continually inundated with advice, pep talks, and criticism.
  4. Teach your kids to enjoy the thrill of com­petition, to be out there trying, to be con­stantly working to improve their skills, to take physical bumps and come back for more. Don't tell them that winning doesn't count because it does, and they know it. Instead, help them develop a healthy com­petitive attitude, a "feel" for competing, for trying hard, for having a good time.
  5. Try not to live your life through your kids. You've lost as well as won, you've been frightened, and you've backed off at times. Sure they're an extension of you, but don't assume they feel the same way you did, want the same things, or have the same attitude.
  6. Don't push them in the direction that gives you the most satisfaction. Don't compete with your kids' coaches. A coach may become a hero to your kids for a while, someone that can do no wrong, and you may find that hard to take. Conversely, don't automatically side with your kids against their coaches. Try to help them understand the necessity for discipline, rules, and regulations.
  7. Don't compare your kids with other players on their team - at least not within their hear­ing. Don't lie to them about their capabili­ties as a player. If you are overly protective, you will perpetuate the problem.
  8. Get to know your kids' coaches. Make sure you approve of each coach's attitude and ethics. Coaches can be influential, and you should know the values of each coach so that you can decide whether or not you want them passed on to your kids.
  9. Remember that children tend to exaggerate. Temper your reactions to stories they bring home from practice or the game about how they were praised or criticized. Don't criti­cize them for exaggerating, but don't over­react to the stories they tell you.
  10. Teach your kids the meaning of courage. Some of us can climb mountains but are frightened about getting into a fight. Some of us can fight without fear but turn to jelly at the sight of a bee. Everyone is frightened about something. Courage isn't the absence of fear. Courage is leaming to perform in spite of fear. Courage isn't getting rid of fear -- it's overcoming it.
  11. Winning is an important goal. Winning at all costs is stupidity.
  12. Remember that officials are necessary. Don't overreact to their calls. They have rules and guidelines to follow representing authority on the field. Teach your kids to respect authority and to play by the rules.
  13. Finally, remember that if the kids aren't having fun, we're missing the whole point of athletics.