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When it comes to coaches, parents need to be better

May 26, 2020

 

The relationship between a coach and a student-athlete's parent can be a fickle one at times.

 

I was fortunate growing up that the respect my parents had for my coaches - Dave Jeffrey and Glendon Rand - was an outstanding one. It helped that my father was an athlete growing up himself and had some fine mentors at Stearns. 

 

That's why it saddens me to see in this day and age so many coaches run out of town by parents who feel things are getting too harsh on the sidelines.

 

That came to light again this week when Lewiston High School girls basketball coach Lynn Girourard resigned. 

 

The story was first reported by the Sun Journal, and in a letter to the newspaper, the 1999 Lewiston graduate said "it had become increasingly clear that a number of parents did not want to support my coaching approach."

 

To me, that translates to that some parents in that community felt that Girouard was too harsh on her players.

 

And as a parent, former high school athlete, journalist and fitness trainer who loves to coach, that is very upsetting. 

 

Many great coaches like Girouard are falling victim to bleacher coaching. Each coach has a method to his or her madness.

 

Take the aforementioned Jeffrey for example. In his time coaching track at Brewer High School, he was tough on his athletes but in a supportive, empowering way. He demanded your best, whether you were first or last. 

 

He's the reason Brewer became a track powerhouse. He's the reason so many of his former athletes went on to become coaches. He's the reason I'm the coach I am when I instruct my classes. And his passion for the sport is paramount to the point where he operates a timing services business.

 

And parents of his athletes? They stayed out of his way and let him do his job. That's a small part of why we were so successful.

 

It's really a shame to see the opposite happening in this day and age of high school sports. If you son or daughter comes home frustrated about a lack of playing time, don't go calling for the coach's head.

 

Tell your kids to put in the work in the off-season. That's how the playing time is earned. The Iphones and PlayStation controllers can easily be put down for some time of running, shooting around in the driveway, or heading into the weight room. 

 

To the parents of Lewiston, which has become one of Maine's best high school sports communities, you guys can do better. Let the coaches coach. Let your kids be athletes and have fun playing a game. What happens on the courts, fields, rinks and tracks has no bearing on you. Be supportive and be proud no matter the final result. 

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