For Parents: Tools for Supporting Your Daughter and Her Coach on Tournament Day

Tournament days are sometimes the hardest for the parents. You do a ton of work, early in the morning to make it possible for your kid to play- driving them over an hour to their venue, making sure they’re fed and have every piece of equipment they need, not to mention caring for your other children, or helping with carpool, and then, you have to sit around and stress out about them all day, and usually with other people that are stressing. Sometimes, I glance over at the parents section and it just looks so taxing over there. Agonizing over every point, standing up, sitting down, pacing, head in hands, hands in the air, happy, sad, angry, excited, yelling– whew, what a roller coaster!! Is your kid playing enough, is the team winning, are they being treated fairly by coaches and teammates, are they winning…whoops did I repeat that?

You’re going to watch your child  play in minimally 50-75 25 point sets this season. Some of them will be AWESOME– but some of them will be very challenging, and bring potential disappointment to your child, and stress to you. Maybe they didn’t play, maybe they played poorly, maybe the team got spanked.  How can you, as your child’s biggest supporter, maintain a level of consistency in your approach as fan, parent, and team participant? How can you help your child recover, and help the coach support the mission of the TEAM?  I’m here to alleviate some pressure from you with these words – please, just be a fan of your child, their team and your coach.  

Some quick do’s and don’ts…

When your child is disappointed in their play time:

     DO NOT:

  • Tell them their coach is clueless.  (Your coach NEVER stops thinking about this team.  They always want what is best for the team’s well-being first, I promise!)
  • Tell them they deserve more playing time (this plants a seed of distrust between player and coach and can become really unhealthy for players and ultimately tear teams apart!)
  • Tell them they are better than their teammates that played ahead of them (see above!)
  • Give them specific volleyball advice (even though you may have watched volleyball for a long time, or maybe played before, you may not understand the specific systems that your coach and team are implementing, so to give specific volleyball advice may be contradictory to what your child is learning in practice).

     DO:

  • Encourage them to talk to their coach. (Coaches love when players advocate for themselves and can oftentimes give players great strategies for earning more playing time).
  • Encourage them to get in the gym more (At SoCal, you can come work out with other teams near your same age/level, ANYTIME – just contact your coach and ask them to help you find a team to jump in with.  Be sure to attend the optional club workouts (check your team calendar for details).  Take private lessons with our coaches!
  • Let them know that they will get their chance to be on the court, and when they do, they need to be prepared to seize the moment.
  • Ask them if they had fun.
  • Tell them you’re proud of them.
  • Tell them you love them.

When your child’s team lost, or she played poorly:

     DO NOT:

  • Tell them they should’ve won (just because they lost, and you think they’re awesome, does not mean they should’ve won.  Most times, if a team is performing at their level, they won’t lose to teams that are not better than them.  Telling them that they should’ve won only plants the seed in their heads that they aren’t good enough, and that can destroy team morale and chemistry.)
  • Berate their play (your player knows better than ANYONE when she didn’t play well, you don’t have to remind her or try to fix her.)
  • Berate the play of their teammates (talking badly to your daughter about her teammates can be very detrimental to team chemistry and cohesion.)

     DO:

  • Ask them how they think they played, and highlight the good stuff.
  • Ask them what their coach said and reinforce it. (help out the coach by agreeing with him or her)
  • Ask them things they think they could improve on. (just let them vent)
  • Help cheer them up, and help them maintain a positive attitude and sense of self-worth.
  • Ask them if they had fun.
  • Tell them you’re proud of them.
  • Tell them you love them.

Now, we aren’t always talking worse-case scenarios here either.  Sometimes your team will win!! Sometimes your kid will play out of her mind!  The same rules apply…ask her if she had fun, tell her you’re proud of her and tell her you love her.  The fact of the matter is, the coaches have a really tough job.  They want to build up the kids, maintain a sense of team pride, win, please the parents, represent their club, teach the tough lessons of fairness, discipline, diligence, leadership…we put SO much into this team.  We lay in bed and think about it every night.  We worry that we’re making the right decisions for each individual player within the framework of our team.  We worry a lot about winning, and what you will think if we lose.  Please don’t think that we don’t know exactly what we’re doing when we play a child, or when we substitute a child off of the court – there are a million decisions we’re making, ALL for the team.

So, relax!! Enjoy your child’s day.  Be a fan. Change your expectations that the team should win and that is the only way to measure their success.  Smile when she makes a mistake and move on, just like we ask the kids to do.  We call it “next play volleyball”…so “next play volleyball parenting”! Learn how to enjoy watching your kid do what she loves and ultimately she (and YOU) will love it even more.
By | 2016-12-16T10:00:24+00:00 February 18th, 2016|Beach, The SoCal Way|Comments Off on For Parents: Tools for Supporting Your Daughter and Her Coach on Tournament Day