A few months ago, I posted a question on the Instagram Story for my account for volleyball coaches, @getthepancake. I asked:
“Coaches: What’s Something You Wish Parents Knew?”
While the range of responses is pretty wide (and some good points were brought up which I wasn’t expecting) there are two-three major areas where there are some common misunderstandings between coaches and parents.
Since this article will most likely be read by fellow coaches, there will probably be a lot of agreement with many of the statements (there were only a few I didn’t fully align with, myself).
However, instead of grabbing our pitchforks and banding together to complain about parents or commiserate about how tough our job is, I hope you read through the list more than once and really think about what each response means on a deeper level.
So instead of wondering why parents just don’t understand the rotation, think about what you can do to help them understand it.
I created a free print-out describing roles on a volleyball team if you want a simple way to explain positions/playing time/substitutions to your parents. Just enter your email here and it’ll be emailed to you asap!
A couple of thoughts before we get into the responses:
I didn’t make judgements about what should/shouldn’t be on the list and included every answer submitted (provided I could tell it was from a coach). I made a FEW spelling/grammatical corrections if necessary to read, but left most responses how they were. This includes statements I agree with and disagree with.
Remember, the question is what do you WISH you could say to parents… that implies these are tough topics to address and therefore might be slightly controversial. I’m going to let myself speak for all the coaches out there and say there are tons of great things about parents that we appreciate, too. But that’ll be another article, another day. :)
Having respectful relationships with our players’ parents/guardians/families is vital to a healthy environment for our athletes. Think about what you can do to improve strained relationships if possible, simply because you care about the kids on your team. Better yet, how could you start off on the right foot with families?
Instead of skimming the list, take time to think of solutions that could help each coach. Could you apply that solution (or something similar) to your own coaching experience?
With that said, here are the answers coaches submitted:
“Coaches: What’s Something You Wish Parents Knew?”
“How hard it is to have a kid not play much even though they work hard and have an A+ attitude.”
“How substitutions work.”
“How much care and thought goes into tryouts and playing time. I’m usually sick over it!”
“Why their kid only plays front row or back row… Just an idea of rotations and positions!”
“That motor learning requires much more than endless repetitions of part of a movement.”
“Your kids hold on to the things you say about them. They want your approval.”
“Pedagogy, methodology, and social and emotional development.”
“That nutrition, sleep, and hydration play an important role in how your athlete plays.”
“That we aren’t perfect and we make mistakes too.”
“That if he gets bad grades you better punish him by taking away his phone rather than punish him by not bringing him to training.”
“We love your kids too, and we are doing our best to help them succeed.”
“I really like your daughter but her playing time is not my only concern.”
“That there is strategy going into every match. And that kids have roles.”
“How much I stress about getting everyone playing time.”
“Coaches focus on the team as a whole.. Parents tend to be only focused on their player/biased, tbh…”
“The biggest and best thing that you can do is be supportive of the team and your child. :)”
“That we have a plan! Just be patient and wait to see it unfold!”
“To look at the big picture when comparing their daughter. (Comparison is the thief of joy).”
“I wish parents knew they had to be just as committed. It’s kind of sad that we have to remind them.”
“That when I’m hard on your kid, it’s not because I’m mean. It’s because I care.”
“Their kid is usually under a lot of pressure by them, not me!”
“Playing time is based on so much more than skill.”
“How much your child appreciates having you as a fan.”
“The referee is always right.”
“Kids who play off-season tend to play more in-season.”
“How playing time can be even/uneven depending on what rotation you start in etc.”
“The way pass-set-hit works. (“why is the setter a ball hog?")”
“The way rotations work. "(“why do middles not play all the way around?”)”
“How much time and effort goes into each decision we make.”
“Coaches don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings…. players/parents/assistant coaches/etc…”
“A lot of factors go into determining a player’s playing time.”
“That we truly care and invest ourselves into your child’s physical and mental growth.”
“All the sleepless nights before game nights, and that we really truly care about their kids.”
“How your view of the coach can destroy not only your child’s experience but the whole team.”
“More concepts and why not everyone is suited for playing all the way around. Especially after serving! They need to be able to play defense!”
“Quit pushing your own agenda. Let your kids enjoy the process and develop good motor patterns.”
“Just because your child doesn’t play, doesn’t mean we don’t like them. Hard work and skill.”
“That it’s important to show up and support your kids at games!”
“Cutting players is the hardest part of coaching for me, I don’t enjoy it at all.”
“Your role as a parents, and stick to that rather than critique our coaching decisions constantly…”
“Cheer for the whole team, not just your child!”
“I hate when we start to form a friendship and then you turn on me because your daughter sat out a set.”
“I wish the parents knew their kids are not always smart enough to make the right decision.”
“Practice isn’t enough practice.”
“Your athlete has a coach, what they need is a fan. Be a fan of your athlete.”
“It’s not always about skill, but also about attitude!”
“That the number of subs run out quick, especially running a 6-2!”
“My coaching doesn’t start and end with practices and tournaments. There’s hours of preparing and planning that happens behind the scenes. There are family gatherings and birthday parties that I miss. I even miss some holidays (this year Easter and July 4th) that I’d love to spend with family, but I don’t because I’m committed to my athletes.
Which relates to athletes too. For those that miss a game because of a dance or birthday party. They don’t understand that their coach misses opportunities/occasions because they have made a commitment to them. So don’t get mad at me (parent and athlete) when I get frustrated when you choose those things over your commitment to the team.
All the loses are not theirs, but mine. As it is my job to train and develop them into winners. So the stress and burden is heavy all the time for a coach. They are taken heavily and thoroughly thought about and loss of sleep is common.
...end of rant 😂...”
If, after reading through this list, you think of something you’d like to have added, feel free to send me a message through Instagram (@gethepancake) and I’ll add it!
Don’t forget to check out “WHAT VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS WISH THEY COULD SAY TO THEIR COACHES (AND PARENTS!)”