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29 years coaching experience/ 7 years as a varsity boys' basketball coach, now assisting

Monday, November 9, 2015

Got Your Parent Goggles On? Part 2


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article on how parents often see their children as better than they really are at just about anything. It's not just athletics, it's any activity. In the coaching industry, this is sometimes called "parent goggles". We often do not see other children the same way as ours because we are blinded by our love for our own children.

However, there can be another pair of goggles we wear. This type of goggles allows you to see every single mistake (real or imagined) that your own child makes when you coach or watch from the stands.

This pair of goggles has made me lose my mind while coaching my own kids, they have helped me nitpick things they didn't know or didn't do. 

This pair of goggles has allowed to overlook the same thing in another child that I fly off the handle when my own child does the behavior.

This pair of goggles has embarrassed me and has forced me to apologize to my own children.

This pair of goggles catches me wanting to scream at a 5, 7, or 11 year old in a way that no adult should talk to someone so young.

This pair of goggles has made my children cry over a game, or worse yet, at practice when they are supposed to fail as they attempt to get better.

This pair of goggles allows you to get so angry at your own child that the anger crosses over to the coach or other children and what you believe they do wrong.

But really are they different pairs of goggles? I don't think so.

I believe the same reason we think our own children are better than they really are is the same reason we tend to over coach our own kids. We love them and we want them to be better.

Sure, some of us try to re-live our past or lack-thereof when it comes to our children's activities and some of us may believe the failure of our children somehow is reflected in us.

And I believe that some of us are overly critical of our kids because we believe college scholarships are given out like candy on Halloween night.

I believe these are possible reasons for our visual impairment.

I try to remember how my dad was as I grew up and competed. He lived far from Salem High School as a teen so he wasn't able to participate in many activities. Because of his lack of participation, as I participated I never had the parents at home that replayed the game or was highly critical. I had the parents that would try to console me with a pack of gum, or tell me how well I played after a loss. I didn't have the parents who were angry with me after a game, I had the parents that were there to love me even when I was hard to deal with which was often.

That's the parent I want to be. College scholarships will be the after effect, not the end goal. I want my kids to work hard, do the little things, play hard and listen to their coaches. I want them to compete and enjoy victory and learn how to handle adversity in defeat and I want to be there to hug them and have a pack of gum waiting if needed. 

Those are life lessons that they can take from their experiences that will help as they enter the real world.

But I haven't been the best athletic parent in the past and I probably won't again in the near future,

I guess I will just plod ahead in the constant struggle of a parent who can be too hard and one that can be too easy when it comes to sports with Madison and Brandon.

Hopefully, I don't screw them up too badly.