How to Be Your Child’s Best Sports Agent
Somewhere before trying out for the local team and perhaps signing a multimillion-dollar major league contract, many coaches could influence your child. They all will make an impact — one way or the other. Before you sign up your child for a fall, winter or spring sport during the next year, go through the following checklist to keep your child’s best interests at heart.
1. Will your child’s coach ask you and other parents to attend a meeting to discuss rules, regulations and expectations for the season and for your child?
2. Did you receive information about the coach’s education and sports background?
3. Will the coach ask for a permission slip and health form for your child prior to participation?
4. Will the coach require every player to go through a warm-up before full participation?
5. Do you have a coach who is present at all practices and games? Supervision is critical. It helps prevent accidents before they occur in addition to teaching the skills of the game.
6. Does the coach have a basic knowledge of first aid, and is there an emergency plan?
7. Has the coach discussed such topics as sportsmanship, the importance of effort, respect for authority, nutrition, rest, schoolwork and self-responsibility when it comes to safety?
8. Is the coach the type of person who can serve as a role model for kids? Coaching is about teaching more than just the game.
9. Is the coach’s enthusiasm about the game high, but this enjoyment pales when compared to his or her enthusiasm for turning good kids into good adults?
10. Is the coach more interested in the experience of the game than its outcome?
11. What are the league administrators’ philosophies and goals?
12. Does the coach view the sport as a developmental experience for all players?
13. Do you have a sense of or information from parents of previous years about their child’s experience? Ask them if the coach facilitated a fun learning environment and if effort, working together and skill development were more important than winning the championship.
Notice there is no mention of team jackets, trophies and trips to Florida? Finding a coach who has all of the above — and a reasonable knowledge of the sport, safety and children — will ensure a positive experience for your child, his or her teammates and you.
Richard P. Borkowski of Cary is a sport and recreation safety consultant formally based in Narberth, Pennsylvania. He has been involved in sport and recreation safety as an author, speaker, expert witness and consultant for 40 years.