By Yash Rajendran and Stuti Parekh
The relationship between a coach and a student plays a very important role in an athlete’s performance and success. What we don’t notice is the role that parents play in this duo.
A coach-athlete relationship is very complicated. Likewise, a coach-parent relationship could be equally complicated. Communication between the coach and the athlete’s parents is very important during both, preseason and postseason but at the same time it is essential for them to set certain boundaries. If I had to talk about my personal experience as an athlete I would totally emphasize on the importance of communication between coaches and parents. This is because over the years i have come to realise the role that YOUR PARENTS play in motivating, encouraging and supporting you and at the same time could be responsible for discouraging and demotivating you.
When a coach communicates with his/her athlete’s parents, he is establishing a bond with the athlete itself but by considering an INTERNAL perspective. It gives him an idea about the athlete’s attitude at home and also about his various thinking processes. This information could help him to know how to deal with that particular athlete and also what coaching methodology to use in order to get the best out of him. This is because, PARENTS KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THEIR CHILD BETTER THAN ANYONE. Another important point i would like to add here is from a parent’s point of view.
We are well aware that parents are the ones who support their child to pursue sports so they have a right to know about their child’s progress. They need a constant assurance that can prove that the resources they are spending are not going in vain. If this is not conveyed to them at the right time, then they might not feel like letting their child continue to play. Also, this gives them evidence about the coach’s idea and efforts behind their child. Let’s take an example to understand what I am trying to say, if a child coming from a middle-class background is playing a sport then maybe he is very good at it but his progress is a little slow, but you know how they say- WINNING IS NOT EVERYTHING. Maybe he would have to struggle for a long time but eventually it will show on his rankings and records. But the parents might not be able to understand this. Since they have only limited resources to spend, these parents crave for results. When not able to witness their child winning tournaments it might portray the fact that this decision was not right or that sports was not his place. On the other hand, if the coach has explained the parents at regular intervals about how he is doing and what more he can do then there will be no place or time for this confusion to arise.
When either the parents or the coach put a lot of pressure on the athlete, it might not give him the ideal healthy environment to perform well. Thus, in either situation the other person should be in such a relation with the other one that they are free enough to express their grievances. A coach should always put forward a welcoming environment for parents or at least give them a platform where they can come and put forward all their doubts or grievances and also the coach should take the constructive criticism from the parents in a positive way and use it to improve his training patterns.
There are a lot of ways to ensure proper communication between parents and coaches. The coach should think of the most appropriate one before he establishes an academy. He or she could establish a tradition of meetings with all the parents based on the batches at least once in a month or two and these meetings should totally be interactive ones and also, the coach should inform the parents about their child’s progress on-field. Students should not be allowed in this meeting so that there is a direct communication between the coach and parents. He could create software or an app where the parents could feel free to communicate with the coach at any point of time. There should be a special meeting before tournaments where he could inform the parents about a few things that they need to take care of and also tell them his expectations from the athlete and his performance in the tournament.
Well, now we do know the importance of a healthy coach-parent relationship and the fact that EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PARENTS AND COACH ESTABLISHES A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT FOR AN ATHLETE TO GROW AND EXCEL IN ALL THE ENDEAVOURS.
PARENTS AND COACHES SHOULD WORK LIKE A WELL-KNIT TEAM IN ORDER TO ACHEIVE THEIR MUTUAL GOAL THAT IS- SUCCESS AND GOOD PERFORMANCE OF THE ATHLETE.