I have been playing volleyball for nearly my entire life and I could probably tell you a lot about the sport that most people wouldn’t know. However, there is one thing that I still don’t know the answer to… and this isn’t limited to just volleyball, it comes with every sport: Why do parents consistently coach from the sidelines?
Having been a dancer for the first ten years of my life, I never really noticed if parents did this or not because I was always in the studio or on stage and they were always in the crowd. Looking back I now realize how psycho some parents can be towards their children in ANY sport. With dancers, parents tend to let the instructors do their thing at the studio, but immediately after class, they make corrections to their child’s “flaws”. Usually, you see parents over-exaggerating when a dancer’s toes aren’t pointed or he/she’s leg isn’t completely straight. As a volleyball player now, I notice so many things that parents do from the sidelines and it is way more intense than any “dance mom”. With volleyball, you have parents who literally scream from the crowd when their child messes up. There are also parents who, believe it or not, gossip about other players to other parents, hoping it’ll make their daughter/son look better.
There is a parent on my team who, I swear, is either incredibly insecure or just flat out crazy. I have been on the same team as his daughter for two years now and each year he stays the same. He acts like our coach doesn’t know what he’s talking about-which I have to admit, most of the time he doesn’t- but this parent will literally pull players aside after a game and tell them what they did wrong and what they need to do to fix it. Not to mention he has no affiliation whatsoever with volleyball so he really doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about! A few years ago, he would do private lessons with his daughter, like any other coach would with an athlete, but he would tell her things that were just so wrong that it actually made me cringe. To this day, he tries to act like a “know it all” and it really just grinds my gears. Like you (and every other parent) are paying money for us kids to play the sport we love and get coached by an ACTUAL VOLLEYBALL COACH… please stop ruining the experience for us!!
Obviously, the situation get’s me heated, but that’s because parents always think they know what they’re talking about (don’t get me wrong, they are 99.9% ALWAYS right) even when it comes to a sport they know nothing about. I don’t really understand why parents constantly do such a thing, but my hunch is that they are living through their child. I know if I were to ask a parent why they do this they’d say something along the lines of, “I just want you to get better”. In reality, when parents do this they aren’t making the situation better at all… it’s makes it much worse. It distracts us as players because we can’t help but hear screaming from our parents who are supposed to be our biggest supporters and #1 role models, and we then feel nervous to make another mistake.
If there’s one thing that I want parents to get out of this it’s to let the coaches be the coach and just enjoy watching your children play the sport they love, as they’ll grow and mature as a person, and it won’t last forever: cherish these moments, don’t ruin them.