I have had some good conversations with some high school coaches over the last week or so at our league. One of the general themes discussed was “trusting” a player.
A good high school coach (notice I said “good”) has a strong summer program. That program in many respects is the beginning of when a coach looks to get an idea of who he or she can trust. That trust is developed partly by the skill the player has, the mental toughness the player shows, the level of commitment to the program that the player shows , the work ethic displayed, and the quality of parents. (I have had several college coaches in our gym looking at some of our local athletes. One of the first questions they ask is concerning the quality of parents).
Starting in 9th grade kids that don’t show up to open gyms, lifting, scheduled team events, regularly tend to fall behind in the trust factor. Parents that try to stand between the coach and the kid in the communication flow can harm the trust. Parents that email, call, oversell their kid to the coach or AD can do some major damage in the trust factor. If you place yourself between the coach and your child the coach may not be able to see what you think you see. Everytime they look at your child they may only be able to see you.
By 9th grade at a minimum a kid needs to be a stand-alone product so to speak. One without baggage or strings attached. Kids starting as freshman need to learn that they stand between the coach and their parents. Anything the parents need to know should come from the player. Anything the coach needs to know should come from the player. No more team moms or personal handlers allowed. The biggest frustrations coming from high school coaches that I hear is the dealings with overbearing parents. A good coach wants to work with the kids. Not a group of parents.
I am hearing about three Stunners in particular that are impressing their high school coach because they are at everything offered in their summer programs. In addition, the three sets of parents of those kids are giving the process of trust building between the player and coach some space to grow.
It is not surprising that after a long summer and by the start of the high school season that the high school coaches play the kids they trust. . Usually the top 8 kids. So out of 4 grades in high school (approx. 40 kids), a high school coach in many respects looks for just 8 . That is possibly 2 kids per grade level.
Obviously the conclusions that can be concluded upon is to use your time and energy wisely. The most important product in high school athletics is the players strengths and abilities. Not the words, experiences, strengths, abilities, or attempted manipulations of parents. To help your product (your child) build trust in the market place of high school athletics develop your child as a stand-alone product that the coach can easily see without looking around you.