Over the weekend I had the opportunity to work with Cottonwood High School Baseball in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were an amazing bunch a players and coaches to work with. We worked on their mental game, teamwork, and commitment to excellence on and off the field. It was an intensive 3 hours of mental game work in the morning with a team banquet that night.
When I usually work with teams I typically work with the players and coaches. There are times where parents are present but often times I don’t see them. The banquet was a fundraiser that was a catered dinner with silent auction and live auction after dinner. Coach Crawford asked me to speak to the group after dinner was over. On the way out to Salt Lake City I had an idea to have the players write down two things that they would want to tell their parents about how to handle themselves as they support the team this upcoming season.
I took the sticky notes that they wrote the suggestions on then selected about 20 of the most well written ones to share with the parents during my talk. The players were completely honest and did a great job with their suggestions. I didn’t do this because there is a problem or something to fix with parents at Cottonwood High School. I just find that many times the way players wish their parents would act and what really happens are not on the same page. The banquet gave me a chance to try to get them closer to become one in the same.
Parents heard it straight from the source, not from me or Coach Crawford, from their own kids. Below are some examples of what the players wrote down. I am sure if you did a similar thing you would find many similar desires by your players as well.
- Try not to embarrass yourself or me. When things get heated just remember you’re in the stands not on the field, so relax.
- Attend as many games as possible and support us making it to our goal.
- Do not tell me that I will not play professional baseball.
- I’ll always compete and try to have fun. Don’t ruin a good game or day by micro-managing my moves and decisions. I’m doing that enough myself.
- Quit telling me what I have to do. That is why I have a coach.
- Cheer for my teammates as if we were equal. For we are brothers when we grind together on the field.
- I want parents to be respectful to each other, coaches, players, and umpires.
- All parents or family members don’t talk to me when I am on deck.
- If you have something to say, be positive. Everything doesn’t have to be negative. Preach the positives.
- Let it play out and trust the coaches and players. They know what they are doing.
- Don’t tell me what to throw when I am pitching.
- Don’t be annoying with your cheering. Be respectful of players, coaches, umpires, and fans.
- Compliment me after games on how I did! Don’t keep repeating yourself to me after my games.
- Be the examples! Be the parents who cheer at the good plays and keep their mouths shut on the bad plays or calls. Set the example for me on how I should act. I’m representing you guys and you’re representing me! We react fro your calls in the stands. Let them be good calls.
- If I mess up, let me handle it.
- Be more involved.
- Stay off your cell phones and cheer me on.
- Reflect on both the good and bad. Tell me what I did right and what I did wrong.
- No coaching or calling out individuals. No tips to players or coaches. No negative comments about any players.
- Supportive in the right ways. Meaning that if I mess up or if I’m not playing, it’s not the end of the world, because baseball is not an “I” or “me” sport, it’s a we sport.
The Cottonwood Colts are have offered not only their own parents but parents across the country some insightful information about how to provide the right support to student-athletes. My hope is that they listen. I know I will be when I talk with my own children after practices and games. Since starting this a few years back I have continued to do this activity with players and parents when the opportunity presents itself. The statements are usually very similar from the players and the reaction from parents is also the same. They get reminded of the impact they have on the game, the programs they represent, and their own families as well.