Think for a second when that moment you may have been the crazy parent at your kids game?
It happens to all of us...yes it has happened to you too.
You may not be the loud parent at your kids game screaming what typically is the obvious to everyone else in earshot...."Let's get a hit Tyler John".
No kidding dad, we all can't wait to watch 12 pitches and then a walk.
By the way... why do yuppie parents call their kids by their first and middle names in public?
Do they not know their friends will call them their nick name by the time they turn 12 for the rest of their lives?
Anyways so you may not be that parent, but at one point you will lose it.
It may be in the car ride home, or in that moment of questioning a teammates actual age or the decision the coach made to play the slow kid who can't run, throw or catch and who seems to be more interested in what is happening in the park lot.
We all experienced that blinding moment.
For most parents I believe there is a clarity and a sense or reality that our kids are average. So we tend to uncomfortably make a comment or two about our kids shortcomings.
It makes us seem like we get it in front of the other parents.
But times moves on and the talented kids will move up the food chain of youth to HS athletics. Things become more clearer at that moment.
Now the big leap is moving onto college. Tyler John is now known as TJ and he still can't run so now he becomes an "Academic" prospect.
Recently I had an dad call me about his son who was a "great" HS athlete but decided to go the prep school route to get his "game right" and his grades up.
Come to find out, he quit playing after a month to focus on his grades, still not sure how that works? But he wanted a second chance to play college ball as he was focused now.
So Prep School dad asked for a visit. Which of course I connected him to the HC to arrange for a visit along with the other incoming Freshman.
When Prep School kid arrived, he was obviously not in shape, in fact it looked like he never even touched a weight in his life.
After touring the campus, eating lunch, meeting the coaches and sitting through several meetings reviewing all the academic requirements to play at an NCAA school, the father comes up to me and asks...
"So can we sit down and discuss your scholarship package for my son"?
What do you say?
Well you tell dad what you wanted to say several years ago at that little league game..."He's not ready to play college ball and here are the reasons why".
You tell them the hard truth. No parent politics, not worried about hurting the kids feelings, no uncomfortable praising of a kid. Just give the parents the truth and suggestions on what they need to do with some options if this is what the kid wants to do.
Why can't youth coaches do this several years earlier?
Because it might be unfair to determine the future of a kid too early when they still have plenty of time to grow and mature athletically.
However, a fair and honest assessment earlier on can help manage parents expectations, if the parent is willing to listen.
A great tool for this type of early assessment is www.isport360.com.
This platform provides up to the minute coaches assessment, tracks player growth and provides suggestions for player skill improvements.
This tool is extremely helpful for youth all the way up to HS athletics.
Another useful tool for parents is www.lockerroomtalk.com. When you are evaluating colleges, this platform provides tremendous insight into what players have to say about their college coaches and athletic experiences at a school.
Managing expectations and real honest player assessments are so import to help young athletes develop and more importantly providing parents with a guide and feedback to set a clear path to realistic goals.
It certainly will make those 3 hour little league games more enjoyable and maybe Taylor John will hit a homer next and and if we are real lucky right into the windshield of dad's Audi.