Parents can repel college coaches, for sure. Every community has them. Nobody wants them.
Hovering over practices, games, matches, meets and scrimmages, they cast a dark cloud wherever they go. They bug the heck out of coaches, organizations, officials, other parents, and even the kids. It is a shame, really, because sports should be fun for everyone. Not for them, though. These trouble makers are determined to make life difficult for everyone.
And make no mistake, these parents can repel college coaches.
That said, it’s important to distinguish between a loud parent and a problem parent. Parents can be loud, but supportive and positive as well. Every team has at least one of these, too. The difference? Their kid is important, but not the focal point of every little thing that goes on. Drama is absent and avoided. These are parents whose main goal is to make the experience something every kid will remember with joy. No team or organization can have enough of these kinds of giving, positive parents.
So, back to square one. Here are some major warning signs of problem parents:
Lots of Complaining
Observe any problem parent and the first thing that stands out is his or her mouth. It is always open. And what comes out? Mostly complaints. Things are never quite good enough. Whether uniforms, schedule, cost, coaching, officiating or the weather, an over-the-top parent is always griping about something. The moment they walk into a situation, they simply are not satisfied, and they are going to let somebody know about it. Yep, these are parents with the mouths that will not stop. They will argue over minor issues because they can and because they cannot stop themselves. Apparently, neither can anyone else.
How parents can repel college coaches? College coaches run away as fast as they can when they see these antics. Coaches want no part of parents who will be thorns in their sides for four years. They would rather keep the roster spot open than bring on a prospect whose parents are like getting a sharp stick in the eye…every day.
Thinking Their Kid is the Best
Problem parents have no genuine appreciation for their kids’ team members who consistently or periodically outperform their own kids. See, their kids are the best and, in their eyes, are never given just credit, whether it’s playing time, compliments, awards or stats. And when their kids do get attention, it was a long time coming, verifying what they had been claiming all along. The other athletes? They got their rewards because of politics, favoritism or jealousy.
Here’s the thing: college coaches see this as distasteful behavior and, to be blunt, don’t like it. Moreover, they will not put up with it. They know that what is going on in youth, high school, club or travel is merely a microcosm of what will happen in college. No thanks, they think. We’ll pass.
Constantly Switching Teams and Coaches
Problem parents continually move their kids from one school or team to another one. Why? Their kids are being treated unfairly, of course. Perhaps they don’t like the new coach. Maybe the schedule doesn’t suit them. It could be because they haven’t been given special consideration on team or tournament fees. It’s always something. And to problem parents, moving their athlete to another team is the answer. It’s not. They have no clue that this constant changing actually harms their kids’ shot at being recognized by college coaches. Blinded by unrealistic expectations and a heightened opinion of their kids’ skills, problem parents are far removed from the reality loop. And it’s their kids who, in the end, suffer from their shortsightedness.
College coaches view this need to move around as instability within the family. At the very least, it raises a big red flag. In a way, problem parents create their own, scary world that coaches prefer to avoid. It is an alternative reality. And when this happens? It is not uncommon to overhear a college coach say, “Love the kid, hate the parents.”
Placing Blame on Others
Problem parents primarily put the blame for their intolerable situations at the feet of their coaches. Their ongoing rants about their coaches are, after a while, tantamount to crying wolf. They do it so frequently that when their kids have legitimate issues, their grousing is overshadowed by a long, sordid history of finger pointing. Sooner or later, because the parents are such pariahs, the kids lose out on everything from friends to scholarship opportunities. Indeed, parents can repel college coaches.
Coaches are perhaps, save politicians, criticized more than any other public servant. Outside of those in the high school ranks, most are volunteers. Yes, some coach initially to advance their own child’s chances, but a large majority of youth, club and travel coaches work with kids because they have a passion for teaching, coaching, and the sport. Nevertheless, this tends to evade the notice of problem parents whose habit of railing on and on make it hard for coaches to stomach the scrutiny.
College coaches see this as a clear precursor to dealing with these problem parents at their level, their school. No way. No prospect is worth the ensuing trouble.
Note: Alan Parham is a 14-year veteran of high school scouting and college recruiting with National Scouting Report. He currently serves as the company’s NCAA and NAIA compliance officer.