Ask the Expert
QUESTION: 1. You are in the unique position of coaching your own son at the Division I level, what are the challenges and rewards as a parent coach?
There are many rewards to coaching my son. First and foremost is the fact that I have the opportunity to see him on a regular basis during his college years. In most situations, when a child goes away to college, there isn't a lot of time to spend together except for holidays. With all the scheduled activities associated with lacrosse at the Division I level, there isn't a day that goes by when I do not see my son, which is a good thing.
Another neat thing about having my son here at UMBC is we get to share in the drama and excitement of collegiate lacrosse. I have always believed there are many life lessons to be learned through college athletics and to experience these with my son makes an already rewarding experience even more so.
The challenges of having my son on the team is to make sure he is not treated any differently than the other players which is easier said than done. In most cases, my son has it tougher than the other players because the last thing he or I want is for others to feel he is being treated in a preferred, special manner. On this topic, my son and I are on the same page.
QUESTION: 2. Did you coach your son when he was growing up? Why or why not?
I did not directly coach my son growing up. I did play catch with him in the back yard a lot which was as much about "checking in" as it was about the game of lacrosse. My son attended many practices as well as most games which afforded him the opportunity to learn in an indirect manner.
QUESTION: 3. What is the toughest job that you see for parents as they engage with their kids in the sport of lacrosse?
The toughest job I see is for parents to "let go" and allow for the kid to get out there and learn things on his own under the supervision of the coach. All parents, including me, want the best for their kid; however, often "less is more" is the best approach. Let your kid go through the process, obviously with your support, just try not to be overbearing.
QUESTION: 4. If you had to give parents the single greatest tip to be a good sports parent, what would it be?
Let the coaches coach, let the kids play, be happy your kid is healthy and has the opportunity to get involved in a great game which will enhance his future in many ways.
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