The following is a pretty lively chat I had with Nick on joystick parents.
You heard that right, I didn’t mean to say “joystick coaches”. That one we already covered in episode #293. Which, by the way, if you haven’t listened to that one, I strongly encourage you to do so, because it’s not what you think.
In that episode, we start to dispel this misguided, and many times agenda driven, demonization of coaches doing what they generally should be doing. That is, being vocal on the sidelines.
In any case, today we’re talking about parents doing the so-called joysticking during games. No one talks about this and it’s about time someone does.
From giving instructions to their own kid, to giving instructions to someone else’s kid, or yelling general real-time instructions at the team.
This is happening on the fields every weekend across the country. Whether it’s parents panicking and yelling at defenders to clear the ball while they’re trying to build out of the back, or telling a player to pass or dribble or shoot. I mean, the scenarios are too long to list here. But you know what I’m talking about, you’ve all seen it in one form or another, and sometimes it can actually get quite rowdy.
Is this a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Or like most things, context dependent.
Such as the nature of my discussion with Nick here. We try to give insight and perspective into a topic that’s not out there in the American soccer mainstream.
A topic, by the way, that is quite important when understanding how a player’s development could be impacted.
Now, to take a page out of those who would like to see coaches muzzled, by demonizing them and perpetuating this lame joystick coaching narrative, consider their own analogy of an academic classroom setting.
Would you want parents in the classroom telling students to do math problems a different way than what the teacher just showed them? Or how about composing some writing in a different format than what the teacher is having them learn? Or how about parents blurting out to students that they should not open up their history books to chapter 3, as a teacher just asked, but rather go to chapter 5 of a completely different book that’s not even in the course curriculum?
You catch my drift here. Not that teachers or the education system is on point, far from it.
Having taught thousands of students myself at the university level, don’t get me started on how broken the education system is.
But again, you get my point.
Having parents inside the classroom blurting out their own views on subjects – of which likely they are not a specialist in – is the analogy I’m drawing up here. And it’s not a good look, to say the least.
But instead of taking the same approach as those who would like to see coaches muzzled, we try to take a more fair, empathetic approach with parents on the soccer sidelines. Because after all, I think we’d all like to see all our players improve.
And a huge piece of that puzzle is helping parents acquire deeper and deeper understanding of how best they can mentor and guide their players. And, of course have them stay away from things that could harm them.
On that note, parents, make sure you’re signed up to the program we’re building just for you. We’re opening enrolment to a broader group this new year.
Okay, you’re listening to the 3four3 podcast, I’m Gary Kleiban, and this is my discussion with Nick on joystick parents. Here we go.
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