RESPONSIBILITIES & EXPECTATIONS FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS
Parental support is valued and encouraged. Parents/ guardians and spectators must conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and act as positive role models for all participants. The essential elements of character building and ethics in sports are embodied in the concept of sportsmanship and six core principals: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. The highest potential of sports is achieved when parents reflect these ‘six pillars of character.’
-Therefore, it is critical for parents/guardians to display the following behaviors:
-Trust in their child’s ability to have fun as well as to perform and achieve excellence on their own
-Help their child to learn the right lessons from winning and losing and from individual accomplishments and mistakes
-Respect their child’s coaches, teammates and fellow parents as well as the players, parents, and coaches from opposing teams
-Give only encouragement and applaud positive accomplishments, whether for their child, his/her teammates, their opponents or the officials
-Show respect towards all officials and their decisions
-Never coach their child or other players during games and practices, unless they are one of the official coaches of the team
These six pillars of character should be thoroughly explained to every parent/guardian in the program. In addition, the mission/philosophy statements of the athletic program should be communicated to the parents as well as all expectations of their child’s participation in the program. It is reasonable to expect parents/guardians to attend a mandatory pre-season orientation session as a means of fostering continuity and consistency between parents, administrators, coaches, and student-athletes.
Below is a detailed list of major responsibilities and behaviors that all parents/guardians MUST adhere to:
Commit to the Demands of the Sport
It is important for parents/guardians to understand that participation in an interscholastic athletic program is a significant commitment. This commitment includes adhering to all school and league policies, attending every game at all locations at which their team is scheduled to play, driving student athletes to “away games” or tournaments that are a good distance from the school, and participating in tournaments during the holidays. If parents/guardians cannot make such a commitment, they should be encouraged to not enroll their child in the sports program.
Act in Accordance with Catholic Values
Parents/guardians are expected to support and encourage their child’s efforts. All comments from the stands should be supportive of the team’s efforts. No negative comments and criticisms should ever be directed towards student-athletes. In addition, public criticisms directed towards the coaches, the athletic director, and the school administration are absolutely unacceptable. In addition, it is expected that parents/ guardians act as role models for their children by putting wins and losses in their proper perspective.
Let the Coaches Coach and the Referees Ref
Parents/guardians should make no attempt to instruct players or the team from the stands. In addition, questioning, criticizing, or berating the coach and/ or the referees does not set a good example for the young athletes involved in the contest. It is up to the Athletic Director and/or the School Administration to help parents/guardians realize that they will be asked to leave a game if they are not able to maintain a standard of acceptable behavior.
Volunteer their Time
Parents/guardians may be expected to contribute their time and service in support of the team and the interscholastic athletic program. A viable volunteer program is dependent upon everyone’s willingness to maintain a high level of quality and success. Parents/ guardians may be asked to assist as scorekeepers, timekeepers, ticket or money takers, refreshment sellers, crowd control monitors, or to help with set-up or clean-up. When appropriate, parents/guardians may be asked to serve as team liaisons and assist with phone calls or provide a schedule to see that all tasks are filled and rotated in an equitable manner. In addition, parents/guardians may also be asked to help with and support fund-raising. Any expectation that is mandatory must be clearly stated before the season begins.
Provide Transportation to and from Games
In most cases, parents/guardians are expected to provide transportation for their children to and from games and practices. Coaches are not covered with liability insurance for chauffeur service. Therefore, they are not allowed to transport athletes at any time.
Engage in Respectful Communication
Parents/guardians should communicate directly with the coach, athletic director, and/or the athletic board/ committee on matters of concern. They must do so at appropriate times, and not immediately before, during, or after a game. While it is a given that parents/ guardians act as advocates for their own child, it is important for parents/guardians to understand that coaches, athletic directors, and school administrators make decisions that benefit the group, not the individual. Sometimes decisions that benefit the group conflict with individual needs and desires, but such is the reality of being a member of a team. Under no circumstances should parents/guardians be verbally abusive towards coaches, athletic directors, and school administrators. Parents/guardians must be respectful with their tones of voice, as well as thoughtful with the words they choose to use.
Pay all Necessary Fees and be in Good Financial Standing with the School
Parents/guardians may be asked to make the school fees and tuition account current as a condition of student participation in the athletic program. It is important for parents/guardians to realize the amount of time and effort it takes to run effective and efficient interscholastic athletic programs. The level of commitment that coaches, athletic directors, and school administrators put forth demands the respect of all parents involved. Parents/guardians who cannot adhere to a reasonable level of respectful behavior and expectations should have their privileges of attending games revoked. In addition, under no circumstance should parents/guardians sit in and around the bench area or speak with their child during games. Parents/guardians do not have these rights and privileges unless they are asked to serve as an official volunteer coach.
TWELVE THINGS YOUTH LEAGUE PARENTS SHOULD NOT DO
1. Do not put yourself in your son’s/daughter’s place on the field or on the court. The kid on the court is not you. If he/she makes an error, it’s his/her error. If his/her homerun wins the game, it’s his/her homerun. Glory or grief, it is your kid’s ballgame.
2. Do not talk about the big game all day. Chances are the big game is not as important to your son/ daughter as it is to you, and that is healthy. The youngster will usually keep the game in proper perspective and keep pressure to a minimum.
3. Do not criticize any players on the field. That is not only classless and unseemly: it is dangerous as well. Chances are the player’s mother is sitting in the next chair.
4. Do not yell instructions to your son/daughter during a game. That is the coach’s job. Your voice only makes your son/daughter more nervous. Shout positive, general encouragement instead.
5. Do not start analyzing your child’s performance immediately after the game. All the player wants is peace and quiet, and a juice box!
6. Do not criticize the coach with other parents in the stands, and never under any circumstances criticize the coach to your son/daughter. If you do, your son/daughter will no longer respect the coach, and he/she will have the inability to be coached. Once this happens, everyone loses. Your son/daughter loses and the team loses. I understand that you may never agree with your son’s/daughter’s coach. But please, do them a favor, and keep your feelings to yourself. Watch your son/daughter perform, and support the team instead. Lastly, before you complain, ask yourself: Am I willing to give up all my valuable free time to coach?
7. Do not complain when the good coach plays everybody and even goes with different starters every game, right down to the child who has the least amount of athletic ability on the team.
8. Do not abuse the officials. Baiting the official who is calling the game for a few extra bucks will not inspire the respect for authority that is demanded from your child at home or at school.
9. Do not decide your player has a future in professional sports. Likewise, do not write off that baby face in the large uniform either. Kids mature athletically at different paces. Some are better now than they ever will be. Some of the worst players develop into varsity athletes with time and proper seasoning.
10. Do not forget to praise your child for simply performing. Do not over praise a good play either. Above all, do not dwell on an error or failure to deliver, especially not with scorn or anger. More importantly, do not get in the habit of continually praising mediocrity and allowing your child to settle for less than their best effort.
11. Do not forget to praise all the players after the game, especially if they lost.
12. Do not take yourself or the outcome too seriously. Even the BIG game is not the answer to all of the world’s problems. Put the game in its proper perspective!
Handbook for Athletics in the Catholic Elementary School, 2011