Be a fan, not a backseat coach

Jesus Cano, [email protected]

Physical activity is important for everyone, especially children in their early development, which is why we often see parents encouraging them to play sports. Whether it is soccer, football or even badminton, it is no secret that the participation in youth sports increases by the year.

No one can automatically become the LeBron James, Lionel Messi or Mike Trout of their respective sport the moment they touch a ball for the first time because even they were not experts when they started playing.

It takes time, dedication and, most importantly, coaching.

I’d be lying to you if I said a player should not have multiple coaching perspectives growing up, because as a former athlete, I know how much working with a variety of coaches can do to enhance someone’s performance.

And it doesn’t have to be someone who has been coaching the game for years or a former player who was the greatest of all time.

Normally, a child’s first coach is a parent or  family member. These family coaches may not have been the best when they played, or maybe they didn’t even play the sport at all, but they want to see their children excel.

But there is a time to coach and a time to be a fan. And some parents fail to understand this.

I am not saying parents should keep their mouths shut during games, but unless they are an official team coach, they should not be coaching from the sidelines or from the stands.

That doesn’t mean they can’t be supportive. Phrases often like “let’s go team” or “keep your head up ladies” and even “show them why you’re the better team” are totally acceptable.

But when it crosses into coaching, then it becomes an issue.

Essentially, they’re telling someone how to do their job, and it affects two positions; the players and the coaches.

How ridiculous would it be if I told Seth MacFarlane how to write “Family Guy” or order Bill Belichick to run the New England Patriots in a different direction? Coaches are there for a reason — to orchestrate their teams.

That’s what they get paid to do. Imagine if those coaches came into your work environment and started telling you how to do your job. It makes no sense.

In addition, players are supposed to receive command from the coaches.

So imagine when they’re trailing 2-1 in the last 10 minutes of the soccer game or have the bases loaded with the final at bat: The coach will obviously tell the players what to do, and they should oblige.

But then you hear a parent say something completely different from what the coach said, and it is going to cause confusion on the field of play.

And of course, pro athletes hear all the time from fans in the stands about how they should play. But that’s the pros, and they’re adults.

Children who hear mixed messages will be torn about who to obey — the  parent or the coach. Whether you listen to the coach or the parent. It doesn’t even have to affect coaches or players, but the officials in charge of the game too.

In addition to staying out of the coaching business, parents should also stay out of the refereeing business. Officials in charge of the game should be left alone when it comes to calling the shots.

So parents, curb your coaching comments and choose instead to cheer on the team. Remember: Impact Soccer Club isn’t the MLS, Little League isn’t the MLB and AAU basketball isn’t even close to the NBA.