One of the things that all coaches come across at various times is an athlete or parent who thinks the competition that they are playing in is the most important thing in the world. The issue can be that the parent or player doesn’t understand that they are meant to be having fun and getting exercise. A colleague of mine makes the point that if its not Senior World Champs or The Olympics, it really doesn’t matter. At the end of the day they are not playing for sheep stations and its not their livelihood.
One athlete in my team has parents who are very demanding and have high expectations for performance. The only real issue with this is that they are unrealistic as to the end goal of their daughter. She won’t be representing Australia in the senior national team, and even if she did, they wouldn’t be competing in the Olympics. Really they should let her play and enjoy the competition that she gets rather than trying to interfere and suggest what would be best for their daughters long term prospects.
I have been fortunate enough to be involved with numerous different program levels within volleyball. I have played an coached in high performance and also in recreational levels. At the end of the day, the competition you are playing in is the one that you need to be concerned about. You can keep in mind what other things you might need to do as well, but you can’t control what other people are going to do.
Another athlete in a team I am coaching is set on a USA college scholarship. This means that she needs to sit the SAT’s for her entrance requirements. unfortunately both times that the test is being held occurs on days where we have preliminary tournaments in the lead up to national juniors. While I have mentioned that the team will do better with her there and it would be best for her to come along to the tournaments, I also have mentioned that there are bigger picture decisions that need to be made. I think it is inappropriate when coaches of junior teams and amateur competitions do not accommodate greater life decisions that their athletes need to make. While the team will lose out, at the end of the day it is just a game, and it isn’t the end of the world if one person has to miss out for a reason that you have no control over.
I hope to one day be involved in a full time professional volleyball team, but until that day, it simply isn’t important enough to hold back the development of my players by refusing to accommodate their other lifestyle needs.