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Parents, Just Because Your Child Loves Basketball Doesn't Mean Basketball Will Love Them Back.

"Problem is, y'all got LEAGUE dreams with backyard work ethic.  And your parents applaud it."

                                                                                                                                           Dawn Staley

Just about every parent believes their child is either the best player, better than other players on the team, or deserves more playing time.  As coaches, we get it.  We understand. But parents, just like you believing we, as coaches, don't know what we're doing; we believe there are those of you who need a reality check.  

It's easy to hear frustration or even angry parents complaining about their kid's lack of playing time at almost any high school or league basketball event.  What parents fail to understand is that at the high school level, the objective of a high school coach is to win games, not develop your child's basketball skills.  That job is up to the parents.    

There is a myth that high school coaches have to play every player, which is not true.  I've never known a coach not to play a good player who could help them win.  Coaches will not let good players sit on the bench.  This is not to say that your child is not good, but one of the hardest things for parents to fathom is that the other players on the team are better than their child.  That's why it is crucial for parents to be honest with themselves and their children.  Simply ask the question, why is my child not getting playing time?  Objective parents will eventually see that their child needs more development in certain areas.  

It's no longer good enough to make the team anymore.  Parents expect their children to have ample opportunities to score rather than be great teammates.  Again, as coaches, we get it.  Especially those of us who have student-athletes.  But here's the difference: most of us who coach know what it takes for our children to get playing time or get to the next level.  And I can tell you it's not practicing shooting in the backyard or driveway for hours at a time, especially if your shooting form is WRONG!  There is more to basketball than shooting.  Here's an example: I asked my daughter what you wanted to get out of basketball.  She said she wants to play in college.  I told her she was not going to find it in the driveway, shooting stationary shots with no one guarding her.  There's no basketball game in the world where no one's guarding you. 

Shooting should be the last thing to focus on.  How is their ball-handling?  Moving without the ball?  Off-ball screening? Defense?  Creating your own shoot without a screen?  I could name a number of things kids should be practicing.  And let's not forget about quickness!  Playing in tight spaces.  Basketball IQ!  But most parents wouldn't know this because they don't understand the game.  All they want is for their child to score and get playing time, regardless of whether it's warranted or not.  We hear it all the time, "shoot the ball," "drive to the hole," and "keep shooting."  I've never heard a parent tell their kid, "Stop shooting because your shots are not falling," or "pass the ball to your teammate that's open," or what about, "Be a good teammate.  Your time will come."

Parents, we get the point.  Basketball is not cheap.  We understand.  But we have to have an honest conversation with ourselves and our children.  It doesn't mean they are failures if they never reach the success you believe they should have.  We have to set realistic expectations for ourselves and our children.  Let's stop comparing our children to other players on the team or those players who received scholarships to play at the collegiate level.  Let's focus on where your kid is in their basketball development to get playing time and/or make it to the next level.  


And remember, just because your child may love basketball doesn't mean that basketball will love them back.  

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