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Club - What Are You Really Paying For?

posted Apr 20, 2015, 7:24 AM by Debbie Sokol

Have you been specific enough from the start? 

It is not enough to be told your child will get to “play a lot…” You should have some form of written material, a contract even with the club, which defines the club’s mission, philosophy and expectations for parents, players and coaches alike. At a national level, many clubs simply start the best players, and sub only for injury or strategic, short term reasons.  At the more local level, clubs may require equal playing time. This range is seen from young to old, based on the club philosophy mostly – summed up with 1. Equal playing time or 2. Playing time based on practice performance.

You are paying for leadership development, teamwork skills, being physically active, not just sport skill development

These happen before, after and during practices and tournaments, and have little to do with your child being on the court.

Indeed, the memories your athlete will have are far more often to be about the trips, meals, silly or inspirational travel moments, NOT the playing time or wins/losses.  You are paying for developing resilience and grit in your child, which is developed over time, including from the bench, by being a GREAT bench teammate. When your athlete picks a team sport, winning and losing are out of one player’s control – and they should be learning about always putting in the effort and deliberate practice it takes to get better – which increases but does not ever guarantee an outcome victory on the scoreboard.  A person’s team attitude means a LOT, and is seen/developed over the season, not just at a tryout.  

When you pick a TEAM sport, the coach determines the positions, not the player.  Our first world’s best libero at the USA men’s team level, came into the program as an outside hitter.  Lineups, playing time, injury adaptations/solutions, leadership development - these are best for the team decisions by a coach. Sometimes the newest players to a sport over the season become the best players! In practice, play AND off the court, Doc Rivers noted - Good players want to be coached; great players want to be told the truth. Please also note, college scholarships are NOT something a player “deserves” or that a program can promise. While customer service is part of any business, sports included, you pay for the expertise of the coaches leading your athlete in training and tourney/travel. Coaches are the experts for their teams, as parents are the experts for their children. I have never heard of a coach coming to a home or workplace and telling the parent how to do their job (unless they are in a relationship), while the coaches, and ALL officials also, deserve that same respect as they perform their work.

Sport is a lifetime option, not just a season of activity

If you work to support your child to love the game, wins or losses, starting or not, you have given them a gift of health for their lifetime.

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