From time to time, I have fathers with little or no Judo background who insert themselves into their child’s Judo training. They’re well-meaning, perhaps a bit overly-involved in their child’s sport experience, and usually create problems for the coaching staff and by extension the child they seek to help. This problem is not unique to Judo. It’s pervasive anytime sports and fathers come together.
Not long ago, one of my fathers with limited Judo experience indicated to me that instead of bringing his 7-year old son to one of my 1-hour classes, he would work with him at home for two hours. He was upfront with me as to the reason: he wanted his son to do better. This was certainly a valid reason. Most parents want their child to do better. Unfortunately, many want their child to do better NOW, not later.
No parent wants to see his child struggle and lose for months or even years before some modicum of competence is developed. It’s painful. I understand that very well. My third daughter, Alexis, who is now 13, is a late-bloomer. I’ll admit that after having developed her two older sisters into international level players, it’s been a struggle for me to see her thrown and pinned so often,. Thankfully, I understand the value of long-term development, and I know that she’ll eventually become a much more competent player. In the interim, she’s living our core values of courage and perseverance.
To help you coaches out there who struggle with fathers who know more about Judo or what’s best for their child than you do, and for you all-knowing fathers too, I’ve developed these talking points, which I hope will be persuasive.
- By training with you, his training partners are deprived of his presence, and vice versa. The team camaraderie and dynamics that are a great allure to participating in sports are absent.
- By using your adult body to practice, he’s working with a model that will negatively affect his biomechanics. Bad habits will ensue because the training partner is unrealistic for his size and skill level.
- By training your son, you undermine my well-thought out syllabus hgh tablets. I teach certain things, and conversely don’t teach certain other things for a good reason; long-term development vs short-term development. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your child.
- By training your child on skills we are not covering yet, you are creating information overload and potentially dangerous situations for his club training partners. It would be nice if your child could perform well what I have taught him before adding to his inventory.
- By teaching your child, I’ll undoubtedly have to undo bad habits, like the dropping seoi you want him to do just to mention the obvious. Not good for him or me or any of the other coaches.
- Since you’re his training partner, you’ll miss many of his mistakes because you can’t see him perform.
- Keep in mind that the number one reason kids quit a sport is parent over-involvement; too much, too soon, too many pieces of conflicting information, much of which undermines the syllabus and the coach. Again, it’s an issue of long-term vs short-term development. Parents don’t know much about that because they have never lived through it, until it’s too late for a do-over.
- If you must absolutely help your child- which I don’t recommend your doing- reinforce the things we’re teaching him without adding to his technical load. However, you must absolutely be sure you know what you’re talking about. To help with this, my suggestion is to get on the mat and assist us during class so that you know what we’re working on and how to reinforce it. This still doesn’t make it OK for him to miss a group class.
I’ve found that one of the best ways to handle parents who want to coach their own children from the bleachers is to challenge them to become part of the coaching staff and to fulfill its requirements: buy a gi, practice Judo, and attend coaching clinics or seminars. Even if these parents never become skilled players, having an extra pair of eyes and ears on the mat to manage your juniors and keep them on task is a benefit to any club.