Parents: Don’t Over-Promote your Child


Coaches, has this ever happened to you? An adult you’ve never seen before approaches you at practice, engages in small talk and then asks if you are looking for players. This adult then proceeds to tell you how good his son or daughter is, how they can play any position, etc.

When I coached, I had this happen to me several times. The first time it happened, I got really excited. I already started thinking where I was going to place this superstar. It turns out the place was not as good as advertised. In fact, the opposite was true. He was not very good and did not make the team. The second time this happened, I tempered my enthusiasm quite a bit. Good thing I did as the player’s abilities did not live up to the parents’ billing.

One definition of the word ‘bunk’ is: n. empty talk; nonsense. A new definition I have for the word ‘bunk’ is: v. over-promote and exaggerate one’s personal or another person’s true abilities.

For several reasons, I strongly recommend that parents don’t engage in this type of conversation with a coach.

  • Most parents are unable to objectively evaluate their child’s athletic ability. In all likelihood, your son is not going to be the next David Beckham.
  • An inexperienced coach is expecting the next David Beckham. When David Beckham does not show up, the let-down will be greater given the unfulfilled high expectations. You always want the coach to be pleasantly surprised, not disappointed.
  • As a coach, I may now be concerned that I will have to deal with a parent who may not be satisfied unless his son is seen as the superstar and plays a big part on the team. Do I really want to deal with this potential headache?

My advice is to always let your child’s playing ability do the talking. Don’t set any unrealistic expectations or unattainable benchmarks for your child. Simply tell a coach you have a child who you would like him or her to evaluate. That should be it.

Don’t bunk!

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