Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Choosing Your Child's Individual Coach or Sport Instructor

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Choosing Your Child's Individual Coach or Sport Instructor

Article excerpt

The right choice could make a big difference while the wrong choice could be a disaster.

Many parents these days

struggle with choosing an instructor or individual coach to help develop their child's athletic skills in a particular sport. The pressure from other parents and the success, or lack of success of their children, may have a powerful influence on you when selecting an individual instructor for your child. The many clinics, schools and sports programs vary, in size and cost, from sport to sport. Lessons simply are not a panacea for any child who wants to play at the high school and college level. Here are some things to consider before stepping into a costly program.

1. CHECK THE BACKGROUND OF THE INSTRUCTOR THOROUGHLY BEFORE PLACING YOUR CHILD IN THE PROGRAM. While this sounds like a no-brainer, some people rely too much on word of mouth before making a decision. Googling the instructor's or coaches name and finding out as much information as possible will help you make a more informed decision.

2. VISIT THE INSTRUCTOR'S FACILITY AND WATCH HIM OR HER TEACH. Are you comfortable with their teaching style? Will your child be comfortable with their teaching style?

3. WATCH AND LISTEN! Does he or she use appropriate language? Do they knock other instructors or camps/clinics? Are the skills being taught at the proper level for your child? Is there a progression of skills being taught?

4. ARE FUNDAMENTALS STRESSED? There are no magic pills in sports. Proper fundamentals reinforced each lesson must be taught, practiced and mastered.

5. HOW MANY CHILDREN ARE IN THE CLASS WITH YOUR CHILD? Or is it a one on one program? You certainly do not want to put out a lot of money and not have your child receive enough attention during the session. What is the student to instructor ratio?


How many times are you willing to take your child there? Is this going to affect your family life, and at what cost?

7. DOES THE INSTRUCTOR PROMISE "OFF THE CHART" RESULTS? College scholarships? Starting on the high school team? This is unprofessional and something to be wary of. There are many factors that go into making a high school team. Many of these factors are ignored by these instructors who just focus on skills. College scholarships in some sports are scarce and the fact is that most schools at the Division 1 level carefully recruit the high schools before giving away a costly athletic scholarship. You simply cannot promise those types of results.

8. VALUE! How much are you willing to pay for quality instruction? Many times, parents pay a lot of money for professional instruction when the high school coaches' summer session may prove to be more beneficial to the child than a more well-known camp or clinic. Ask about sharing lessons with another youngster.

Lessons without practice are useless. In addition, and in most cases, practice without lessons may be just as useless. Practicing the wrong things over and over without some idea of basic fundamentals is just a waste of time. It is also best to remember that all the skills in the world do not help in every situation. Your child must be able to use those skills in competition. This means they have to play against good competition to be ready to face good competition during their team's season. …

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