By Hoops

Last week we looked at parents, how some create problems as spectators at some games and what we could or should do about it. This time, I would like to examine the role parents play with their children in terms of "helping" them as their basketball careers develop. We probably have all heard the terms 'trophy kids', 'helicopter parents' and 'bubble-wrapped kids'. Are some of our basketball parents too involved with their basketball playing children?

Hoops has heard from a number of university coaches over the past few years that they have decided not to recruit a certain player even though that player may have real potential to play college ball, just because of the parent(s).  "I like the kid, but I don't want to have to deal with the parents for five years". This has been often labeled as "parent as agent" and describes a situation where one or both parents are way too involved in their child's basketball career - trying to negotiate the best deal often pitting one university coach against another, confronting a coach when that child is not getting the floor time the parent feels he/she deserves, or publicly criticizing a coach based on a style of play or general philosophy. The parents may believe that they are truly helping their child, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

Another disturbing trend in sport is the pressure that some parents place upon their children to excel and be the best. Hoops overheard a group of parents watching a 9-10 year old game last month talking about which club or team would give their son or daughter "maximum exposure" so that others could see them play as much as possible. I realize that earning a scholarship to attend university makes the parents task of paying for an education much easier, but at what cost. It is not surprising that we hear of some very talented kids who quit the sport altogether feeling burned out or just fed up with all the pressure placed on them by adults, including their own parents.

It appears that the best thing we might do for our children is to just let them play, have fun, enjoy their childhood and sport so that they might want to play for as long as possible. If I had kids, I hope that I would want to enjoy watching them play and have fun and allow them to be kids for as long as possible. Kids seem to grow up too fast already.

I have been very interested in the comments people have submitted on my past writings. I don't have all the answers and this is only one person's opinion. Let's hear from you. Part 3 of the parent thing next week.

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