News And Events
Responsible Sports: Handling Grades and Sports
10/16/2012 9:31:18 AM
Last month, a Responsible Sports Parent
wrote to our panel of experts to ask:
“As a father and coach for my daughter’s 11-12 year old soccer team it pains me to place her on academic probation for her grades dropping below the agreed upon level for her to participate in sports.
Am I wrong for holding her to this agreement?”
- Samuel, a concerned Dad
We asked two of our experts to weigh in. George Kuntz, AYSO Player Development Technical Advisor, had this to say:
Academics are a very important part of the American sports culture, and good habits and bad habits are learned very young. If a parent has already exhausted other options such as extra study time, a tutor, eliminated video games and revoked phone privileges, then taking away sporting opportunities may be a last resort. I don't think it should be the primary option because of the player's commitment to the team. The team pays for her mistake. If the player continues to struggle and sports are taking her away from being successful, it may be a viable option to prioritize. Sports are a privilege and not a right. It is important for school to take a priority in a young person's life.
And Tina Syer, Chief Impact Officer from Positive Coaching Alliance
Dear Samuel,As tough as this is, you are not wrong for holding her to this agreement. In fact, I think you’re quite right to hold her to this agreement. This is the time when your daughter is learning whether or not “rules” matter. If you don’t hold her to this, she could learn the wrong life lesson – that she can break agreements and feel no consequences. That would actually be you doing her a disservice. Being a Responsible Sports Parent is not always easy!Are you a coach or parent who has a youth socccer question you’d like to pose to our panel of experts? Visit us on Facebook and ask your question today! They regularly post answers on Facebook.com/ResponsibleSports and each month we’ll feature one question here at AYSO.
With this said, you can also do everything in your power to help her raise her grades. I’ve heard of some coaches that ask players in this position to attend a “study hall” during what would normally be their practice time. This may work especially well if there are other players on your team in addition to your daughter that are in this position. You might also talk with your daughter about how her performance in the classroom is affecting the team. At 11-years-old most kids are not thinking about how their grades affect anyone other than themselves. Finally, this situation may be a catalyst for your daughter, where she is motivated to go to her teacher to ask what she needs to do to raise her grades (as quickly as possible).