The Importance of Working Together

Asking some important questions that could lead to a much better experience for all.

Not too long ago I went for a trail run in one of our local State Parks.  It was a beautiful day, and I was taking my time, which at my age and fitness level means plenty of times to stop and rest!  As I ran along the lake I came upon a pretty funny scene.  I noticed two teenagers in a boat.  And let’s just say that it was clear that they didn’t have a ton of boating experience!  They weren’t having much luck paddling their boat around the lake.  I got a good chuckle out of watching them work harder and harder paddling those oars, while the boat just slowly spun counterclockwise, going nowhere.  It was funny, they were literally paddling in different directions and the boat just seemed to be stuck.  I would have loved to stick around and see if they ever did figure it out or if there needed to be some sort of dramatic lake rescue, but I was getting cold and stiff and eventually I finished my run…but that imagery really stuck with me.  I kept thinking about it, here were two people who definitely wanted the same things and had the same goal (which was getting that boat to their destination) but they just couldn’t get anywhere because they weren’t working together.  They were working against each other without really knowing it.  All they did was work harder, and harder and both seemed confused as to why they just couldn’t get where they wanted to go. 

You know what?  That scene gives us the perfect imagery of what happens so often in youth sports between the parent and the coach.  They both want the same thing, which is to help their child or player reach their potential and have a great experience on and off the field!  But all too often while the goal is the same, the parent and coach are not in step and they end up working against each other.  Which is frustrating for all involved and stunts the developmental process of the child, and sadly, it typically doesn’t end well.  But you know the flip side is true too.  When the parent and coach are working in step with one another, it allows the developmental process for each child to reach its fullest potential.  As parents it is so important to work with our coaches and leaders because in the end, we all want the same thing!  This leads us to ask some important questions.

Do you know that our club is very intentional about your child’s development?  Do you know Keystone’s Mission Statement and Vision Statement?  Do you know the Core Values of the organization you have chosen to put your child in?  Have you ever thought about how important understanding these things might be?  Our club has priorities and makes deliberate decisions for each one of our players based on our priorities and values.  As parents if we don’t know these values and priorities, we won’t understand how and why decisions are being made and we can end up working against our coach and leaders…just like those two kids paddling against each other out there on the lake.  It didn’t matter how hard they paddled or how much they wanted to go in the same direction it just was not going to happen.  If they could get in sync with one another the trip would be smooth and enjoyable…and a lot less work!  As would our child’s journey in youth sports! 

So, take a moment and think this through.  Ask yourself this question.  Are you working with your coach and club?  Working together makes all the difference.   

So, let’s take a moment and review the values and priorities of Keystone FC.  These are not just catch phrases used for social media posts.  This is a deliberate and important process that our coaches and organization use to help your child succeed.  As parents who want to get in sync and work well with our coaches and club, we need to understand this!  So, let’s start with our Mission Statement.

Keystone FC Mission Statement: To develop high quality soccer players by providing a comprehensive youth soccer experience. To accomplish this, we have established a culture that emphasizes the holistic development of players, coaches, and teams.

Parents we do play a role in this culture needed for the holistic development of the players, coaches, and teams.  Our role is important and does affect whether this mission will be achieved.  When the player, coach, and parent are walking in step we can achieve our goal of developing high quality soccer players.  Next, let’s check out our Vision Statement.

Keystone FC Vision: To become the most respected and successful youth soccer club in Pennsylvania and the United States.

While becoming the most respected and successful youth soccer club in the state and the country will have much to do with what happens on the field and through our soccer leadership, skills, and players, this vision will not happen without our parents supporting and building into our players, coaches, and club leadership, and also conducting themselves at a level that demands respect.  Think about it, if we play the best soccer possible with the worst parental behavior possible, we will lose respect, not gain it.  If we have the best developmental plan in the country with parents who do not understand the plan or goals of the coach and club, we will struggle to reach our goals. 

So as soccer parents here at Keystone FC I think we should have our own Mission Statement!  We need to work with focus and intentionality to stay in step with our coaches and club so we can help all these lofty goals and dreams become a reality.  So here’s our parental mission statement.  This also gives us a chance to look at our club’s Core Values…as parents we should reflect those values!

Keystone FC Parent Mission Statement – to develop high quality soccer parents who understand and reflect the mission and core values of our club.

Club Core Values: competition - confident - commitment - team first - positive   

Parents Reflect those Values:  positive - team first - commitment - confident - competition 

Positive - Parents who support and build into our players, coaches, and club.

Team First - Parents who realize they are part of team working to build into your player and team goals

Commitment - Parents who are committed and invested in their role in their player and team’s success.

Confident Parents who are confident in the process of development, who trust their coaches and club.

Competition – Parents who desire and encourage their player to compete at the highest level in training and in game AND who conduct themselves well during the intensity of competition.

I want you to picture this.  It’s you, your player, and your coach out there in the boat.  You and coach each have an oar in your hands.  You both have the same goal which is to help your child reach their full potential, so you know where you want to go!  The question then becomes do you paddle with your coach or against them?  If you are paddling against them, it only leads to tired arms and a frustrated journey to nowhere!  Work with them and things get fun, and your child, team, and club can reach their fullest potential!  

See you in two weeks when we talk about the 5 most important words a parent can say!