Talking to an expert: Athletic Director Bill Weary
In an attempt to help prepare readers for back-to-school and fall sports, I have dedicated this month's column to a recent conversation I had with Bill Weary, athletic director for Worthington Kilbourne High School.
I've known Bill for many years, and his dedication to assisting student athletes and their families grow and have fun through interscholastic sport participation has been quite impressive, to say the least. Prior to his current position at WKHS, Bill graduated from Penn State University in 1977 and has over 20 years in athletic-administration experience, including in the Columbus Public Schools system. The following is an excerpt from our recent interview:
CS: Bill, with so much going on in youth sports these days, what advice do you have for parents so that they can ensure their kids have a great experience participating for their school?
BW: Parents can help to ensure their child has a great athletic experience by doing a few simple things. First, if your child expresses a desire to play, make a commitment as a family to the child and program. Commit to prioritizing the activity appropriately, and honor that commitment. Next, facilitate open communication with the coaches. Provide your contact information, and seek the same from coaches. Utilize the prescribed methods of communication whenever questions or concerns arise. Often, children choose activities that parents may not have much knowledge on or experience with. Take the time to learn as much as you can about the game and the skills necessary for a child to be successful, keeping in mind that mastery takes time, practice and patience. Few children will walk onto a field or court and have great success initially, but with practice and effort they will progress.
CS: Many parents ask me about the best way to communicate with their child's coach -- especially about concerns over playing time. What advice can you offer?
BW: Effective communication between coaches and parents requires some understanding by both parties. Both want to contribute to the success of the child. Coaches should make every effort to communicate with parents on a regular basis. E-mails or regular newsletters provided to parents about team activities, schedules, meetings, etc., assist parents in planning and organizing their personal schedules. Parents should make coaches aware of issues surrounding their child's experiences by making appointments with coaches. Attempting to communicate with your child's coach either immediately before or after games or practices rarely results in the desired outcome.
CS: Any other tips for parents that we have not covered?
BW: Yes, make sure to remember kids primarily play sports to have fun. While it is true a very small percentage will be fortunate enough to play sports into college, and possibly even professionally, most kids won't have those opportunities. Try to attend as many games as possible and enjoy the time your child competes. The memories can last a lifetime.
Dr. Chris Stankovich is an expert in sport psychology and has co-written two books, The Parent Playbook and Positive Transitions for Student Athletes. If you have a sports question,firstname.lastname@example.org, visit DrStankovich.com or call 614-561-4482.