My son and I spent a few hours in hockey rinks watching the younger sons of great friends of ours playing the game they enjoy. Both lads are playing A1 level hockey (10 and 12 years old) and they are quite good. It was the comment of a dad when his son tried a backhand pass that didn’t quite make it to his teammate. The dad said, loud enough for all of us around him to hear, “that’s a weak-ass backhand.”
Now that both of mine are past the “parent watching” period, they actually play with our Friday night group if they are in town, we delight in listening to the parents as they
coach cheer from the stands. I am positive that over half of the moms and dads never played hockey and do not truly understand the game. Their focus on their son or daughter is without seeing the overall context of how the play is evolving on the ice.
In addition to the “backhand” comment, that served his son no good at all, telling little Timmy to “skate faster” or “shoot the puck” is so often not what the child should actually do. If the kid listens to their parents, they will likely have to be retrained by the coach. There is a reason that parents should cheer a great effort and stay away from the armchair coaching.
And that reason is that the parents are not trained in the coaching and are not looking at the entire team on the ice and prepping the kids who will be jumping on the ice at the next line change.
This is exactly what happened when our boys were younger. I would often go sit or stand by myself when I was watching because I couldn’t handle the non-coaching advice from the stands. It was easier to be far away or to actually coach so I could concentrate on the kids.
Oh yeah, the kids are the ones playing and the ones that should be enjoying the game. Parents do not often understand this.
This same scenario happens in business when people who are not properly trained or coached in a particular skill offer the “do you know what you should do?” advice to their co-worker. So often the advice is ill-conceived, ill-timed, or just plain 100% wrong. Nice work telling someone else what to do when you are not even operating at 100% of your own capacity and expectation.
Seeing these types of actions is essential for leaders so that the proper correction can be made and the right direction can be provided. People need to try harder, make mistakes, correct them and ultimately improve their performance. Comments from the proverbial “peanut gallery” or another department do not help anyone.
I can remember an IT manager asking my colleague and me why we wanted a specific type of report. When we answered he said “you don’t need that.” For those that know me, it was really a challenge for me not to lose my mind. The discussion was substantially longer and more heated than it needed to be because someone was trying to do our job. We were not trying to create extra work. We were trying to gain the data we needed to complete our assessment. In the end we reluctantly got the report and were able to make our business case as a result.
Instead of being critical and being a “seagull colleague” (fly in, crap on everything, then leave), how about you take the time to understand where your responsibility begins and ends and how you might be a better colleague by being supportive. Take the time to understand the context of the situation. You might not be able to add value, and that is just fine. And if you can add value, make sure it is properly offered so that the person can choose to accept it or not.
One last tip for the parents – Be a Fan…NOT a Fanatic!
And don’t worry about the strength of the backhand pass of a 10-year-old. I bet yours was no better than when you were 10. And that is if you even played the game.