Dear Coach, 

I want you to know I respect and honor all the time you give helping build our children into adults. I know you take time away from our own family, to give to ours, and for that we thank you. You are one of the most influential people in my child’s life and it’s up to you as to how you will be remembered in their eyes and in mine.  

Will you be the coach who builds up their spirit and teaches them more than the game? Or will you be the coach who screams at them and degrades them in front of a crowd and breaks their spirit in the hopes of getting a win? 

Will you be the coach who will be their mentor and raises them up to be more than they can be? Or will you be the coach that breaks them down and blames them for the loss instead of creating a team atmosphere? 

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Will you be the coach who understands when they have an off day, and sees them for more than just Xs or Os on the paper? Or will you break them down until they feel their off days are all they have left to give?  

Will you build a team that excels and works together as a family, and wins and loses with integrity? Or have you created an atmosphere where the one individual who excels, is worth more than those who give you all their heart and soul each day in practice?  

Don’t get me wrong I want you to expect only the best for my child, and when he is not giving you that, I expect you to hold him to the highest standard that he’s capable of. I am OK if you are hard on my kid. Sometimes he’ll need it. Sometimes he’ll need a reminder of what is expected. I want you to push him, I want you to have high expectations for him and expect only his best from him. And if you do this with respect and compassion, I know he will give it to you.

I want my child to understand the expectations laid upon him and work hard to achieve those goals. And I know sometimes competition is fierce, and it can get the best of us. I understand all that.

My child will make mistakes, I will make mistakes, and so will you.

Mistakes are human. It’s how we handle those mistakes that define us. It’s how we learn from those mistakes and use them as teachable moments that will forever be ingrained in our hearts. 

I will do my best to support you as his coach both during the games and in my home. And I ask the same of you. You deserve that. The team deserves that. My son deserves that. I want you to see his heart and understand that when you are beating him down, you are defeating your own team instead of building it up. The team requires support and respect on both sides. When you chose to break him, it is not going to make him play better, run faster, defend the ball better, score more, or perform to your standard of perfection. You are killing him slowly from the inside out. When that happens, you will break my heart, and most likely lose my support, my respect, and my admiration. Because as a team, respect is earned and given on both sides of the court, field, and arena. That starts with you. You, as their leader, set the tone for that.  

And if you decide to see my son, and I mean REALLY see him, I know you will always coach with respect and compassion and understand that you are still working with a child. You are working with my child.

Each child down there is someone’s whole world you are holding in your hands.

And I need those hands to hold him up to be all that he can be, and not drop him to shatter into a million pieces. You have that power. Please use it with love and care.

Coach, you do not get to decide whether you influence my child or not. That was already decided the second you accepted this role. But you do get to decide how he will remember you. You will always be one of the most influential people in my child’s life. I just hope you choose for it to be a positive one.

I know when he looks back on his life, you will definitely be one of his greatest influencers. And one of mine, as well. Because anyone who chooses to really see my child and help him become the amazing person he is going to be, I will always be grateful. Your legacy is in your hands. I beg you to carry it with grace and honor. And when you do, my support and respect will always be yours. 

From my heart, 
Every mom in the stands. 

Gina Marie Bonifas

I am a wife and mother of four boys. Our world is usually loud and filled with dirt and a bit chaotic, but in every moment we try to find the joy, the beauty, and the memories. This is our story!