Development Zone®


PCA Resource Center

Joe Ehrmann On What Sports Parents Need To Know

Share This Resource

Joe Ehrmann (@JoeEhrmann76), a PCA National Advisory Board Member and winner of PCA's Ronald L. Jensen Award for Lifetime Achievement, is a former NFL Pro Bowl defensive lineman, founder of Coach For America and author of InSide Out Coaching. Ehrmann gained additional prominence when Parade Magazine dubbed him “the most important coach in America” for his unorthodox, but highly effective, coaching at Gilman School in the Baltimore area.

In this video, Ehrmann shares what he sees as three essential things sports parents should consider. The first is a good understanding of their children so they can better interact with their young athlete. This means that parents should honestly assess their kids' strengths and weaknesses, as well as what developmental stage their kids are in. This honest approach will influence how parents talk to their children about playing at the next level or whether they are meeting their potential.

The second important focus for sports parents is an understanding of their own goals for their children in sports, and how that affects their kids. In order to capitalize on the best that sports offer and to avoid defaulting to a win-at-all-costs mentality, parents should separate personal past experiences from what’s happening in their children's youth and high school sports experiences. Living out past dreams through your children of being a star athlete or making captain will only be a negative influencer on the experience of a young athlete.

Finally, Ehrmann encourages parents to get to know the values and missions of the coach and youth sports organization. A clear mission statement is a key component for maintaining a positive and safe culture for young athletes, and parents are responsible for ensuring their kids are in the best possible situation given what the family wants from the youth sports experience.