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Candy Westbrook: A dear football mom column

Dear Football Mom,

My son’s high school coach has the weight room open for three days a week over the summer. The coach expects his team to take advantage of this opportunity to work out. My son went one morning last week, and it was open and a few of his teammates were there, but no adult coach was in the room overseeing the workouts. I take issue with this but don’t want to confront the coach, fearing it would hurt my son’s chances at first string. What would you do?

Dear Reader,

Oh golly. This is exactly why I do what I do with these columns, so parents can get their concerns out without running interference and not having your name called out over the loudspeaker. More often than not, we can come up with a game plan and execute it without spilling our guts all over the field or getting messy in the coach’s face without cause. 

Before blowing a snoot full of judgment on your coach or going hog-wild, here’s your game plan: As long as the players have been taught proper technique and know the rules and procedures of their school’s weight room, an adult shouldn’t have to be there overseeing or spotting the players every minute. In fact, it builds character for the coach not to be there; the team can help each other, and gives them a chance to bond. It creates and adds chemistry to the team for them to be unsupervised. I bet you weren’t expecting that.

Now then, I can assure your coach is looking on from a distance and checking in every so often. The players don’t always see him, but if the room is open, he’s around there somewhere. Maybe your son might have just missed a quick look-see from the coach. Then again, the coach shouldn’t have to monitor his players that often.

There should be no goofing off or horsing around, and if that does happen, the players need to go find the coach and let him know who was messing around. No, they are not snitching. If the players can’t get it under control, the coach will. The weight room should be a safe environment, without a bunch of brouhaha. No coach should have to babysit players working out in the weight room, and if he’s gotten his rules across (and I’m sure he’s made them crystal clear), he shouldn’t have to clock time while they work. 

On the other hand, no coach wants your child to get hurt or injured. If he’s taught them properly, they will enter the weight room in reverence, with respect, and a sense of getting down to business. 

Most kids can spot each other, and it isn’t such a big deal if the coach isn’t there the entire time. Coach uses his absence to initiate team effort, camaraderie, and the ability for the players to problem-solve on their own and come together as a team. That is what is supposed to happen in the weight room, among getting stronger, better and more physical. 

The kids who choose to go the extra mile and show up over summer are the players who are serious about leading their teams to victory. Players like that deserve respect. It’s not always easy for players to get to the workouts. Some may have summer jobs, aren’t old enough to drive yet or may even have to visit another parent over the summer, so it’s not always convenient for players to participate in those workouts. I hope all of you parents support and encourage your sons in their efforts. 

 If your son is going to the weight room on his own over the summer, you have raised him right and his character is intact. Relax about the weight room. It’s all good. Let the wins begin this fall. 

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