Letter to the Parents of a Prospective Player

I would like to see college volleyball coaches educate the parents of their recruits with the following message:

“When your daughter comes to State University, I pledge that we will use all our resources to give her the opportunity to develop into an outstanding volleyball player, student, and citizen.

We will not physically or mentally abuse her. We will not run her off to another school when we have the opportunity to recruit someone with more talent. We will treat her the same way that we would like our own child to be treated, which means that there will be times when she will be challenged, encouraged and pushed to do things beyond what she believes she is capable. This is my commitment to you.

Here is the commitment I need from you, the parents: There will be times in your daughter’s collegiate career where she may be frustrated, anxious or angry for any of the following reasons. She may find the expectations more than she anticipated. She may be asked to play a role on the team that is not the one she dreamed of. She may not enjoy competing every day against other athletes as skilled and talented as she is.

She may not yet have an appreciation for delayed gratification. She may interpret information as judgment. She may long for something else that appears easier or more comfortable. She may be overwhelmed by a combination of these factors.

If she is, then she is having a normal college experience that is typical for someone who is moving through adolescence to adulthood. When this happens, there will come a moment when she calls (or texts) you and wants to do one of the following: leave school and come home, transfer to another school, or organize a plot to get me fired.

I need you to make a commitment that when your daughter calls you will listen, you will communicate your love for her, and then you will tell her to get back to the tough business of growing up and becoming accountable for the challenges that she is lucky enough to have before her. If you cannot make this commitment then you need to look at other schools. If you can, fasten your seatbelt and welcome aboard.” — Terry Pettit

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