It’s the Parents’ Fault, Not the Kids’: Part 2

By: Will HitzelbergerLIFE LESSONS

Dear Parents,

I only write this because this is what we see. I am not telling you to change or how to change. I simply want everyone to be aware of our experiences on the other side.


We have a large clientele of 14-18 year olds and they come in all different shapes, sizes, attitudes and personalities, but all reflective of their parents. Most of my examples will tie into the day to day occurrences our staff experiences.

BE EARLY. Being on time is not good enough and sets you up to be late. When you plan to be on time there are too many uncontrollable factors that can now cause you to be late.

Our favorite is when an athlete runs in the door and yells, “it’s 3:59!!!! I’m not late!!!!”

Not only are you late because we have already started, but you can’t be PRO-ACTIVE about taking care of some issue on your own. Maybe some extra stretching or foam rolling prior to your workout will allow you to perform better that day.


I have two “BE EARLY” stories from my college soccer coach, who made sure this was instilled in us.

One of my teammates and I were working camp one summer and the camp started at 9. We knew our coach was mental about this so we were there at 8:30. He freaked out on us and told us we weren’t early enough. When we got our paycheck at the end of the week he only paid us for 3 out of the 5 day camp.

The next story with the same coach is that he usually gave you three strikes. This one player had been late a couple of times and coach warned him that he couldn’t be late again. We were loading the bus for an away game and that player was late. The bus pulled away for the game and like that, that player (a starter) was no longer on the team.

Because of lessons like this I am respectively on time or early to just about everything.

COMMIT. There are times when it is going to get tough. This can go for anything: a workout, a season, a game, an off-season, but you committed to do it. Grit your teeth and grind it out. Once you get through it and it’s not for you, move on to something else. I am not telling you to keep playing baseball if you hate it, but if you signed up for the season you need to stick with it.

RESPONSIBILITY. I’m not sure what the age should be, but at some point, sooner than it happens here parents need to stop calling us to cancel or schedule on behalf of their 16 year old. I know he has phone and I know he doesn’t want to tell us he would rather go get ice cream with his girlfriend after school, but they need to learn to take responsibility for their actions.

This one leads right into ACCOUNTABILITY. t’s easy to work hard in front of us for an hour each day, but if you want to be serious as an athlete, which you should be considering you train with us for extra work, then you need to learn to have accountability. How you take care of yourself outside of your one hour a day with us is really what affects your performance

What are you eating? How much sleep do you get? Are you doing extra work on your own? If your kids aren’t sure about what the right foods, hours of sleep are, make them responsible and have them ask a coach, they are there to help.

PRO-ACTIVE. I love when an athlete has made sure they are here 30 minutes early, or maybe their parents just had to drop them off that early. They come in and just sit. No stretching, no foam rolling. Nothing. Just sit.

We have a high school lacrosse player that comes in 45 minutes before each session to take care of herself. She does it on her own. She knows where she is tight and where she has imbalances. She wants to be the best. She is EARLY, TOTALLY COMMITTED, SCHEDULES ON HER OWN, and DOES EXTRA SKILL WORK TO GET BETTER.

As always, all comments are welcomed.

  1. AWESOME a must read for every athlete AND Parents of athletes!

  2. Well said, Will. These are essential tried and true lessons that build character, integrity and independence. These attributes are what every parent should aspire for themselves and model for their children. Thank-you for the inspiration and wisdom. ~P.

  3. I love this article! It hits all the important characteristics that we work on to create committed, character-based volleyball players!

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