OPINIONKid’s coaches: joiner, slacker or real deal?

My kids are involved in a range of activities after school, from running around the footy field to hanging from the ceiling by silk threads like a spider (really).

I’m familiar with coaches, teachers and tutors of all kinds, and have spent quite a bit of time sitting on sidelines,scrutinising their methodologies and behaviour (ha! You thought I was on Facebook).

I think I’m reasonably well qualified to put them into shallow, reductionist categories, so I’ve come up with five kinds of people you’ll meet in the world of after-school activities.

The sergeant major:Humorless andstrict, the sergeant major is there to get results, not have fun. Favourite saying: “Do you think this is some kind of game?” Well, yes. I did…until now.

The obsessive:They are the true believers who can’t understand why you don’t want to pay for five lessons a week, or give up every weekend to drive interstate. They are given to rants on the group Facebook page, castigating students and families alike for their lack of commitment.

The slacker:These are the mums and dads press-ganged into service as coaches who really don’t want to be there. They set up the drills then retire to the bench, or lean on the fence chatting to the other parents. Meanwhile, whichever kid on the team has the strongest personality ends up running the show. This is sometimes great, sometimes downright dangerous.

The joiner:They love a kick or a go with the bat, and they’re having such a good time the kids don’t get a look in. Their philosophy is: “I’ll show these young whipper-snappers how it’s really done”, and then they hog the balance beam or the instrument until the end of the lesson, while little Treydan or Tahlia stares out the window.

The real deal:They love kids, and they love their activity –in that order. They want to impart some skills, but they care more about seeing your child develop character and a sense of competence and adventure.

May your afternoons be full of the real deals – on behalf of the parents of , I salutethem.