Casey Jones just wanted to watch his 13-year-old granddaughter play volleyball. He was so proud of her making the team and wanted to see her in action. But when he went to watch her practice at Centennial Middle School in Florida, he was informed that family members were not allowed to attend practices.

Jones was able to contact Pasco County School District’s assistant superintendent Ray Gadd, who decided to investigate the policy. “As an organization, we want to be parent-friendly and family-friendly,” he said, but also noted that the school might have its reasons.

What they found out is that there is no district-wide policy for parents. It varies by school and even by sport. Basically, it’s up to the coaches to decide what’s best for their team. Now they’re trying to decide whether or not they should adopt a standardized rule for the entire district.

I think that’s a terrible idea. Coaches need to connect with their players, and just like every person is unique, so is every team. What works for one team might not work for another. For instance, what if you get a group of students with more helicopter parents than usual? Is it really a good idea to have those moms and dads questioning every move the coaches make, or sideline coaching themselves? In that case, banning parents from practice might be a good idea.

It might not even be about the students at all -- what if a coach in a highly competitive sport doesn’t want his or her strategies overseen by opponents?

A universal policy would rob coaches from making the best decisions for their teams, and that’s not exactly in the best interests of the students. Does it suck that a coach might implement a rule you don’t like? Yes. But no one ever said life was fair.

Do you think coaches should be required to let parents into practice?


Image via Battle Creek CVB/Flickr