The number of times I have been called a bully as a coach is a painfully high. What most don’t understand about being good in my field of work is that you have to care; you have to care so much about the kids you coach even when it seems like they don’t care about themselves. It is my job to push and make sure these athletes are able to reach their full potential; this is where most pieces of constructive criticism gets lost in translation. It is never my intention to be hurtful to a child, but instead to coach them in a way that will produce the results they deserve to see.

I don’t coach for me, I coach for my athletes.

I have won the most prestigious competition that there is to win as an athlete: the Cheerleading Worlds, and I have won way more than just that in my 17 years of experience in the world of cheerleading. I am not trying to win any more jackets for myself, my closet is full, and my intention as a coach is to train athletes that can win titles for themselves. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the pride that these athletes have in them when they hear their names called for first. This is why I do what I do.

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We care about their safety just as much as you do!

I understand that it is hard to see your child upset and hear them complain that their coach was hard on them. I hope that you can see that your children are not being picked on when they drop a stunt or bust a tumbling pass at practice or competition, but instead being held accountable for the mistakes they have made. As a coach, I know the capabilities of my athletes. If an athlete wasn’t capable of safely executing a skill, I would never have them do it. I would never put your children in harm's way. If you don’t believe me, I can promise you that not only do I want to see your athlete healthy, but also an injury to a team member isn’t worth it when it comes to throwing skills that aren’t safe.

We do not have it out for your child.

Kids give attitude, that is just in the nature of being a child, when they don’t like what they hear or they don’t like their spot, they give us attitude. As a coach there is not much that we can do when we get attitude, so if we call your child out, or condition them for it, it is not personal, it has nothing to do with how much I enjoy Sally, it is the standard of respect that all of the athletes are to be giving us as figures of authority. A huge role in how the athletes view us and respect us is how their parents talk about us at home with their children. If your child thinks you don’t have respect for us they think they don’t need to either. If a parent doesn’t think that I deserve respect as a coach, their child should be coached by someone that they do respect; in order to receive better results.

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I think about your children more than anything else in my life.

As a coach, the success of my team is my main objective; I will literally lose sleep over things going on in the gym. My job isn’t over when I get home from work; I bring work with me everywhere I go; I am constantly answering phone calls and text messages about my athletes. I am always looking at videos to see what the next best thing is as well as researching what ways to maximize our score sheets. When the season starts in May, my job isn’t over until after the last competition in May. Minus the one or two weeks off in-between the end of the season and tryouts, my job is a year-round gig, and I never get away from it. So next time you are concerned with how I feel about your kiddo, make sure that you take into account that I am only tough on them because I care about them, if I didn’t care I wouldn’t push and that is the truth about being an all star cheerleading coach!