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Benefits, challenges when parents coach


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Parker Chitty knew that with Columbus East losing seven seniors to graduation last season, he’d have a chance to move into the starting lineup as a sophomore.

The coach he had to convince: his father, Brent.

After watching Parker play with the rest of the Olympian returners during the summer, Brent was convinced enough to make Parker his starting point guard. The youngster hasn’t disappointed, helping East to a 7-2 start.

“We worked hard this summer to get better,” Parker Chitty said. “A lot of things opened up, and there was going to be a lot of competition, so I knew right from the beginning I had to work hard.”

That’s been especially true since he’s now playing for his dad, who is in his fourth year with the Olympians and his 20th overall as a head coach.

“When you’re playing for your dad, it’s a lot different,” Parker Chitty said. “He’s going to be a lot different, but in the end, on the court, he’s your coach, and at home, he’s your dad.”

Brent Chitty said he has received advice from New Albany coach Jim Shannon, Evansville Reitz coach Mike Adams and former Bloomington North coach Tom McKinney, all of whom coached their sons. Chitty was an assistant under McKinney before McKinney’s son helped lead the Cougars to the final single-class state title in 1997.

“I’ve had a lot of guys help me in talking to me about enjoying it,” Brent Chitty said. “You try to treat them like every other player, but normally, you’re probably harder on them than other guys. You don’t do it on purpose, but I think it’s the nature of the beast.”

Parker Chitty has emerged as East’s third-leading scorer and rebounder with 9.8 points and 2.6 rebounds a game. He also ranks second on the team with 3.0 assists and leads the squad with 2.3 steals.

“I think we’re pleased with what he’s brought to the table for this team,” Brent Chitty said. “Parker has given us somebody that could handle the ball a little bit for us and get it to where it needs to get and has done a lot of good things for us defensively.

“We try to keep it real,” he said. “We knew as a sophomore point guard, it’s a lot to put on somebody’s plate, so we try to keep it real simple and let the game come to him. I’m very pleased with his progress.”

Parker Chitty said he doesn’t feel any extra pressure being the coach’s kid.

“I’m sure there is, but it doesn’t bother me much,” Parker Chitty said. “I’m just here to play basketball and have fun.

“You practice, practice, practice, and then you just have to play basketball,” he said. “Win or lose, you have fun doing it. I enjoy playing basketball, and that’s what I have to do.”

A couple of Bartholomew County girls standouts whose fathers are assistant basketball coaches say they benefit from their guidance.

“It has its highs and lows, but the lows aren’t lows at all because (father Ron Patberg is) helping me in every part of the game and in life,” Columbus North junior Ali Patberg said. “He wants me to be as perfect as I can be so down the road I can be prepared for whatever comes my way. He’s always there helping me, and he has my back.”

“It’s stressful at times because (father Craig Sims is) hard on you,” Hauser sophomore Leslie Sims said. “But it’s nice to come home and get feedback on how to improve. We’ll come home and talk about things we can improve on or things we did well on.”

Leslie Sims, who has committed to Indiana State for softball, leads the Jets basketball team with 12.7 points, 3.1 assists and 4.4 steals a game. She was also a standout on the softball team as a freshman, when she set a state record with 72 stolen bases. Craig Sims is Hauser’s head softball coach.

“There’s times Leslie gets frustrated with me,” Craig Sims. “She thinks I’m picking on her. It’s tough.

“As a coach, you have to look at the big picture and what’s best for the team and be a dad at home,” he said. “I’m not going to lie. It’s a tough situation, whether your kid performs well or not, keeping that balance.”

Ron Patberg admits he’s usually tougher on his daughter than the other players.

“Then, you have that dynamic of how other people feel because you’re coaching your daughter,” Ron Patberg said. “That always creeps into the equation a little bit. But the positives far outweigh

the negatives.

“It’s better that sitting in the stands because I’ve sat in the stands before, and you feel a lot more helpless in the stands than you do sitting there (on the bench),” he said. “I know a lot of parents probably feel when they’re sitting there in the stands and watching their kid play that they have no control. I feel like I have a little bit of control sitting on the bench.”

Ali Patberg has led the Bull Dogs to a 63-7 record since entering high school. This year, the Notre Dame recruit leads North with 17.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists

a game.

“It’s a joy,” Ron Patberg said. “You couldn’t ask for anything better than to be an assistant coach and coach your daughter and see the success she’s had the the success our team has had.

Especially having a daughter that loves the game and enjoys going to watch games and will go scout with me, it’s something that every father has to cherish.”

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