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5 Things to Consider Before Coaching Your Own Child

  
  
  

A lot of sports parents dream of coaching their child’s Little League or youth soccer team, but that doesn’t mean every parent should. Deciding to coach your own child and the rest of their youth sports team is a big decision and shouldn’t be made lightly. Here are 5 things to consider before coaching your own child:

1. Can you let go of the “coach” once you come home?

A lot of parent-coaches struggle with defining where the coach ends and the parent begins. When you come home after a game are you going to rehash every play over dinner or keep the coach in check until the next practice? Unlike the other players that get to walk away at the end of the day, your child lives with the coach 24-7. Do you know when to switch back in to parent mode?

2. How will coaching your own child impact your relationship with them?5 Things to Consider Before Coaching Your Own Child

If you are thinking about coaching your own child’s youth sports team it’s definitely worth asking them how they feel about it, especially if they are getting older and starting to take the sport more seriously. Most 4 year old tee ball players don’t really care who the coach is, but a 12 year old looking to join a high powered travel team might have an opinion on it. If you become your child’s coach, how will that impact your home relationship with them? It could be for the better (and hopefully not for the worse) but it’s definitely something you should consider.

3. Do you know enough about the sport to coach everyone else’s children as well as your own?

Enthusiasm in youth sports is great (and definitely one of the defining characteristics of a great youth sports coach) but knowledge goes a long way too, especially when you want to coach older players. Coaching their team might be a great way to bond with your own player, but as the coach you are responsible for a whole team of youth athletes. Do you know enough about the sport to be a great coach to everyone?

4. Can you be not too strict OR too lenient with your own child?

In order to avoid looking like they are playing favorites, many parent-coaches come down too hard on their own child. You might have higher expectations for your own athlete, but that doesn’t mean you have to pick apart every mistake they make on the field. On the flip side, as the coach you have to treat everyone the same for better or for worse. If your child can get away with goofing off during practice, talking back or other forms of unacceptable behavior other players would get reprimanded for you’re not setting a very good example.

5. Are you ready for the pressure of being a coach?

Coaching your own child’s your sports team can be a ton of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. You have to sure that you can commit to every practice and every game because, after all, you’re the coach! It’s your responsibility to teach everyone the skills as best as you can, make sure everyone gets a chance on the field, has fun during practice, keep the other sports parents in line and more. Are you prepared for all that?

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Comments

Jodi - I would like your permission to put your "5 Things to Consider" article on my web page:www.fundamentalsoccer.com 
 
Thank you for writing such a pertinent article & I look forward to receiving your permission 
 
Your FUNdamental, 
 
 
 
Koach Karl
Posted @ Tuesday, June 12, 2012 7:53 PM by Karl Dewazien
Thanks Karl! Of course...I sent you an email.
Posted @ Wednesday, June 13, 2012 2:36 PM by Jodi Murphy
good points ! But, please don't discourage parents from volunteering their time and becoming youth coaches ! As an elementary school teacher, I never planned on coaching, but when my 5 yr old wanted to play soccer and there was a need for coaches, I accepted and learned how much fun it could be ! I coached for three years before seeking a more soccer knowledgeable coach to take the team and then became an asst. coach for 3 yrs and then an Age Group Director for the youth soccer club for 3 yrs. If more people were encouraged to donate their time, we could have more children participate and find the joy of being part of team and healthy lifestyle !
Posted @ Thursday, June 28, 2012 3:27 PM by nancy
I coached my son for four years through T-ball and Coach Pitch. I had one rule, "While we are on the field, my name is 'Coach'". This is how I treated him and how he learned to respond to me. My biggest struggle was to not focus on him more than the others. Instead, we did drills at home and away from the field. For his position and batting order I drew a number from a jar and get was randomly inserted. This was the same rule for my two assistants. It worked really well. 
 
My son decided to try football for a couple of years and so I agreed but worked as an assistant. Soon I found myself in the same spot because all the head coach wanted to do was to teach his son and the one kid who he thought could catch a pass. Most of the kids ended up not liking the game and we finished last in the league. 
 
This year we switched back to baseball but I was unable to coach. The experience was the same. The kids of the coaches were always at the top of the batting order and played infield. The kids in the outfield took turns riding pine. There were a few games where my son did not even get a single at bat. He acted ok about it but then one day he turned to me and said "How am I going to get any better if they don't let me play". What was worse is the coach's kids were not that great. Once again, we finished last in the league. The coaches made so many excuses for loosing that it bred a culture of losing. It was sad. 
 
The worst thing happened after the last game. The worst thing a father could hear. He turns to me and hand me his glove and says "I don't ever want to play baseball again. It's not fun anymore." 
 
Well, yes I do think he will play again and I might have to find a way to coach to make sure every kid gets at least a chance to prove themselves. More importantly we have to remember that when we agree to coach a team, we agreed to coach the team, not just our own kid. 
 
.cm
Posted @ Thursday, June 28, 2012 3:58 PM by .cm
I've coached my son who now plays collegiately and I have a younger one I coach now you defitnitely have to learn when its time to let go or else you will lose them !! Great article!
Posted @ Thursday, June 28, 2012 5:09 PM by jeff anderson
It can be tough. I've been doing it since my daughter was 3. Now she's 15. It is taxing on the relationship. The older she gets, the more I have learned to relax.
Posted @ Thursday, June 28, 2012 5:10 PM by Fred gulley
Hi Jodi, 
 
It sounds like you had a bad experience with this (not you coaching but a parent coach). Coaching my two daughters through both basketball and softball is the most rewarding feeling I have ever had. I do know the "coaches" that you are talking about, but I would not have missed it for the world. I honestly feel that we are much closer because of me coaching. Great "things to consider" , but you have to at least try being involed at some level. And your right, keep everything in perspective.
Posted @ Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:30 PM by Kevin Manning
What a great article! I've been coaching my son for the past few years and these thoughts have popped in an out of my mind. The point about being too hard on my own kid definitely rings true - it's one I need to remember. Thank you for this great article!
Posted @ Friday, June 29, 2012 7:08 AM by Bryan Devore
Interesting article.For me personally #4 is the one that is most difficult to manage. I think the reason this is, is due to the fact that in some cases there are absentee dads.
Posted @ Friday, June 29, 2012 7:37 PM by ej
Very well written, concise and detailed. I coached at two levels this season at the coach pitch level I was a manager for my 7 y/o daughter and as an assistant with my 12 y/o son's team. I felt it was important to take more of a back seat role with my son's team. Also, the best thing I have ever done is include my son as an assistant coach with me and the younger kids. It gives him a chance to share what he is learning and use the language that the younger kids will understand. They look up to him and even come to his games. A real win/win/win all around. 
Thanks for the great piece. I look forward to more. 
 
Peter
Posted @ Sunday, July 01, 2012 11:00 AM by Peter
Coached my son from u8 to u19 premier team,even though we did very well,and got to be one of the best team on the state of ny, knowing what I know now I would at some point have to let someone else take over,I think he got burnt out. So please think it over before you make that commitment. 
Tony
Posted @ Sunday, July 01, 2012 11:23 PM by tony puprto
My husband was a volunteer coach for many years and loved it. He was able to learn the sport of soccer by coaches clinic. He had great success the many years he coached and he misses it, but right now our boys play competitive soccer. So our time is spent watching them play. Maybe someday again.
Posted @ Monday, July 02, 2012 3:49 PM by Barbara Smith
There are two points I would like to make. First, after having an 11 yr old and 8 yr old playing 5 and 4 sports respectively, before coaching, ALL parents should consider whether they know the game they are coaching at all. One of the biggest diservices parents can do to their own kids and the kids of others is to coach a sport they have never played. Soccer is not just kicking a ball and at the youngest of ages skills need to be taught in a fun way. Be an assistant, don't coach, or just be a parent that helps, but you are doing no one any good by coaching a sport you do not know. If you do know a sport, you should also know your own level. Just because you made Little League Allstars does not mean you should keep coaching you son. Find the great coaches if you want your kids to learn the right techniques--breeding bad technique year after year creates habits that are hard/impossible to break. Find coaches/clinics (extended clinics, not 1-dayers) early so that your kids learns good technique from the get-go. Then, they play with that technique for all the years to come. 
 
 
 
Second, the most important lesson I have learned is to find the programs/places where the coaches are great to the kids, are very knowledgeable (have lots of experience in the sport) and teach proper technique. Next, it is of utmost importance that the kids love the coaches (due to the above qualities of the coach),and the experience is therefore positive every time they go.
Posted @ Thursday, July 05, 2012 9:36 AM by steve
It can be tough at home when you choose to involve yourself in the coaching aspect. My issue was with my wife/Mom who while is a great fan of our son and team has basically NO knowledge of the competitive team sports world. When things didn't go exactly how she perceived should go in reference to our son and the team it caused huge unnecessary stress in our home. I'd leave it at the court which I learned very efficiently as a prep school coach for 10 years but my son and wife wore it on there sleeves. Things really became more stressful when my son would occasionally go to Mom to complain which likely other players also would do at times but I had to go home to the drama. Just Mamma trying to protect her cub or maybe over-protect. Bottom line, maturity and understanding the team sports dynamic by all parties is a must in these situations especially when the child/athlete has reached that 10/11 year old range and travel teams are so competitive. In the end after returning for 1 year to coach I am leaving again as it just doesn't work with my sons and wife's personality. Don't regret giving it a try but these settings require a certain DNA in the family which we just don't have. I'd advise all aspiring daddy or mommy coaches in this situation not to force a square peg into a round hole, take a step back and let others handle the coaching role. There will be other outstanding helpful way's you can assist your child's athletic growth and team.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 10, 2012 11:48 AM by LGB
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