A coach is a teacher of the fundamentals of the game and the skills necessary to play a sport. They help their athletes build character, develop camaraderie, and promote good sportsmanship. The goal of a youth coach is to motivate kids and recognize the sport as a fun physical activity and to teach them the value of healthy competition.
As a coach, your job is to provide an atmosphere where each kid has the opportunity to realize their athletic potential and improve their skills all while having fun in competition. Ultimately, a child’s decision to continue the sport often depends on their experiences during their early years of training and playing.
But what if you are coaching the team that your child play on? Being a parent coach can be a wonderful experience for both you and your kid. You’ll get to spend more time together, and your bond will strengthen.
However, if not done right, being a parent coach can become unpleasant for your child. They may feel that you are an awesome parent but too hard on them as a coach. They may even be embarrassed by the noticeable amount of attention that you spend on developing their skills while failing to focus on the other team members.
If you decided to play both roles, be mindful and remember the following:
Be a Positive Role Model
Your team will look to you to determine what approach and attitude are appropriate on the field and in life. Remember to be the example for the following:
Don’t Treat the Opponents as Enemies
The opponents should be hated nor destroyed. Worthy opponents make for healthy competition. Your young athletes will learn the value of good sportsmanship when the opponents aren’t demonized but rather respected for their good performances and applauded for their efforts.
Don’t Blame the Officials
Blaming the referees or umpires for errors in judgment or just sheer bad luck only shows poor sportsmanship. Athletes need to learn to accept their failures and learn from them rather than pass the blame or make excuses.
Enjoy the Experience
As a coach, your main goal is the support the individual improvement of your players and inspire enjoyment in the sports experience for your team. Putting too much pressure on them can lead to the game turning sour for the athlete, leading them to quit or burn out.
Don’t Let Your Roles as a Parent and Coach Conflict
Remember, on the field you are the coach, and at home, you are “Mom” or “Dad.” It is easy to blur the two particularly when your kid is on your team. Successful parent coaches go as far as having their children call them “coach” during practice and at games.
Distinguish between the roles when it is relevant. Don’t treat your child as you would at home when you are at practice or during a game. Likewise, don’t treat your child like your athlete at home.
Treat all your players the same. Avoid the impression of favoritism by showering special attention towards your child. As a parent, it is natural to want to see your kid succeed and improve. However, as a coach, it is your job to ensure that all your players get equal attention and guidance. Find a good balance that doesn’t mean focusing too much on your child and ignoring them entirely. Don’t go to the lengths of being extra hard on your child to prove that there is no favoritism either.