Parents love to be involved in their kid’s lives and coach kids sports. It is a rewarding experience to watch your son or daughter become a pro from your excellent know-how of the game.
However, before you pick up the whistle you might want to consider these issues both parent-coaches and children might face throughout the season. The following highlights some of the things you should consider before coaching your son or daughter:
Running the Decision by Your Kid
Before you decide whether coaching the annual Y-Ball team fits your schedule, see if it fits theirs. Sit down with your son or daughter and ask them if they feel comfortable with you playing the role of coach. For some, they’ll be happy with the idea, but for others, they’ll be worried about the judgments of other players, or that they will not live up to your expectations. By sitting down and making a pro’s and con’s list before the season begins you can see what your child is truly worried about. Also, it may be worthwhile to evaluate your intentions. Will winning take priority over learning opportunity? Will a coach role help or hurt the current relationship with your child? These answers are not to be overlooked.
The Double Edge Sword of Favoritism
There is nothing worse than watching your son or daughters basketball game only to see them in for a total of five minutes. This is why parent-coaches always try and distribute playing time equally. The most obvious line of favoritism is having your child in the game for most of the game. It will be up to you to judge, based on their skills and the age level of play, whether or not the most skilled players should receive the most playing time. Always keep in mind the parents came to see their kid in the game.
However, at the same time as not overplaying your kid, the other edge of the sword when parent-coaching is underplaying your child. Doug Skinner, a parent from Los Altos, CA, coached his two boys in soccer, baseball, and basketball until they reached high school. When asked why he decided to coach he replied, “I did not want an overbearing, hot headed dad yelling at his kids like I had seen in the years before.” We then asked him what he thought of the experience and if there is anything he might have changed. He replied, “I wish I would have played my kids more. I was always worried about parents getting mad at me for over playing my sons. My kids always tended to slip to the back of my mind because I was worried other parents were not happy with the amount of playing time their child received.”
Don’t Bring Practice Home
If your son or daughter couldn’t make a shot at practice you will be tempted to go into after hours with him or her to work on some technique. This is not a bad thing, but chances are if they had a bad day at practice they are discouraged. Make sure you can turn off the “coach” as soon as you get home and provide an environment where they can tell you how they are feeling and you can be there for them. Instead of pushing practice in the driveway before you even head in the house, have a little discussion and see if you can’t get them to ask for some pointers, or to play a game of horse.
Appreciate Your Player
Parent-Coaches tend to get very excited when they see the other members of the team improving throughout the season. All too often they forget to monitor their own child’s progress. Make sure you track every player’s improvements and give EVERY PLAYER praise for working hard to learn the game. Not only does remembering to praise your players on the court increase the trust and bond between you and your child, it is when the true joy of coaching becomes addicting.