When you become a parent, you’ve been given the hardest job on earth. When you combine that with coaching your child’s team in youth sports, you’ve got a challenge that can cause tension at home, drama on the team, and conflict with other parents.
(Please note: I received compensation for this post)
Although you will never totally eradicate all athlete/parent coach conflicts, here are a few tips to cut down on the friction.
#1 Ask Yourself a Very Important Question
Before you accept the job of coaching your child’s team, you must honestly ask yourself one very important question: Can you treat your own child the same as you intend to treat everyone else on the team?
I don’t believe that it’s possible for a parent coach to ever feel totally objective when it comes to his or her child. But that does not mean you can’t handle situations in an objective manner. It’s okay to recognize your biased feelings and then put them aside while you strive to do what’s best for each person on the team.
Being able to recognize your bias and make an objective decision takes practice and discipline and there will be days when it’s downright hard on you emotionally. But if you can’t commit to doing that, it would be best to let someone take the job.
#2 Don’t Be a Lone Ranger
One of the downsides of coaching your own child is that you will be accused of favoritism, even when it’s not true. It may be that your child is the best one for the pitching or quarterbacking spot, but that won’t keep some parents from trying to accuse you of playing favorites.
One way to safeguard yourself from unfounded criticism and from giving your child special treatment without realizing it is to have one or two assistant coaches who can be objective. Concur with them on every player position, and even better, let them place your child in the spot that’s best for the team.
In order to do this, you must have an honest conversation with your assistant coaches and agree that every decision made will be based on what’s best for the team.
#3 In Practice and Games, You’re a Coach First
I’ve seen how hard it is to coach your own child; my husband has done it numerous times over the past 22 years of being a sports parent. You will never be able to totally disassociate yourself from your parenting role, but you can learn to be a coach first.
There may be times when your child tries to appeal to you as a parent, “Awww, Dad, do we have to run today?” or “It’s time for practice to end, Mom!” Let your child know that you are a coach first at practice, then a parent. Don’t let your son or daughter display any sort of entitlement attitude just because you happen to be their parent.
#4 Know When To Take off the Coaching Hat
Once practice is over, it’s time to take off the coaching hat and be the Dad or Mom again. Refrain from coaching, unless your child specifically asks for help. Don’t treat your child like another coach and start discussing his teammates or the other coaches with him, letting him in on information that he probably shouldn’t know.
#5 Check Your Motives For Coaching
If you are coaching your child’s team just so that you can showcase your child’s abilities, then it’s probably better that you don’t coach.
If you are projecting your own dreams and ambitions on your child as you coach, then it’s absolutely better that you don’t coach.
If you desire to give kids a positive, growing experience and feel you can be fair to everyone–and that’s your only motive–then go be a coach! Don’t let feeling “unqualified” stop you. There’s plenty of resources to help, such as the courses offered on Coachtube. You can begin with this list of free ones offered.
#6 Prepare Your Child for the Trash Talk
Coach’s kids are often targets. Maybe not so much when your kids are little, but it gets sticky in middle and high school.
Your child’s teammates may complain to your child because they don’t like something you did.
Teammates may ask your child to discuss his or her problems with your parent instead of confronting him or her themselves.
Your child might be taunted by peers who claim he or she is being favored because of being a coach’s kid.
No doubt, this treatment is unfair to coaches’ kids and often very hurtful, but unfortunately comes with the my-dad-is-a-coach territory.
Parent coaches perform a valuable service. Many teams and leagues wouldn’t exist if parents didn’t volunteer. It also is an opportunity for you as a parent to solidify the parent-child bond, nurture a shared interest and shape your child’s character development in positive ways.
This post is sponsored and paid for by Coachtube, an online resource that has created the largest sports instruction marketplace in the world: over 950 courses in 35 sports. For coaches and athletes wanting to learn, there’s instant access to the on demand instruction from the world’s best coaches. For coaches wanting to teach, it offers the opportunity to create courses online. Spend less time marketing & more time coaching. CoachTube makes it easy to create and share premium content with a specific target audience.
Click below to learn more about the hundreds of inexpensive courses offered on Coachtube.