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Survive coaching your own kid

 

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Whether its youth or high school, coaching your own child is a challenge. Even the best coach can struggle with being too lenient, too strict, or over-coaching when it comes to our own kids on the team. Here’s a few things to keep in mind so you both have a great experience!

  1. Use discretion with how you make corrections. Your child will feel more called out than other kids when you correct their mistakes in front of the team because you are their parent. Though the goal may be to treat your child the same as the other kids, the truth is they aren’t the same and you may have to do things a little differently. Be aware they will feel under a microscope and be sensitive to that.
  2. Keep the coaching to practice and games. It’s easy to fall into the drive home, weekend, after practice trap where we just keep coaching them. You have to take off the coaching hat when you leave the field and go back into parent mode. They need you to do this. No kid wants to go home with the coach.
  3. When possible, ask other coaching staff to do the coaching and disciplining of your child at practice and games. This way you avoid looking like you show favoritism as well as protecting your parent/child relationship.
  4. Be careful of your kitchen table talk. When you discuss the team in front of your kid they hear an awful lot that will color their picture of the team. It also puts them in an uncomfortable position knowing info the rest of the team doesn’t know or even sharing info that shouldn’t be out there.
  5. Keep an open dialogue with your child. Talk through the season and make sure the relationship is intact. If your kid is comfortable talking about how they are doing then you can avoid relationship strain that often comes with sharing the coach/parent role. Your relationship with your kid will last far longer than their playing career, make sure that comes first!
  6. Try not to let your child’s opinion or observations of other players color your opinions of your team. Sometimes our kids come home and report something about another player (what they said, what they did, etc) and it’s easy to jump to conclusions and judge. Remember that your child’s perception may not be based on all the facts.
  7. Spread the duties around rather than piling responsibilities on your child that you wouldn’t put on the rest of the team. Sometimes our kids get the duties of an assistant coach because we are comfortable giving them tasks, just like at home. Sometimes they may like being a helper but if it’s all the time they may resent being a coach’s kid. Spread duties to the whole team, ask everyone to pitch in and take turns being a helper to the coaches.
  8. Your child doesn’t have to be a superstar just because you’re the coach. Try to put aside any pressures you feel to have your kid outperform the rest of the team. Let them enjoy their experience and play at their own potential, whatever that is. 
  9. Avoid talking about your kid or oversharing their personal life with the team, other parent and other coaches. The team may enjoy your stories and examples you use about your child but they likely don’t.
  10. Have fun! It doesn’t last long, so don’t forget – even though you’re not on the bleacher sideline- enjoy watching them play, make friends, and learn.

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