Sports can be a great way to build a relationship with your children. Parents can develop a strong relationship with their kids by attending games, practicing with them or even coaching them. Some parents may decide that coaching their kids is a chance to spend more time with them.
Coaching can be a very rewarding experience for parents. It’s an opportunity to help your young athletes reach their goals and teach them new skills. Parents can also become more familiar with the youth sport environment through coaching. This will help parents understand more about the challenges kids may experience in athletics.
However, you may experience conflicts with your children when they can’t separate the roles of parent and coach. Younger kids may have an even more difficult time separating these roles. Kids may not understand why their parent (not coach) is upset with them during a game, for example.
Parents may also have a difficult time separating these roles. Parents may want to give their children sports instruction or talk about the game at home. Parents may also want to discipline their children on the field. The best way to avoid this conflict is to leave your coaching role on the field and be a parent at home.
Parents who decide to coach their kids should consider the following guidelines.
- Do not give your child more attention than other players. Parent coaches may think coaching is an opportunity to personally coach their kids. Parents who give their child more attention or play favorites undermine their ability to coach. Some players may not listen to your instruction, for example. Parents should be realistic about their kids’ talents to avoid giving their children more attention.
- Improve each player’s skills rather than just your own children’s. Parents should not only be their kids’ cheerleader, but should focus on encouraging the whole team. Make sure your athletes understand that you can’t be their cheerleaders all the time. You need to attend to the other players.
- Do not be too strict with your children. Kids may feel added pressure if their parent is coaching. Kids may feel that they can’t make mistakes. They may try to avoid disappointing parents. Make sure you ask your kids what they think about you coaching their team.
- Take your knowledge of the sport into consideration. Parents who were good athletes are not necessarily good coaches. Coaching requires knowledge of the sport, teaching ability, and patience.
- Be prepared to deal with parents. Expect that parents will have concerns about playing time and practice schedules. Parents will likely question your coaching decisions even if you do not favor certain players. Parents should develop a plan to deal with these situations.