A lot of sports parents dream of coaching their child’s Little League or youth soccer team, but that doesn’t mean every parent should. Deciding to coach your own child and the rest of their youth sports team is a big decision and shouldn’t be made lightly. Here are 5 things to consider before coaching your own child:
1. Can you let go of the “coach” once you come home?
A lot of parent-coaches struggle with defining where the coach ends and the parent begins. When you come home after a game are you going to rehash every play over dinner or keep the coach in check until the next practice? Unlike the other players that get to walk away at the end of the day, your child lives with the coach 24-7. Do you know when to switch back in to parent mode?
2. How will coaching your own child impact your relationship with them?
If you are thinking about coaching your own child’s youth sports team it’s definitely worth asking them how they feel about it, especially if they are getting older and starting to take the sport more seriously. Most 4 year old tee ball players don’t really care who the coach is, but a 12 year old looking to join a high powered travel team might have an opinion on it. If you become your child’s coach, how will that impact your home relationship with them? It could be for the better (and hopefully not for the worse) but it’s definitely something you should consider.
3. Do you know enough about the sport to coach everyone else’s children as well as your own?
Enthusiasm in youth sports is great (and definitely one of the defining characteristics of a great youth sports coach) but knowledge goes a long way too, especially when you want to coach older players. Coaching their team might be a great way to bond with your own player, but as the coach you are responsible for a whole team of youth athletes. Do you know enough about the sport to be a great coach to everyone?
4. Can you be not too strict OR too lenient with your own child?
In order to avoid looking like they are playing favorites, many parent-coaches come down too hard on their own child. You might have higher expectations for your own athlete, but that doesn’t mean you have to pick apart every mistake they make on the field. On the flip side, as the coach you have to treat everyone the same for better or for worse. If your child can get away with goofing off during practice, talking back or other forms of unacceptable behavior other players would get reprimanded for you’re not setting a very good example.
5. Are you ready for the pressure of being a coach?
Coaching your own child’s your sports team can be a ton of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. You have to sure that you can commit to every practice and every game because, after all, you’re the coach! It’s your responsibility to teach everyone the skills as best as you can, make sure everyone gets a chance on the field, has fun during practice, keep the other sports parents in line and more. Are you prepared for all that?