Published on October 18, 2016 inParenting on LandOMoms.com
Coaching my three kids in youth sports was a no-brainer for me. I played sports, love sports and even worked professionally in sports. It was a perfect match. But it’s not for everyone.
After coaching for more than a decade now, I’ve noticed that when a parent coaches their own kid, it’s usually for one or more of these reasons:
You played or love the game.
Not enough other parents have stepped up to coach, and you just want to help.
You had a problem with your child’s previous coach.
All are good reasons for jumping in to coach your child. But whatever the reason, be prepared for the good and bad (and sometimes ugly) that can come from coaching your own child in youth sports. In my experience, here are the most important things to consider when making your decision.
How Will Coaching Affect Your Relationships?
Your decision to coach can affect all kinds of relationships: your relationship with your child, your relationship with your spouse, and your (and your spouse’s, and your child’s) relationship with the families on the team, just to name a few.
It’s all too easy to go overboard coaching your child. You can be too tough, or not know when coaching ends and parenting begins. Think about the ride home when your team loses. Do you keep on coaching? Make sure you and your child are on the same page about when you’re mom or dad, and when you’re coach.
Your spouse may find it difficult to sit with other families during games, especially if they sense or actually hear unhappiness from other parents. It can get uncomfortable at times.
Your relationship with the families of the kids you coach can change depending on how fair of a shot they think their child received. Some might say you played favorites with your own child. Relationships with other families can go wrong for any number of reasons.
Another tricky situation I’ve seen is when the parent wants it more than their kid. The child may be ready to move on to something else but keeps playing because mom or dad is their coach. No kid wants to feel trapped into playing.
What’s the Time Commitment … and Is It Realistic?
Coaching youth sports is one of those jobs that always takes more time than you think it will. As a coach, you will be the first one to get to practice and the last one to leave. If parents are late picking up their child, coaches are usually the ones that stay and wait. This can add stress to your own family life.
You will spend plenty of time outside practices and games fiddling with lineups, searching online for new practice drills, answering questions from parents, sending reminders, etc. Your youth coaching quickly starts to feel like a job.
Do You Want to Spend More Time With Your Child?
How can it ever be a bad thing to spend more time with your child? Time seems endless when your children are young, but realistically there is a small window of opportunity for you to coach your child in youth sports. Studies show that 70% or more of kids drop out of sports at age 12 or 13. Secondly, many of the children who keep playing in junior high or high school do so on teams that don’t allow parent coaches.
Are You a Teacher by Nature?
If you love to teach, then coaching your child’s team is a perfect opportunity to help instill in them a love of the sport. You get to help them learn how to be part of a team and develop a work ethic that transcends sports. If you’re a teaching type, coaching is a great way to share your talents and gifts with your child’s community.
Coaching your child and their friends can be tremendously gratifying. However, it’s not for everyone. And there are still plenty of other ways to get involved with your child’s team, like running a concession stand, keeping stats for the team, organizing spirit wear or any other number of things. It’s a win-win!