Coaching a sports team can be difficult. When your own kids are playing on the squad…it can be even more challenging.
Here are six tips parents/coaches can use to keep things fun and constructive on and off the playing field.
1) Get their input...first. Ask your child to help you come up with a list of positive and negative items that may come up with you being the team’s coach. Listen to what you child has to say before making the final decision to come on board as coach. It's much better to get things clear early, rather than two months into a long, emotional season.
2) Take off your coach's hat at home. Don’t over-practice, or over-coach, with your child at home. Since you are the parent, and the coach, this could lead to your child feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused. Ultimately, this can lead to them wanting to quit the team. (And nobody wants that.)
3) Keep things fair and equal at all times. Be a parent at home, but be a coach at games and practices. The ability to make fair and honest decisions dealing with your children and other team members will strengthen the respect that your child will have for you. (As well as the rest of the team.)
4) Tell the truth. Be open and honest with other parents when dealing with team issues. (Even if they involve your kid.) There will always be disagreements between kids, or feelings of jealousy because you are the coach. Just remember to always handle those situations quickly, and with open communication.
5) Spread the praise around. Give your child praise, but avoid showing preferential treatment like giving extra playing time or special duties to your child. (Like picking the pizza joint for post-game dinners.) Conversely, avoid diminishing you child’s playing time or giving less one-on-one time in an effort to show that you are not playing favorites, as your child will begin to feel unfairly treated. It's a tough balance, but one that a coach/parent needs to be aware of. (This is especially true with pre-teen kids.)
6) Take a step back. If ever in doubt about how to treat a situation involving your son or daughter on the field, think of what you would do if you were dealing with a child other than your own. This could be an effective way to not only properly coach your own child, but might also help your relationship going forward.