15 Tips for Coaching Your Own Child

Coaching your own child can be a wonderful sports experience. Or it can be a challenging ordeal that carries over into family time.

Here are fifteen tips to help keep things smooth and producive as you prepare to coach you own child in sports.

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Tip No.1: Keep It Fun

If we know anything about children and sports, we know that children follow the fun. When the fun stops, kids quitplaying. Come to think of it, don't coaches follow the fun as well?

Tip No.2: Discover the Sports Goals of Your Child

What do you hope your child will achieve by participating in sports? Make a list of your sport dreams for your child.

Now go over that list and ask yourself, "How will my presence as a coach impact these dreams?" Be honest. Bespecific. If you remain convinced you are the best coach for your child, go ahead. If not, coach another team.

Tip No.3: Use Your Experience With Other Coaches

Take time to recall coaches you admired. What qualities made these coaches special in your eyes. Make a list of thepositive qualities and traits of coaches who were positive influences in your life. Try to emulate those coaches.

Tip No.4: Examine Your Motives for Coaching Your Child

Be sensitive to your child's level of sport ambition as compared to your own. Are you projecting your dreams, yourlevel of ambition, on your child? If you want it, sport success that is, more than your child, your relationship is atrisk. Your relationship with your son or daughter will suffer if you press your child too hard.

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Tip No.5: Times Have Changed

Remember your sports dreams and ambitions are a product of your childhood. Your own child is being raised bydifferent people, at a different point in time, and with a different set of games than you were. Be sensitive to generation-gap issues.

Tip No.6: Respect Your Child's Individuality

Your child is an individual first, and an athlete second. To ensure a positive experience from sports, you must respectyour child's individuality.

Tip No. 7: Listen More Than You Lecture

Encourage your child to communicate openly with you. When you coach your child in team sports, other playersmay become jealous. They may express jealousy by rejecting or ignoring your child socially. Teammates maycriticize you to your child. Your child needs to feel free to talk about his/her feelings. Your child needs to know youwill listen to issues such as these.

Tip No.8: Treat Your Child Equal to Other Players

Never be harder on your own child than you are on the other players. Some coaches try too hard to prove theirobjectivity. They push their own child more than the other members of the team. This is wrong—it's bad for yourchild's self-esteem and destructive to the parent-child relationship.

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Tip No.9: Be Aware of Limitations

Know when to say when. When your temperament or knowledge limits are met, it is time to move your child to amore appropriate coach. Do it graciously. Be supportive, give the new coach a fair opportunity.

Tip No.10: Be Positive, Criticize Constructively

Instructional comments will be more effective than emotional attacks. Studies have conclusively demonstrated thatinstructional feedback produces superior performance and more motivated athletes and builds self-esteem.

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About the Author


The Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) is a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization based in Oklahoma City, and is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States.

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