01/21/2013 09:40 EST | Updated 03/21/2013 08:49 EDT

Parents Coaching Sports: How To Balance Your Duties To The Team And Your Kid


Always wanted to coach your kid’s sports team, but aren’t sure where to start?

First, you may want to consider the impact that coaching will have on your relationship with your child. Think about both of your personalities, and anticipate any potential conflicts that might arise, advises Larry Lauer, director of coaching education and development at Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports in his article, Should I Coach My Child?

Lauer points out that coaching your child can be a fantastic bonding experience if everything goes smoothly. Of course, it can also be fraught with pressure, worries and emotions running high – yours, your team’s and even those of other parents.

If you’re still keen on donning the coach’s cap, read on for a selection of resources and tips that will help you, your child and your team get the most out of your coaching duties.

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A Beginner’s Guide To Coaching Your Kids. Slideshow text follows for mobile readers.

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1.Read Coaching Kids for Dummies. There’s no shame in admitting you’re a ‘Dummy.’ Starting with the very basics will give you a good sense of everything you’ll be dealing with, from fostering skills and promoting good sportsmanship to preventing burnout and dealing with irate parents.

2. Check out TLC’s comprehensive online guide to coaching your own child. It offers valuable advice about details that could be easy to overlook if you get caught up in the big picture – like making sure you’re familiar with the proper rules of play and determining if your kid even wants you to coach her team in the first place.

3. Be sure to separate your ‘parent’ and ‘coach’ roles. Psychology professor Shari Kuchenbecker recommends using a ‘Two Hat’ trick in her article Coaching Your Own Child: Attitude, Objectivity and Preparation are Keys. The trick can be as simple as stating that you’re taking off your ‘Coach’ hat and are now speaking with your ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’ hat on after the game. With your parent hat on, you can even refer to your ‘coach’ self in the third person to replay the game from a supportive parent’s perspective.

4. Remember your end goal is to do what’s best for the team – not ensure that your kid is the next Sidney Crosby or Mia Hamm. TLC warns that if you’re grooming your child to be a star athlete, you really shouldn’t be coaching her. After all, if your eye is on that kind of prize, how could you possibly be objective when you’re assigning positions and setting starting lineups?

5. Avoid treating your child differently from teammates – either by showing favouritism, or by being overly harsh to demonstrate that you’re not giving her preferential treatment. The article Balancing Parenting and Coaching – for Dummies points out that showing favouritism can cause teammates to resent your child, and ultimately make her a pariah on the team. Being extra hard on her, on the other hand, can cause her to resent you and potentially set back her progress if you’re treating her unfairly. Kuchenbecker recommends giving equal advice to everyone based on “observable actions” to avoid paying too much attention to your own child.

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