Sunday, June 1, 2008

Dad Coaches (or Wannabees) are great!!! To a point

Okay….being a coach of your childs sports team has been a dream you’ve had since before you even had kids, go ahead admit it. Totally healthy. It’s a great way to bond with your child, share something you love and get to spend lots of time together doing something you love. From age 6 to about 9 at a rec level, it’s fantastic for you, him, your family, etc. Also, most recreational leagues are run by volunteers and coaches are sorely needed and valued. Beyond that (into competitive levels) it can be successfully done, but it’s rare. The above are all the positives, but I’d like to focus on the negatives and the common problems so you can recognize them in yourself if necessary.


-Don’t favor your child. At all. For any reason. Duh.
-Don’t be harder on your child than the other players.
-Equal playing time, no matter how much better your child is than everyone elses. You almost have to bend over backwards or err on the side of less time for your child, the other parents are all counting the minutes, really.
-Don’t put up with whining from your child
-Discuss with her/him before the season starts that s/he must treat you like a coach, not a dad. Of course s/he can still call you dad at practice
-If you notice your child not listening and treating you they way he treats you at home, he may not be ready for his dad to coach and truly benefit from another coach.
-If you want to coach because your child is whiny, high maintenance, hard to control, etc and you think yourself being the coach will help, please think again…it’s always worse.
-At the banquet, when you are giving out trophies, please don’t say, when calling up your son, “And now, My favorite Fighting Cougar player: Connor”. I know you think it’s adorable and cute and super special for your son, but it sucks for the other twelve 7 year olds, who truly think they are your favorite (and the best player on the team). I can’t tell you how many times this has been done in my experience and it usually sucks the fun out of the party room at Pizza Hut… I swear. He already knows he’s your favorite and you can tell him in the car if you want to make sure.
-Sometimes at young ages, your child only wants to play soccer/t-ball, etc if you will coach, and this situation can have 2 outcomes: a) you introduce her to a great sport which she soon loves with a passion and that she would have missed out on if you hadn’t coached, or b) she didn’t really want to play soccer, just hang out more with you, and she becomes clingy and annoying at practices and games and it has a negative effect on the team. Only you can figure out which your situation will be.


-All of the above 8 tips, of course, and
-Coaching your own child’s team at this level is much harder to do, in fact at the highest levels (classic soccer, AAU basketball, competitive gymnastics, etc) you can’t, due to rules and coaching requirements.
-At this level, you may be asked by the professional coach to assist him. That is a great honor, but know your place. It’s to ASSIST.
-Understand that there is a very big chance that your child would benefit from learning soccer from a professional with more experience coaching
-If your child is a gifted athlete, consider that by keeping him on your team (say a mid level competitive league or team) instead of encouraging him to tryout for the Elite level (whatever that is in your particular sport), is very selfish.
-Even though he says he wants you to continue to be his coach, you may need to put your foot down and explain it might be better at this point to see baseball from a new perspective. You can still show him all your tricks and super moves in the backyard later.

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