Coaching Your Kids in Sports

For many fathers, getting involved in coaching youth sports is greatly rewarding, especially if their children participate in the sports they personally love. A child's first home run, goal, or even first 3 point shot, makes you feel proud that you were there to facilitate their development as their coach, giving them enough confidence to attempt the unthinkable and succeed. These wonderful moments can create strong life-long bonds between father and child, however if not careful, they also have the potential to drive a wedge in between you. Here are some ideas to help you become the parent-coach they need.

Coaching Kids in Sports
Coaching Kids in Sports
"Soccer - Army Youth Sports and Fitness - CYSS - Camp Humphreys, South Korea - 111001" by USAG- Humphreys is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Equal Encouragement - As a coach of a youth sports team with a child participating, it may be difficult not to play favorites. Your child may also hold themselves in a higher regard since their father is the coach. These are situations to avoid and can be communicated by ensuring that your child understands that as the coach, you must treat them the same way as the other players on the team during games and practice times. This means holding them accountable concerning the same rules that the rest of the teammates must follow and be sure to call them by the same name that the other players refer to them as. Encouraging your child the same way you do others will help you balance the fine line of playing favorites or punishing unfairly.

Place emphasis on good effort - You want to make sure you want to make sure that you applaud great effort and reward it appropriately. It may get frustrating at times when a child may not perform with a successful outcome; however it is important to remember not to yell, but to pay attention to how hard they tried. Make sure that their hard work didn't go unnoticed. Placing a positive emphasis on a disappointing outcome will more likely help them to find motivation to develop their skills further.

Adjust as good role model and teacher - Setting an example for the kids on the team and especially to your own is important for becoming a strong coach. Just like a teacher in a classroom, be open to adjusting your coaching style according to your players. Get to know them and be sure not to build the team around your own child. Be sensitive to the needs of the other players as well and understand what works and what doesn't work in terms of motivation. A good coach is willing to demonstrate patience as well, never losing his cool and will not tolerate inappropriate sideline behavior by the parents as well.

Demonstrate your commitment - The health and safety of just not your child, but the whole team should be at the forefront of your mind. It is smart to prepare yourself for this position by getting CPR and First Aid certified. Pay close attention to injured players. Do not punish them for their injury.

Above all, have fun - If you aren't having fun, chances are, neither is your team. Make sure that your child and teammates know that the sport isn't always about winning. There are far greater benefits to playing as a team like socializing and learning to work well and support others—key characteristics that players can take with them when they playing field and as they grow into adults.

Coaching your own kids in youth sports isn't for every parent, but it can give you chance to create lasting bonds with your kids and create unforgettable life memories. Coaching can give you and your children something else in common, especially for fathers looking to relate to their daughters. Coaching gives you the chance to encourage your own kids to socially, emotionally, and physically grow as people.

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